Being a first-time entrepreneur can be challenging and nerve-wracking but also very exciting and rewarding.
There is no end to the many financial, legal, staffing, marketing, and customer issues that will come up as you launch your business.
But here are seven core tips to help you begin navigating the startup landscape:
1. Raise As Much Startup Funding As You Can.
It’s almost always harder and takes longer to raise startup financing than you think.
You must ensure you have a cushion for all the product development and marketing expenses you will incur.
In an ideal world, you will have sufficient capital for your operations to break even.
Don’t worry about diluting your percentage ownership in the company.
Developing a great product takes time and money.
2. Constantly Monitor Your Finances.
You must keep on top of all of your expenses, income and balance sheet.
Many startups have failed because the entrepreneur wasn’t able to adjust spending to avoid running out of cash.
Maintain a low overhead. Be frugal with expenses and avoid unnecessary costs.
Learn to live on a shoestring budget until meaningful revenues start to flow in.
3. Do a Research on Your Competitions.
Make sure you are thoroughly researching competitive products or services in the marketplace, and keep on top of new developments.
One way to do this is to set up a Google alert to notify you when any new information about your competitors shows up online.
4. Hire an Experienced Startup Attorney.
You need a savvy business lawyer for your company, one who has regularly formed and advised many other entrepreneurs and who specializes in startups.
An experienced startup lawyer can help you help you negotiate terms with prospective investors and limit your potential legal liabilities.
Also, protect your ideas and inventions through copyrights, patents and non-disclosure agreements.
5. Never Stop Networking.
Networking can land you a new investor, a great employee, a new customer, or a great mentor.
Attend industry and startup events.
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool to help you network, so make sure both you and your company have profiles on LinkedIn and that you are constantly adding new connections.
When someone does a Google search on you, your LinkedIn profile will usually show up at the top of the search results, so be sure you’re making a good first impression.
6. Give Great Customer Service.
Many companies have became hugely successful because they focused on providing excellent customer service and support.
You want your early customers to give referrals and sing your praises to their friends and colleagues.
Thank your customers personally by email. Send discount cards or free gifts.
Go the extra mile to show your appreciation.
7. Hire the Right People.
Hiring the wrong people is one of the biggest mistakes made by entrepreneurs.
You need to bring on employees who have the relevant background and experience.
They need to fit into the company culture you are trying to build.
So make sure they are hard-working and flexible, as employees in startups often have to function in multiple roles.
Make sure your offer letter says they are “at will” employees and can be terminated at any time.
Don’t forget the old quote: “Hire slowly. Fire quickly.”
Good luck! And make sure to follow WMA for more interesting contents, tips and idea to help you stregthen your business and lead you to your goal.