Follow this advice to ensure your startup is still thriving long past its first year of operation.
We’ve all heard the statistics, some more negative than others - 9 out of 10 startups will fail within their first year, those based in London are most likely to fail and there’s even research to suggest that 99% of new businesses in the tech sector will fold because their products are ‘utterly pointless’. Whichever way you look, there seems to be an overwhelming amount of doom and gloom surrounding brand-new ventures. And yet, there are countless examples of new businesses that stand out from the crowd and succeed. Whether you look at the journey of Innocent Drinks, Notonthehighstreet.com, ASOS, or even Levi Root’s Reggae Reggae sauce, some businesses certainly know how to make their mark. If you’re starting a new venture this year, follow these tips to get your business off to a flying start.
Understand Your Market
Regardless of what industry you’re planning to join, it’s essential that you know and understand who your customers are. Who is going to be interested in your product or service and what are their buying habits? Make sure you conduct thorough market research about what you’re proposing to sell so that you’re armed with actionable feedback about what people want from you.
Suss Out Your Rivals
Equally, it’s essential that you understand your place within the marketplace. Who are your competitors and how does what you’re offering compare or differ to them? It may be that you want to undercut your rivals and offer similar products priced more favourably for your target market. Or potentially you’ll be charging more for a higher quality of product or service. Research every aspect of the market before you launch.
Know Your Numbers
If you’ve ever watched the BBC’s ‘Dragons Den’ show, you’ll know that the investors have zero patience or interest in entrepreneurs who don’t know their numbers. And for good reason. Understanding your margins is the foundation of every successful business. Make sure you’re acquainted with overheads such as your business premises and stock, as well as technical equipment, furniture and also staff wages. You’ll need to come up with a solid business plan and ensure that you include financial projections over the next one to five years as a minimum.
Although overseeing all aspects of your new business is a fantastic way to cut costs before you’re fully off the ground, this ‘jack of all trades’ strategy can unfortunately backfire if you’re much stronger in some areas than in others. Utilise your network of contacts, which may include family and friends who are willing to work pro bono for you. They may have a better grasp of tasks such as website design, accountancy and sales than you.
Invest In Your Team
A great business starts out as an idea, but it is your team who will transform it into a successful venture. It’s essential that you spend time and effort in recruiting the ideal candidates for your organisation – make sure you have a clear idea of the different roles you require and what their responsibilities will be. Once you’ve filled the roles, you’ll need to ensure that your team members are capable of working well alongside each other. Team building doesn’t need to be an expensive exercise, there are plenty of ways to encourage bonding between your staff members, whether by organising regular drinks nights, in-house trust-building activities or booking a more formal corporate experience.
The best piece of advice when starting a new business is not to rush into anything. Take your time, plan every aspect to perfection and your startup is much more likely to be one of the minorities that is still going strong in 2019.