By Lois Sapare
Maintaining a business is both a difficult and rewarding task to undertake. Especially during the startup phase, you will have to put a lot of your time and energy into ensuring your business’ success. You will also be sacrificing a lot of things such as sleep and most of your personal life. But even then, most startups still fail to come out victorious. There are many factors that need to be considered when managing one, and maybe those who failed lacked in one thing or another.
Below are the things a startup must have in order to succeed. Does yours have all of them?
A solid budget and business plan
Attempting to run a business without a plan is like driving in an unfamiliar city without a map. If you get where you are going, it will either be purely through luck, which you can never count on–or a lot of wrong turns. (Coleman 2009)
Formulating a business plan is essential in ensuring that your business gets where you want it to be. Although there may be changes that you can’t anticipate, having a set of goals will help your business avoid straying from its path. It gives you a clear vision of what you should do for the growth and future of your business. By putting all the important business facts in writing, you are presenting the potential of your business to make a profit. This will, therefore, increase the chances of more people investing in it. A clear vision of what the company aims to achieve also makes it an important sales tool to attract partners and team members who would want to be a part of that vision.
Preparing a budget is also an essential part of maintaining your business. It will serve as a financial roadmap that would help your business control expenditures and avoid unnecessary spending. It will also help you plan for your business’ future growth. There may be expenses that won’t match the estimated forecast, that’s why your budget plan needs to be flexible–so your business could adapt immediately to these changes. If you’re not an expert at creating one, you can always enlist the help of professionals. There are companies such as CTO 911 and Centage that helps businesses create a detailed business and budget plan.
An important idea
This is one of the most critical factors to consider when starting a business. You can’t just decide on building your business around something you don’t even care about. Whatever idea you choose should be something anchored on your personal experiences. It should also be something you’re passionate about because working on something of importance to you will motivate you to move forward when your business is going through tough times. Otherwise, you’ll be giving up on the first signs of trouble.
You will also have to consider the market you’ll have for that idea. Will enough people be buying into it? Is it important to a lot of people as well? You might have chosen something you’re willing to put everything on the line for, but your efforts will only be wasted if you don’t have a market for it.
An important trait successful entrepreneurs possess is self-discipline. Especially in the startup phase where you need to focus your attention on a lot of areas of your business, having self-control will help you do that. You could start by setting a specific set of goals and developing a systematic way of doing things. Make sure to finish the high-priority tasks first. This will keep you from getting distracted and delaying tasks from getting done. This will also help with your time management and keep you productive.
An ear to listen
You may have done all the hard work from the start, but your employees are also valuable to the growth your business. They impact your business directly, and its success relies on their overall performance. If you just keep telling them what to do, they might not be able to do their job well. They might have a suggestion on how to get things done in a more efficient manner, that’s why you have to be mindful of their needs. By keeping your employee’s best interests at heart, you would produce motivated, productive, and loyal workers that will work hard to exceed your expectations and do everything to help your business succeed.
Another crowd you should pay close attention to is your customers. They play a very important role in the survival of your business. In fact, many startups have failed because they developed tunnel vision and focused too much on developing their product that they ended up ignoring what their customers had to say. Listening to customer feedback is important in developing a product that your customers would want to buy. After all, isn’t the goal of your business to attract the attention of customers and eventually get them to make a purchase from you? You’re only going to be able to do that if you listen to what they need and keep adapting to it.
A business can’t survive without proper funding. It is the fuel on which the business operates. If you enter a business without enough capital, you are basically counting down the days to its doom. However, if you have a solid business plan and a way with people, looking for people to fund your business won’t be as hard. There are many ways to obtain financing for your startup. You could apply to local angel-investor groups–they are high-net-worth individuals in metropolitan areas who are interested in funding up to a million dollars to qualified startups. You could also do it through crowdfunding online, where you could raise small amounts of money from a large number of people. Having connections with powerful people is also important in obtaining funds for your business. It will help you open doors to finding potential partners and attract even more investors.
Resilience in the face of adversity
Determination and persistence are two other important traits that an entrepreneur who wants to be successful in his chosen industry has to possess. It’s no secret that there will always be a lot of risks and challenges involved in maintaining a business, most especially in the startup phase.
With the number of startups being built on every industry each year, competition is tough and getting a huge market for your business is now more difficult than ever. But that’s what successful entrepreneurs have over their competitors who didn’t achieve the same fate in their business as them. Successful entrepreneurs have the determination and persistence to power through whatever challenges that may come their way. They know that change is inevitable and they are always prepared to adapt to them. Facebook would never have been the success it is right now if Mark Zuckerberg gave up when he encountered troubles as a startup.
A business needs to have more than just cash and a solid plan in order to survive. The success of a startup is built on more than just those elements. It needs to revolve around an important idea that the entrepreneur is willing to spend his time, money, and effort on. It also needs a disciplined founder who effectively uses his time to achieve the business’ goals and possesses a determined and persistent attitude who can face whatever challenge comes his way. With these in mind, do you think your startup has what it takes to succeed?
Lois Sapare is an editor at Scoopfed. She is a former student journalist with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. When she’s not writing content on a variety of topics, you can find her watching psych thriller films or keeping up with the latest buzz in the tech world.