If you’re looking to start your own company, you’re probably wellaware of the rather daunting statistics for launching a successful small business. According to the SBA Office of Advocacy, “About half of all new establishments survive five years or more andabout one-third survive 10 years or more.” The outlook for startupsisn’t rosy, and of the ones that do manage to survive, most of themdon’t make it big. (read: 7 Tips For Overcoming The Fear of Starting Your Own Business)
However, you should know that your chances of thriving as a startupincrease exponentially if you take the time to prepare. One of the bestmethods of preparation is talking to those who have gone before you;learn from their successes and, more importantly, from their mistakes.If you were to talk to successful entrepreneurs, here are a few thingsthey’d probably tell you.
Also read: 10 Business Ideas You Can Launch in 7 Days
Small Business Startup Advice
1. Don’t Go It Alone
If you look at a list of successful startups over the last few years, you’ll notice that most have one thing in common: multiple founders.Starting a company by yourself puts you at a distinct disadvantage forseveral reasons. Beginning a business is a lot of work, and severalimportant things will likely fall through the cracks if you don’t havemore than one of eyes on the ball.
Furthermore, you’ll lack the companionship necessary forcelebrating your successes and for brainstorming ways to overcome yourmistakes. Take it from the pros: not sharing your profits isn’t worthtrying to handle a brand new business by yourself.
Also read: Top 5 Startup Ideas You Can Launch for Less Than $10,000
2. You Need Lots of Money
However much money you’ve raised, it probably isn’t enough to fund asuccessful business. You’ll need to find more funding at some point inorder to keep your bills paid and your dreams afloat. Seeking outinvestors is always a good idea in the beginning stages. Equitycrowdfunding can also be an extremely lucrative option for startups.
Also read: 7 Ways to Pick the Best Brand Name for Your Business
3. Location Still Matters
Even though more businesses are starting out online, your physicallocation can still be an important factor in the success of yourbusiness. If you plan to set up a physical shop, you’ll need to go where your target audience is. If you plan to set up an online store, youstill need to consider your location, at least for networking andeconomy purposes. Currently, the Silicon Valley, Atlanta, Boston, andBoulder are some of the best places to start a business.
4. You Can’t Slay Giants Right Away
Most of the major giants in your industry got where they are becausethey developed extensive resources, have years of experience, and arewell known in the consumer industry. They didn’t get that way overnight. It took time to develop that name and to become a popular industrytycoon.
As a startup, you shouldn’t try to compete with the big wigs.Instead, focus on the small things and work on beating your immediatecompetition. If you use your resources right, with time, you may havethe chance to go up against the giants and win.
Also read: The Do’s & Don’ts for Building a Successful Brand
5. Don’t Overlook Your Target Market
Your startup should always have a target audience, and the goods orservices you offer must solve some kind of problem for this audience inorder to take off. Too many startups get so caught up in the details oflaunching the business that they forget to consider the people that will keep them in business.
6. Choose Your Employees Carefully
As your business begins to grow and develop, you’ll learn howdifficult it is to retain employees. They will always come and go asthey move onto the next best thing or transition to different points intheir lives. However, flighty employees are the last people you want tohire when you’re starting a company. You need people who are willing tosee your vision and stick with your company at least until you’reairborne.
In order to do this, take your time on the hiring process. Rushing it will leave you with sub-par employees and missed opportunities to hirethe ones that could have made your company soar.
Also read: 7 Basic Steps To Writing A Business Plan
7. Make Customers a High Priority
Though it should go without saying, your customers keep you inbusiness, which means that customer service should be at the top of your priorities. But customers can do more for your business than makepurchases. They can also help you to improve your products and servicesso that your business can thrive. By listening to customer feedback, you too can learn the best ways to improve your products and services tomeet your customers’ needs.
As a startup you’ll make your share of unique mistakes, but maybethese lessons from experienced entrepreneurs can help you to avoid anyunnecessary ones.