Virgin, Microsoft, and Amazon were once humble startups struggling to get by. Though this is a comforting thought for cash-strapped entrepreneurs, it’s important to temper it with the knowledge that more than 90% of fledgling businesses fail. This means you absolutely can have the success you crave, but the odds are stacked against you. So, to make it big, you need to learn from those who’ve forged the path ahead of you.
To help you in this endeavor, we’ve gathered five pieces of sage advice that have been vetted by multiple successful business owners:
1. Keep your overheads low
In the early days of your startup, it’s important to direct as much capital as possible to product development and customer experience. This means taking advantage of as many low-cost tools as you can. Opting for serviced and virtual offices rather than renting an expensive office suite and utilising interns or off-shore freelancers for labor-intensive tasks are just some of the ways that savvy entrepreneurs can shave zeroed off their costs.
2. Invest wisely
Though you do want to be clever about keeping your expenses at a minimum, being too stingy can end up doing more harm than good. Never cut corners with your products and services. When it comes to things like small business IT support, you can outsource to a reputable company, saving money on staff while ensuring top-level support whenever required. Take this same ethos to all of your investment decisions. Ask yourself “what’s the most cost-effective way I can get the best possible quality?”
3. Be a glutton for feedback
Elon Musk often points out in interviews that feedback is the best fuel for progress. As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to muzzle your ego and accept even the most critical opinions. Of course, you don’t want to go down a rabbit hole of constantly trying to please everyone. This is an impossible mission that will only end in frustration. However, you do want to seek out and be thankful for every bit of feedback you can glean. Think critically about what you’re told, extract any useful information, and apply it to your ongoing strategies.
4. Have a guiding passion
This is what keeps you going when everything looks bleak and the easy way out would be to give up. Building a successful business is not an easy undertaking. However, if you have a guiding passion, you’ll be able to push through every challenge and setback.
Your product or service could be your passion, or you could find it in what you do with the profits from your business. Perhaps you grew up in a tough neighborhood and you want to be able to invest in building it up so the next generation can have more opportunities than you did. Take some time to find your guiding passion and then embed it into your startup’s mission.
5. Master time management
Those who haven’t mastered this subtle skill often feel like they’ve worked all day, yet they’ve accomplished little. The truth is, they’re getting bogged down in “busywork”, allowing their wandering mind to drag them from task to task, and indulging in other subtle habits that drain your ability to focus and power through your workload. Boosting your productivity allows you to work smarter rather than harder, securing your startup against one of the biggest causes of failure – poor time management.
Follow the tips above, never stop educating yourself, throw in a bit of luck and good timing, and you’ve got all the ingredients you need to find success with your startup.