You have your million-pound idea, your finances in order and a structured business plan. So, what could possibly go wrong with the launch of your new business?
The answer is, probably a lot. Which is completely normal, as all new business owners should expect a range of highs and lows during the start-up of their new company. To offer a helping hand with your new business venture, we spoke with a range of successful entrepreneurs and experts, who shared their experiences with us and the lessons they learnt along the way.
Working In Isolation
When creating your business, you will more than likely become very protective, after all you don’t want anyone to steal your idea. However, this could be very damaging for the growth of your business. Collaborating and networking with other business owners will more than likely improve your business and give you like-minded people to bounce ideas off.
‘‘Fundamentally, the world isn't short of ideas, it's short on people willing to act in order to get those ideas to market. Even though there are risks to sharing your ideas they are far outweighed by the advantages. Different people have different life experiences. They have a different network of business connections. They know different things (because we're all slightly different).In general, entrepreneurs should avoid working in isolation - where you aren't exposed to the new thoughts and opportunities (which are, after all, the foundation of a successful start-up).’’
David Mercer, best-selling author of programming, web and business books and founder of SME Pals.
‘’The biggest lesson I learned during my first year of business was to stop trying to do everything myself. When you're starting up and trying to keep costs low, it can be all too easy to fall into a habit of working every hour under the sun. As a business owner, you wear many hats and so it's natural to look at the endless list of tasks that need completing and put too much pressure on yourself. When I began outsourcing some of my work, my productivity levels rose, my confidence grew and I started getting better results.’’
Sophie Livingston, freelance copywriter nearing the end of her first year in business.
Not Fully Understanding Your USP And Business Model
You may think that you know what your unique selling point is but your customers may buy into your services for a completely different reason, which will mean that your marketing efforts may not be focused at the right audience. Therefore, it’s vital that you properly understand what your USP is and why your customers are buying into your product and/or service.
‘‘The main mistake I made when I first started my business was failing to nail my value proposition or what is it about our product and offer that compels people to say yes. Until I knew this, any marketing efforts or spend in any channels was like pouring gasoline on wet leaves.For instance, when we first launched, we thought people would like our service because it’s a cheaper way to get their grass cut. What we found through copy testing in different channels such as ad-words and FB is that the customers’ ability to get same day service is a much more effective and compelling subset of our value prop that drives more visitors and more conversions on our landing pages.’’
Bryan Clayton, CEO and Co-founder of GreenPal.
Not Putting Enough Money And Time Into Marketing, Or Knowing Where To Market
When first launching your business, marketing may not be at the top of your list. You’re probably too concerned about making a profit to put aside a budget for marketing, but this could be a huge mistake for your business. How will people know who you are? You don’t need to spend massive amounts on marketing when you first launch but it’s vital that you do market your services.
‘‘Not understanding the power of marketing. This holds especially for techies that become entrepreneurs like me. You don't get why you should spend a lot of time doing fluff things like events, blog posts, press releases, advertisements... Now I get that because this is the only way to sell stuff, but at the beginning, I did not.’’
Antony Vitillo owner of the VR blog The Ghost Howls.
‘‘Marketing isn’t always about getting your information into the hands of many people. It’s about getting your name out to the right people. Too often, one of the mistakes that small business owners encounter from the beginning is the idea that more is more—and so they establish an Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. where they overextend their limited resources. The messages that they send to the public aren’t targeted and so, the quality of the messages and advertising fall prey to quantity rather than the quality of connections. Keeping marketing targeted and small at first can allow for steady increases among people who have the highest chance of being truly interested in the product or service.’’
Elizabeth Minei CEO and Founder of Eminei Consulting.
Don’t Be Overconfident – Stay Focused On Your Goals
Confidence is key when becoming a business owner as you will want investors, business associates and customers to believe you and your services. However, when launching a new business, it’s wise to not become too overconfident with your products that you forget about the small stuff. Even though it’s easy to become excited about launching your product, the more mundane tasks are very important.
‘‘Don’t become overly confident and optimistic with your business - the business took a lot longer than I anticipated to amass a loyal customer base to make the business sustainable. Word of advice - always be very, very conservative with your forecasts and estimates when it comes to budget, spending, and timeline for deliverables.’’
Jerry Lee Founder StoryLeather.com.
‘‘I wish I’d known that building a business doesn’t make for an overnight success. I believed so much in my idea that after our launch, I thought I was going to be a billionaire by the end of the year! Six years into the entrepreneurial hustle, I’ve learned that entrepreneurship is being on a mission where nothing can stop you. It will take twice as long as you'd hoped, cost exceedingly more than you'd ever budgeted and will be more challenging than anything you'll ever try but if you give it your all and refuse to give up, you can trust it will be the ride of a lifetime. No matter what… this has been the most rewarding journey of my life. My advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs is to be brave and follow your instincts. You can't cheat the grind, but if you give it your all, you can trust that the payoff will be worth it.’’
Lori Cheek Founder/ CEO of Cheekd.
Don’t Focus On Your Idea; Focus On The Customer’s Problem
When it comes to launching your business, a lot of your energy and time will naturally go into bringing your idea to life and making it a reality. Consider the customer’s problem and how you can solve it with your idea. This way of thinking can help when it comes to marketing your product/services.
‘‘Don’t focus on your idea; focus on the customer’s problem. Ideas don’t generate revenue, customers do. Especially when you solve their problems. Focus on weekly revenue, set targets that ensure you can stay in business. Monitor your results and take decisive action whenever you fail to meet a target. ‘’
Craig Bloem, Founder and CEO LogoMix.
‘‘I would tell new entrepreneurs to pay close attention to ROI right off the bat. When you put money and/or time into something, you need to make sure it's worth it to you and your business. Small business owners have a lot to do any pay for, especially in the beginning stages of their business, so you really need to measure your efforts.’’
Eric Anthony, Founder of StreamingObserver.com.
Don’t Try To Do Everything Yourself, But Ensure That You Pick Your Team Carefully!
When launching your business, it will probably be difficult at first employing staff for the first time, especially for big jobs such as dealing with the finances and business plans.
Therefore, take your time when picking your team members and ensure to interview a range of people. Ultimately, you need to ensure that you can see yourself working every day with the people you choose for your team, plus, it’s also wise to hire someone who balances out your strengths and weaknesses.
‘‘I've made a lot of mistakes over the years and some of them have cost me a great deal. The biggest mistake that I made in the earlier years was trying to do everything myself. I wanted to be a 'business owner' and I thought that meant that I needed to do everything on my own. I learned quickly that it's impossible to give 100% to anything that way. Now I have learned that working with a killer team is essential to success. Without the other people at Powerful Outreach, I would be totally lost.’’
Elijah Masek-Kelly, Managing Director for PowerfulOutreach.com.
‘‘I had a great mentor in my first manager, who showed me that it’s not only alright to share your thought processes and mistakes, but that this is key to building a successful team. There are so many choices to be made when you’re building a business and, by sharing your approach with co-workers, you’re empowering them to more clearly understand your company vision and develop their own skills.’’
Rashmi Melgiri, COO & Co-Founder of CoverWallet.
We hope you’ve found this blog post inspiring and we wish you the best of luck with launching your new business. If you’re looking for further information on starting a business read our previous post on 12 things to do in the first three months of starting a business.