SUCCESS STORIES / AUG. 04, 2015
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7 Lessons Learned From Successful Startups

Taking that leap and deciding to start up your own business can be a scary thing. There are so many factors to consider and the possibility of failure is always sitting in the back of your mind. Once you’ve taken that leap, the journey to building your own business is never easy. If you are throwing around the idea of starting up a business venture of your own or have started one already and are struggling to deal with the challenges in front of you, then keep on reading. Here are a few lessons and tips from those who have been through the process and managed to come out the other side successful, and which will hopefully help you get through yours.

See Also: Top 5 Startup Trends in 2015

1. Be the Solution

When putting together the idea for your business, you need to know why you are going to be relevant to people. One of the easiest answers to this question is because your business solves a current problem. Have a look at the field or industry you are planning to start your business in and identify any current issues. Then try and create a business that helps solve those issues. This will greatly increase your chances of success because you will then be providing something that has an obvious benefit and difference from anything else already out there. It also allows you to easily answer the question ’why should someone be interested in what you have to offer’. This is something you will be asked plenty of times when you begin your journey and you are sure to impress if you can easily provide an answer.

2. Don't Be Afraid of Change

If you have already started to get your business idea up and running but it does not seem to be doing as well as you hoped it would, something might need to be changed. Take a step back and have a real look at what you are doing. You will probably find areas you could improve on or change altogether. Even though you might not want to change anything and want to stick to the original vision you had, it just doesn’t work that way and you have to be willing to make any necessary changes. Sometimes, the need to change can also come up once the startup is established. Society and what it wants constantly changes and what once worked sometimes no longer does. During these times, you also need to be willing to alter the way you do things to remain successful.

3. If It's Not Broken, Don't Fix It

When you have been doing something a certain way for an extended period of time, it can be tempting to try to change things up. With your startup, this could relate to the way you deliver services or how the entire operation is structured. In the world of business though, the saying ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ couldn’t be more true. It doesn’t take much for something that was once working to no longer be successful. A lot of people do not like things they are familiar with suddenly changing. When this happens, it can cause people to abandon it to find something closer to what they are used to. So, if everything about your startup seems to be running smoothly, try to not be tempted to change it. Changes can sometimes be a good thing but be sure to do a lot of thinking and research before doing anything drastic.

4. Start Small

If you’re thinking about starting up your own business, it is probably because you have come up with some grand-scale idea. While that dream is definitely something you should work towards, it is unlikely you will be able to successfully launch a startup that tackles the entire idea straight away. There can be numerous factors affecting you such as limited funds or inexperience, so you need to start small. Test the waters before you jump straight in. If you try to do too much too soon, you can easily become overwhelmed. If it is unsuccessful and you’ve put too much of your funds into it, you could be left in quite a stressful and dire situation. Starting small allows you to see if others are interested in what you have to offer. Once you start getting interest, you can start expanding and working towards that ultimate goal.

5. Be Prepared for Challenges

This is one of the most obvious pieces of advice. It is very rare that anyone who starts up a business finds the whole process a breeze. Most face many challenges on their journey because of many factors. You are probably jumping into a world you’ve never experienced before, and there are so many other things outside of your control that affect what you do. There are competitors, there are processes you don’t understand which you will come to discover are much harder than you initially thought, and you cannot predict how others will take to your idea. All you can do when these challenges present themselves is to take a deep breath and face them head on. They may be hard, but these challenges usually teach us valuable lessons that will only help us to improve things in the future.

6. Let People Do Their Work

When you first start up your business, it will probably be a one or two-man band. Once your business begins to expand, however, you will need to start employing others to keep up with all the work that needs to be done. Due to the fact that you have nurtured this business from the beginning, it can be hard to let go of parts of it to others. You might be tempted to try and constantly keep on top of what everyone is doing so you feel you are still in control of everything, but doing this only makes you overbearing and it can be really off-putting to others. You hired these people because you knew they were good at what they do and could handle their work. You need to keep this mind and let them get on with their job. Not only can constantly supervising and micromanaging others be extremely annoying, it can also prevent them from being as productive as they could be.

7. Look for New Opportunities

The best thing a business can do to remain successful is to always be growing. The world and society we live in is constantly changing and evolving so the things we do need to grow with it. Watch what developments are being made and what things are happening in your area of business, and respond to them correspondingly. This could mean you need to start offering new services alongside your existing ones, or that it is time to team up with another company and develop a partnership. If you are unsure what your next step should be, reach out those who actually utilize your services: your customers. Giving them things like surveys or feedback forms and asking them what they like about your business, what they think could change, or what they think could be added is the easiest way to finding new directions that can help your startup successfully improve.

See Also: The Best Predictor of Startup Success

Starting your own business is both a tough but also extremely rewarding experience. If you have enough drive and passion, if you truly believe what you have to offer can succeed and you also take note of the tips above, then there really is no reason why your startup should not succeed.

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