The first stage of doing business is probably the most difficult one, especially for entrepreneurs who don’t have enough capital or fund to make their cash flow stable. It’s already been six months when I started Optixor, Inc., a digital marketing agency in the Philippines. In those months, I encountered a lot of problems and challenges but I also learned valuable lessons which I’m glad to share to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to taste success even in the early stage of their business life.
The life of an entrepreneur is a roller coaster ride. However, it doesn’t mean you have to be in trouble when you’re going down. The truth is, you can actually enjoy the ride whether you’re going up or going down.
If you are planning to start a new business or if you have already started a new one, here are some tips to make your new business successful.
1. Make a strategic business plan.
A business plan with a marketing strategy will not only guide your business and people to success but will also give you an important document to convince investors and creditors to fund your business. A business plan should include your marketing strategy, financial forecast, market research, competitive analysis, business model and other things that will convince yourself, your investors and other stakeholders that your business will be profitable and successful in a given time.
2. Get trained and ask advice from experts.
Don’t start a business just because you think it is where the money pours but start it because it is where your knowledge, passion, talents and skills are pouring in. But of course you cannot be perfect. Thus, don’t stop training yourself and learning more to be on top of the competition. You will encounter the toughest competitors out there. Hence, always sharpen your skills. Learn from people who are experts and who already have a lot of experiences in the industry you have chosen.
3. Establish your business process and system.
Without an established business system, your business will not be efficient and you’ll be wasting a lot of precious time. Before operating your business, make sure that you already have business templates, such as proposals, contracts and accounting documents. If your business provides services, expect that potential clients will send you Requests for Quotations (RFQ) or Requests for Proposals (RFP). At this time, you should already have proposal templates to quickly respond to your clients’ requests.
4. Hire motivated people with a strong commitment.
As a startup, your business should be on a constant fire. It should be full of passion and energy. Therefore, hire people who will help your business stay on fire, not people who will quench its fire. Choose employees who are motivated to work, committed to their responsibilities, and will not leave your business while it is on its infancy. Of course you should also do something to make them stay motivated and stick with your company. You have to be an inspiring boss. Moreover, you should compensate them well and provide them with an encouraging working environment.
5. Outsource some of your administrative tasks.
Administrative tasks such as accounting, taxation, bookkeeping, encoding and the like do not directly contribute to your sales or revenue. If you will only be spending most of your time in those activities, you won’t be making enough profit to make your business profitable and stable. Hence, consider hiring administrative employees or business process outsourcing firms to delegate those tasks. Yes, they will add to your total expenses but if you can focus on your core business activities to increase your sales and gain more loyal customers, then why not?
6. Start small.
Getting small customers, clients or projects is your way to getting their bigger versions. Besides, quality customers doesn’t mean big customers; quality customers are customers whom you can serve better regardless of their sizes. If you cannot satisfy small customers or clients, then how can you satisfy the bigger ones? One of the best ways to attract more customers is to show them positive testimonials from your previous customers. It’s also a good practice to document the success of your clients or create case studies. If you’re in a project-based business, many prospects will ask you some case studies of your previous clients. Hence, good and organized data are important.
7. Manage your finance wisely.
Liquidity or the ability to produce cash quickly is vital to continue your business operation smoothly. That is why you have to manage your cash. Learn how to separate your personal expenses and business expenses so that they would not tangle with each other. When it comes to your business expenses or investments, make sure that you will spend on something that will give you a good ROI at the right time. Don’t put all your money in long-term investments or in short-term investments alone — they must be diversified and balanced. If you will focus on a long-term investment, you cannot make quick cash on it which is vital to your current operation.
8. Work the hardest.
Running a new business is not an excuse to make losses. Although it’s already a common conception that newly started businesses will make losses in their first year, this should not become your mentality. And most importantly, this should not be your excuse to not work your ass off. The first stage of your business will require your focus, patience, hard work and dedication. Hence, you should be ready to give your full time and pure energy to make a difference.
There you are, I hope that those tips I shared will help your new business head to the right path. If you have more tips to add to help aspiring entrepreneurs, feel free to make a comment below. I’ll also constantly share the new lessons that I’ll learn in my business in the coming future. So stay tuned and always visit our blog.