Who hasn’t thought of quitting their jobs to start their very own business? Well, if you have, you may want to read this first. Here, founder of Group Colleges Australia and author of The Unlikely Entrepreneur, Alan Manly, offers his five tips on what to do if you’re thinking of stepping out and what to definitely avoid…
A startup is often seen as an extension of the originating entrepreneur. This may well be the case in the very early days, however as time goes by the entrepreneur’s relationship with the business must be allowed to evolve. Whilst the creator is usually the greatest strength of the startup they can likewise be the one who limits the opportunities.
Whilst there’s many things you can do to ensure your startup is successful there’s also 5 key things you definitely shouldn’t do if you want to flourish:
Don’t smother it
Just like a person a company will develop an identity with which customers relate. If the company presents as a team it will be scalable. However, if the entrepreneur smothers every minor decision it will take on the characteristics of a sole trader and be limited perhaps by the hours that the entrepreneur can work. As the company grows it can be hard for the entrepreneur to let the startup grow up.
Don’t ignore the plan
Entrepreneurs are unique in that they develop a vision and lead a group to believe and share the journey towards that vision. The business plan was once the only asset that the startup could boast. It was deemed to be so important that someone, often the entrepreneur, was prepared to invest money based on its predictions. This asset is worthy of respect. Failure to be mindful of the plan will risk the startup becoming a day to day flurry of activity with no long term direction. The entrepreneur needs to avoid being trapped in the day to day at the expense of making one step towards the next goal on the timeline of the business plan.
Don’t fail to review the plan
Nothing is sacred in startup land. Survival is key. The business plan must be reviewed to survive. The startup team, no matter how small, will be appreciative that the startup has some direction. The more interesting situation is usually that the business plan is out of date once the unique value proposition is tested in the field. The market may be responding to your product or service but in so many instances, the market failed to grasp your great new idea and just loved the plain, good product that you had over hyped to yourself and your team. Back to the basics of your product or service and update the business plan by refocusing on what you now know the market perceives to be the your unique selling proposition.
Don’t let go
The vision in the business plan is always bigger than a one person show. Getting customers allows growth in staff and resources to support even more customers. Sooner or later the entrepreneur will need to take a risk, perhaps greater than any before, called delegating more than just a task to others. A task is defined by Wikipedia as “a piece of work to be done or undertaken.” This is a lot less frightening than delegating responsibility which is defined as “the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone.” That requires real leadership.
Don’t give it away
The last and most often “do not” that is committed by startups is the result of panic at the lack of sales. All startups are susceptible to that sinking feeling of total rejection when nothing, but nothing, will inspire sales. The price is the first natural objection to be raised by a customer.
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