Business venture is a serious undertaking and starting a new business can be a daunting prospect.
There are lots of challenges a new entrepreneur will encounter: government legislation and policies, financing, legal issues, human resources, competitions, changing business environment, marketing and lots more.
Many startup entrepreneurs are most often caught up by these challenges. Hence the shocking failure rate of new business could be attributed to unpreparedness of new startup entrepreneurs to know the important things they are expected to know.
As an entrepreneur and a business and academic researcher, I have been privileged to dine with both successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs, attend business and academic conferences and seminars, and conducted interviews and researches.
I have learned a number of real-world lessons; not only from managing my own businesses, but from others who have been ahead of me.
Here are few important lessons for startup entrepreneurs in our ever turbulent and unpredictable business world;
1. Be Committed to your Business
Successful businesses are not run by lazy entrepreneurs. No matter how good and well planned your business is, without your commitment, your startup will never grow. Starting a new business require adequate commitment. This could be in form of opening your business very early and closing late, close supervision of employees to unnecessary mistakes, attending to every customer’s needs and complaints and other daily demands of your business.
Commit to working consistently without pause, taking steps toward your business goals. It is through consistent and diligent work, coupled with patience and flexibility, that you can climb the ladder of success.
2. Listen to your Employees and Customers
One of the outstanding qualities of a good leader is his/her ability to listen irrespective of who is talking. A startup entrepreneur should have the ability to listen because two good heads are better than one. Great business ideas and strategies have by mere listening to employees’ suggestions and customers’ complaints and perhaps suggestions too.
No one is an island. One suggestion or idea from an employee or customer can give you a competitive edge over your rivals for decades. Vijay Ramani, CEO of Totspot said ‘there is nothing better than a customer suggesting a product feature or opportunity that we hadn’t thought of. By being open-minded to consumer feedback, we’re able to build a better product to serve them.”
3. Convert you Customers to your greatest Marketers
Studies have shown that; 3 in 5 Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.
You have a 60-70% chance of getting business from your existing customers compared to only a 5-20% chance of selling to new prospects.
80% of Americans agree that smaller companies place a greater emphasis on customer service than large businesses. Small companies can differentiate themselves from large competition and win over new customers with great service.
Believe it or not, customers are the greatest marketers every business organization has at its disposal. However, this depends on how you relate with them.
A perfect customer relation can keep a lasting impression on customers’ mind for a long time and make them willingly refer other people to your business. You can actually give your customers discount for referring others. I bet you, this is a great morale booster.
4. Have an agile Marketing Team
You are certainly in business to attract customers. You shouldn’t wait for them to locate your goods or services; rather you should locate them first. This is because things that come to people who wait might be things left by those who got there first.
As a startup entrepreneur, one of my business partners had a marketing team of part-time workers. He paid them on the basis of the number of customers they referred to his business. By this marketing approach, he was spending less on his marketing budget and the same time luring more and more customers to his business.
5. Have an Attractive company Website
The internet has made the business environment a global one.
Many businesses in our contemporary times are no longer satisfied meeting the needs of their immediate environment.
They have now gone global, trying to have wider customer base and presence in as many countries of the world. Prospective investors, customers, and partners are also checking out sites 24/7 looking for professional product and services.
Startup entrepreneurs should have great company websites for showcasing their products and services that will reach local and international customers.
Also use the social media platform to market your goods and services. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, whatsApp etc. are great online marketing tools that one can advertise his/her products or services for free or with little cash.
6. Adhere to strict Financial Discipline
In the business world, especially for startup entrepreneurs, finance plays a crucial role in it sustainability and transition from small scale to medium or perhaps large scale business.
As startup entrepreneurs, we are usually cut up basking in the euphoria of our newly established businesses that we do not know when things are awfully going wrong.
You must keep your expenses very low by adhering thoroughly to business and personal budget. Many startups have failed because the entrepreneur wasn’t able to adjust spending to avoid running out of cash.
Establishing a detailed, month-by-month budget is important, and this budget must be regularly reviewed.
You can also spend cheaply is by using coupons. Maulik Patel, Director of Dealslands said that, “making use of the coupon during sales will help you get the items at the cheapest rates, and you can easily save up to 50% on various items. Strict financial discipline is a habit. Unnecessary spending leads to business failure.”