In everything that we do, getting started is usually the hardest part. This is most likely true if you want to put up a business. Starting your venture is not that easy, especially if you think of the risks involved in having a business. But once you decide to brush off those thoughts and rather be bold and brave in pursuing the business that you’ve been dreaming of, then there’s no stopping you from taking the first steps to building it.
Well, starting is one thing. Then, there’s that challenge of making your business sustainable. Here’s the hard truth: not all startups thrive and succeed. But hey, yours can be on the list of successful ones! A lot of businesses that started small, faced the risks, defeated the challenges, and now thrives in their respective industries. Think Apple, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat, eBay, and more. We all can learn a thing or two from successful startups like these companies. The 10 lessons below can help your startup thrive and succeed as well.
- Embrace failures and hardships
Making a mistake is part of starting a business. Experiencing challenges and hardships are also natural. But these mistakes and hardships can teach you important lessons. If for example, your initial campaign was an epic fail, you’d eventually know the mistakes you made and learn how to fix it. Sure, there will be bumps on your road to success, but what matters is knowing how to lift yourself up, continue moving, and coming back strong after failing and experiencing difficulties.
One great example for this is Apple. The company inched towards bankruptcy years after founder Steve Jobs was fired. But Apple bounced back and returned to profitability when Jobs joined the company again in 1997 and forged a partnership with Microsoft.
- Stay patient and passionate
Success doesn’t happen overnight, alright. Remain patient and keep your passion for this venture strong while you wait for your “time to shine.” This is more like the story of Evan Williams – the man behind, Blogger. It was launched in 2000, but it was only after a couple of years when Williams made money off of it. How? Google bought the website reportedly for $50 million in 2002.
- Have a solid business plan
A startup starts with an idea, and that idea (no matter how serious or ridiculous it is) should be backed up with a business plan. Be clear about your long-term and short-term goals. It helps if you have a mission and vision statement that will, in one way or another, keep you on track of your goals.
- Dream big but be realistic
They say, “dreaming is free.” And while that is so true, you should still be aware of the “real” unpredictable conditions, circumstances, and situations surrounding your business. You may have big plans for your business but you need to put your current resources into consideration. Prioritize your spending if your funds are low. The more clients or opportunities, the better, but make sure that you and your current staff can handle everything. As they say, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”
- Work with a team
As a business owner, you should be a hundred percent involved in any development plan or decision-making process regarding your business. However, this doesn’t mean that you can do everything on your own. Delegate tasks if necessary. Hand off responsibilities to somebody with the right expertise. This way, nobody will get burnt out. Each member of the team can hone his or her expertise. Everybody has something to contribute to the development of the business, and thus, you will reach your goals faster.
- Invest in good marketing
Introducing your new business to the market is crucial. No matter what service or product you offer, you’ll need to invest in a good marketing strategy. It may be costly, but the end result will not only increase brand awareness, it will also bring in more profits for your business.
- Research your competition
It’s important that you know who your competitors are, how they fare in the industry, and what they do to improve their business. They may be a threat, but if you research your competition, you would know how you can be ahead of the game. If you need to come up with an improved version of an existing product to be better than your competition, do so. This move can help your business become successful.
- Foster beneficial relationships/partnerships
You will certainly meet a lot of people and be connected with other businesses as you build and develop your startup. Think of how your own business can benefit from them. Having good relations with your consumers, suppliers, and even competitors can result to something great for your business in the future.
- Use of technology is key
In this day and age, there’s no doubt that technology plays a huge role in different aspects of our lives. That includes your life as an entrepreneur. When it comes to running a business, you need the power of technology to make your production faster, connect with your consumers, bring your product or service to the market, and make your business profitable. Technology was a big help to what started out as just an idea of renting out an air mattress to what is now known as Airbnb. Thanks, especially to social media, it has now become $25 billion company!
- Don’t fear change
A Greek philosopher once said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” In relation to business, this saying could mean the continuous search for ways to improve your enterprise. If, despite your best efforts, your business still doesn’t make profit, a change of some kind might be needed. Evaluate your plan and analyze what is not working, then make the necessary adjustments. Have the courage to take a different path. This change can be good for your business after all.
Take PayPal for example. The company was originally envisioned as a cryptography company, then a system for transmitting money thru PDAs (personal digital assistant). But after changing its business models, PayPal attained success and has now become the default online payment system worldwide.
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