Launching a business of any kind can be terrifying, no matter how much experience you have. Today’s market is highly saturated, and that means it’s incredibly competitive. The tech world especially is seeing considerable growth for business, from large to small.
You must be prepared before kickstarting your business. You must know your goals, your initial plans, what you’re going to do for staffing, additional finances, and so on. It’s not just a matter of pulling the curtain off your products and services and diving into the deep waters. Instead, you must take your time and ease your way in, particularly when you’re working with a new or innovative concept.
A lot of this is self-explanatory, however. Which brings up one simple question: What isn’t self-explanatory? Is there anything you absolutely must know before making your big move? If another, successful business owner could look back at their humble beginnings, what advice would they offer?
Brand Maintenance Must Be Ongoing
In business, your brand is your most important asset, and this is especially true when you’re just starting out. It serves as your identity, a source of reputation and experience building, and also serves as a beacon for your customers. Ninety-one percent of consumers say they are more likely to buy from an “authentic brand” as opposed to a dishonest brand.
Establish your brand values and mission early, and adhere to them as you grow. Remain loyal to the core values that power your operations. Furthermore, be prepared to adjust and shift to meet customer demands. While your core values should always remain the same, your strategies and plans may change accordingly.
Don’t be afraid to listen to your customers and audience for guidance. What do they want out of your products and services? Can you fill a unique need nobody else in the market is meeting? How do they think you can improve going forward? All these questions serve as a means to improve your brand image and offerings, so mind the answers.
More importantly, make sure your brand maintenance process is continuous and regular.
Heed Your Finances
Starting a business takes capital, and over time the limitations or requirements may change. There’s nothing you can do about that — it takes money to make money. However, you need to ensure you have realistic expectations, goals, and processes in place. As you get your business going, it’s easy to underestimate the necessary funds you’ll need. In fact, sometimes it’s downright impossible to predict just how much total capital you’ll need until you’re in the thick of operations.
That’s why it’s important to maintain realistic goals and limitations for your finances at the beginning, but also all the way through your humble beginnings. Financing should be an ongoing and continuous process, just like brand maintenance. Furthermore, you should always leave yourself wiggle room to adjust up or down regarding consumption.
Seventy-four percent of high-growth Internet startups fail due to premature scaling. Several factors contribute to this failure, of course, but poor financial planning is likely one of the key reasons. Furthermore, 82 percent of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow issues.
Maybe you need to stem operations slightly to make room for higher operating costs. If you’re not prepared, that sort of thing is going to hurt you and put a wrench in your goals.
Local or Cloud Systems
When establishing a local system or environment, you almost always have to keep the equipment and hardware necessary to power operations onsite and local. Doing so can balloon costs in many ways, some of which you might not be prepared for. The regular operations, cooling, and energy costs are going to be pretty high. You’ll also need to consider maintenance and potential replacements for malfunctioning hardware and backup systems.
Cloud computing or cloud operations are the solution for many, allowing you to outsource or offset the responsibilities of maintaining a local environment. You can effectively remove the duties associated with running a local data center or computing network, yet still reap all the benefits of having one operational. In fact, we’d argue as a fairly new business or startup, your best bet is to outsource this necessary component to help alleviate responsibility and operating costs.
In most cases, you pay a subscription fee to gain access, then supply your employees with the necessary client machines or devices to access to the cloud environment. Just be wary of tax restrictions, especially if your cloud provider is located in another state that levies financial burdens.
No business owner wants to build a workforce or team of unskilled, unprepared professionals. It’s just not the way to establish a successful, trustworthy employee base. Unfortunately, you won’t have the capital to hire the best of the best.
Start small, and look for talented, yet capable, people who are willing to grow with your company. But remember that as their experience and skill grow, so should their salaries and compensation. You want your employees to remain loyal and stick with you as long as possible, which means appropriately compensating and rewarding their efforts.
So, heed the total salary expenditure of your organization before you begin to scale. It’s entirely possible to scale the company up and ask more of your employees, yet forget or avoid re-appropriating their salaries. This can lead to severe internal problems with productivity, development, and even the future of your workforce.
The Experts Are Not Your Enemies
In the initial phases of a startup or business, there’s often a small team committed to a promising concept or idea. You may continue operations for a time as a smaller business, with little to no external input and resources. Then, one day, you realize it’s time to bring in some investors to grow your capital.
Along this same timeline, you start with a few motivated, yet inexperienced workers, then move to hiring more resourceful ones. But once the investors come into play, it’s time to up your game, and that’s when you start bringing in more tenured professionals. When that happens, it’s easy to look at those who lack history with your business as enemies. They want to make sweeping changes and strive for goals you had never considered before. It’s possible by honoring their wishes, you will completely change the face of your business.
Growth can be a scary prospect for both you and your seasoned employees. After all, they’ve been with the company since the beginning — don’t they know what works best?
It’s important to remember that even though things may start feeling a bit different, and you may feel slightly threatened, the newer and more skilled professionals are not your competition. They can serve as potential motivators or mentors for existing employees. They can help you grow your business and operations, and identify more efficient ways of doing things. More importantly, they provide an opportunity for you to grow and really understand where your business is headed — after all, if you are a success, you’ll be one of those seasoned professionals someday.
Learn to integrate everyone on your team efficiently and work collaboratively with the whole gamut of the professional world. It will do you plenty of good, and it will help your business grow and scale, which is a necessary part of launching any startup.