For startups and small or growing businesses, laying a solid foundation in crucial to entrepreneurial success. Here are five tips to a successful startup.
1. Have a Set Schedule
If you’re a startup entrepreneur, it is vital to set a schedule for yourself. This is particularly true if you are working from home or are working by yourself. It is important to set blocks of time during the day designated to certain tasks, such as returning emails, attending meetings, doing research, etc. It is much too easy to get caught doing whatever tasks present themselves to you that day. If you are working from home, it may even be ideal to set a schedule for work time, and relaxation time to ensure that you are putting in the hours.
2. Find a Mentor
It is vital for startup entrepreneurs to find a mentor-- or mentors. This can come in the form of a friend, colleage, peer, or formal Board of Advisors. Ideally, your mentor has accomplished many of your goals for your startup, and can be available for advice and friendship. In addition, a good mentor will push you to do your best, without pushing you a particular direction that you are not comfortable with.
3. Find Your Direction
Rather than getting hung up on the particular product, service, or plan your startup is offering, focus on the problem your business is attempting to solve and the people you will impact. While it is easy to get hung up on a particular business plan, it is important for startup entrepreneurs to seek advice and feedback. If your plan doesn’t address the problem that needs to be solved, or the people (potential customers) that need help, change it.
4. Know When It Is Time to Hire, and Hire the Right Candidates
Once your startup is up and running, it is important to know when to hire your first employee. Chances are, if you are turning away work because you’re overbooked, lacking time to do paperwork, or are in need of someone with specialized skills, it is time to hire.
Once you have made the decision to hire your first employee, you should evaluate what role the employee will fill, how much help you need, and how much you can afford. When hiring for a startup, don’t accept the first applicant to walk through the door. It is especially important to hire the right candidate who is self-motivated and driven enough to do do their job well without a lot of supervision.
5. Be Aware of Your Weaknesses
As a startup entrepreneur, it is vital to know your weaknesses. For example, if you are uncomfortable with public speaking, take some extra time to practice your business proposal in front of family and friends before any big meetings. If you are unsure of your business writing skills, take a little extra time to make sure to proofread your writing before it is distributed. By recognizing your weaknesses, you can compensate and overcome them.