Even the largest companies in the world – Walmart, Apple, Microsoft – were tiny startups in the beginning. The Windows operating system inventor, Bill Gates, famously tinkered on it in his parents’ garage after dropping out of college. Entrepreneurs make this world of ours a lot more interesting when one of their startups hits it big. But how can you separate yourself from the 90% of businesses that fail in the first year? Here are four tips from people who ought to know.
Follow the Business Plan, Except When You Don’t
Ron Bodkin of Think Big Analytics told Inc.com that a startup entrepreneur should not eschew a business plan in the rush to get a business up and going. Good advice. How can you get hit anything if you don’t know the target. But he also cautions that a new business owner doesn’t necessarily need to stick to the plan at all costs. Corrections aren’t anathema. With business plans and the like, keep in mind that law firms like Carter West can be especially helpful with startup business counseling.
You’ve Got To Like What You Do
Permutations of this advice have been around a long time, probably because it makes a lot of sense. Ever get the idea that Steve Jobs liked computers? Or Steven Spielberg enjoys movies? There’s something to the idea of a passion project. As Virgin CEO Richard Branson says, you already know what you love – find a way for it to make you money.
Avoid the Culture of Spending
This great tidbit of advice comes to us from Vincent Mifsud of ScribbleLive. It’s easy for a new endeavor to develop a culture of spending, especially on ads. Mifsud suggests that it’s hard to rein in that tendency once it takes root. Instead, focus on creating great content that will inspire, inform, and educate customers. Think of it like this. You can always crank up spending once the content is in place, but selling before you have content is a road to ruin.
Ask for Criticism
Perhaps the hardest task of all, as related by Elon Musk of Tesla and Space X fame, is to seek out critical feedback. Living in an insular world where you have no idea what customers really think is a bad idea. You don’t have to necessarily act on everything anyone says, but you should at least listen.
These four guys know a little bit about what they’re saying. A smart startup entrepreneur could learn from the masters, and make his own life a little easier and perhaps the road to ultimate success a little shorter. Remember to utilize your resources, whether they be books, experts, or personal heroes over yours to learn how to successfully navigate the ups and downs that come from entrepreneurship.