Startup Advice – 9 Tips for Solid Business Growth
Building a startup is challenging. Very few people have been in the shoes of a startup founder, meaning that only a few people truly understand the difficulties and challenges of starting and leading this type of business.
You are responsible for so many tasks that dropping just one ball can have devastating consequences. From hiring employees to securing the necessary capital, or sourcing the best eCommerce packaging can all impact growth. But with the right advice and a determined attitude, you are on your way to success.
Starting and building a startup company will have many highs and lows. Inevitably, things will not always go to plan, which can quickly lead to you believing your entire business is heading in the wrong direction.
Paul Graham, Founder of YC, coined the term ‘trough of sorrow’ to describe the pits you can fall into when your startup starts to lose momentum. To navigate through these moments, it is imperative to stay persistent, focusing on the end goal and what matters for your business.
Know Your Customers
No company, regardless of size and name recognition, will continue to exist without customers and clients. Correctly understanding what they want and need is the only way to ensure you build an enterprise that will appeal to them.
In today’s climate, consumers are putting more focus and energy into supporting companies with high moral ethics and sustainable practices. This is crucial to consider if you hope to build a lasting positive relationship with your customers. In addition, being authentic and transparent will help reduce the likelihood of negativity during difficult times.
Invest in Yourself
When managing a team, it is easy to fall into the trap of investing your time and resources into them instead of yourself. And while your colleagues and employees are vital to running your business successfully, you can’t get the best out of them without giving the best version of yourself.
How you choose to invest in yourself will differ from person to person. For some, it might be setting aside time to pursue other skills, attend leadership workshops, or further their education.
Build a Reliable Network
The startup world has a very close community. Various VC funds and corporations have facilitated founders and their employees to quickly and successfully network, which plays a significant role in accessing resources
These connections will open opportunities to meet potential investors, new customers, and future employees. Therefore, it is essential to focus on the importance of these connections, solidifying a solid layer of trust before pushing business interests.
Be Solution Focused
With so many different tasks and responsibilities pulling your attention, it is easy to find yourself focusing time and resources on projects and initiatives that don’t align with your core business.
As an entrepreneur, you must stay focused on the problems and solutions that will actively contribute to your growth without wasting resources on things that will not deliver a return. Determine what your company can do best and focus solely on that.
Progress Not Perfection
For most, putting out an investor email, pitch idea, product, or new concept before it is 100% perfect can feel intimidating and terrifying. But most startups must constantly balance speed and perfection due to financial constraints.
To move at the pace you need, you must find the perfect balance between keeping a consistent process and obtaining perfection. This is how you can move forward more efficiently.
When attempting to plan for the future, creating a solid roadmap to follow can directly impact your ability to execute the necessary plans when needed. This can be short-term or long-term, ensuring that everyone is working towards the same goal.
Achieving day-to-day tasks creates consistency with execution while highlighting the failings that must be fixed or changed as soon as possible.
When you consider how much time, effort, and resources need to be invested into startups to make them successful, wanting to commit every second you have to solve issues and perfecting your business model can feel justified.
But this behavior leads to burnout and will negatively cost you and your team in the long run. Instead, prioritize and promote healthy practices regarding mental and physical health. Schedule times for breaks to take walks, spend time in nature, and properly nourish yourself.
Focus on Results
Execution and follow-through are strongly linked to the need to focus on results. If your inputs are not supported or matched by their results, it clearly indicates a missing link, and immediate changes must be made.
With limited capital, it is essential to move quickly and support what is delivering the results you want and need. This can be done by changing input strategies and the process you use to get them. In addition, re-evaluating your goals is helpful to reconfirm they are realistic and manageable. But avoid lowering them unless it becomes unavoidable and threatens your chances of success.
11+ years strategic communications, marketing, and project management experience. I am a trainer at StarWood Training Institute, focusing on online courses for project management professionals.