You've seen the success stories -- hopeful entrepreneurs launching the ideas they've been so passionate about for years. Success strikes often in the valley, but not all startups have had the opportunity to hit it big when it comes to grabbing the attention of Fortune 500 companies acquiring little products here and there, but in the same instance, not all startups are struggling.
When startups find themselves in the media spotlight for creating great tools and products, it gives the little startup more exposure than they anticipate, sending signals of high-importance to the business-minded folk reading about them. We often only get to see the end-result of the hard work those small businesses launched and succeeded in, it's not everyday we get to hear about the struggles these ambition-driven entrepreneurs go through in the starting phase of their business model.
It's typically true that when a startup launches, they hit the ground running. A small crew of friends, past colleagues, or family -- all with a shared passion for the ideas they have cooking up. More often than not, the rush to expand as quickly as possible can distract entrepreneurs from properly managing the necessities that all small businesses require in order to secure their assets and encourage growth.
1. Getting Finances in Order
When a good idea transitions into a small business, getting started is always hectic, and one of the most overlooked factors in starting a new business is getting finances and accounting practices set into motion. A proper foundation has to include the legal registration of the business, patent applications, complete records for taxes, and correct documentation for new hires. If any legal issues arise later on, it will be much easier to find the paperwork you need and protect your business from from legal threats.
Don't let your startup fail because of a simple mistake made in the early stages.
2. Keeping a Secure Office
When the time comes to operate out of a real office, whether it's in a home, a studio space, or a formal office space -- it's a given that employees will leave their computers in the office, along with confidential documents and personal items. Wireless security systems can protect businesses from criminals trying to break in and from unethical employees. Burglaries happen every day, due to a lack of security equipment -- or being distracted with the amount of work involved in creating a successful startup. Burglaries can be devastating and costly in terms of time, money, and motivation.
3. Transparently Communicating a Business Model
If a startup is going to succeed at making an impact in the business world and filling a need in today's society, everyone needs to have the same vision for the company, from the leaders and from their future employees. When a startup hires randomly without clearly sending a message about what skills, attitude, and goals they need from employees, a few things are bound to happen: the candidate won't feel secure in their position, and insecurity may lead to lack of faith which in turn translates into a lack of effort or care about the goal of the team. Successful employers have a clear vision, goals, and can communicate these clearly to everyone.
4. Emphasizing Brand Over Product
Sure, you may have a cool logo and fancy web design plastered all over your landing page, but what do you really have to show? A common mistake brand-new startups make is focusing on appearances rather than substance, such as the products and services they intend to offer. Fast-talking CEOs may be able land some venture capital support, but when it comes time to take things to the public, we're able to determine how much of the time and money was spent -- if the capital spend leans towards enforcing brand over a product the world wants, the first impression may leave a bad taste in the collective consumer mouth.
One last thing to remember as you start your business: you need to lay the concrete and let it set before building your metaphorical empire. Don't get ahead of yourself, or skip the important beginning steps. Just as no person can run a marathon before learning to walk, no startup can have millions in sales without struggling and growing through those early days.