Why do some startups thrive while others die on the vine? It’s often not about the idea itself but management and execution. Today, guest blogger Sean Jones shares 5 tips to ensure your startup stays healthy instead of dying a quick death. Sean is a business writer with a primary focus on the technological sector. He has covered startup social networking sites and provided engaging content for numerous tech companies, with an interest for topics like company growth, cloud computing, hosted services, and mobile productivity.
8 of 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months, according to Forbes. (Tweet this!)
This is enough to make even the savviest of entrepreneurs shudder. Is it worth it to take the risk, when the odds are clearly not in your favor? Here are 5 tips to help your startup thrive:
1. Expect Setbacks, and Don’t Panic When They Happen
“Smooth seas never made a skillful sailor.” While this is one of the most cliche sayings of all time, it couldn’t be more applicable to the business world. As a company, you’ve got to know not only to expect things to go wrong, but to have a gameplan for when (not if) they do, especially from a financial aspect. Always have a backup plan and backup funds. And always keep a calm frame of mind when things don’t go as planned. Panicking can lead to impulse decisions that you may later regret, so make sure you take the time to fully think about every possible option to move forward in a lessthanideal situation.
2. Don’t Overlook or Forget About the Small Details
Business guru Richard Branson explains how despite owning the mega company Virgin Group, he still takes the time to visit each of his businesses with a notebook to see what small, unique touches they can continue adding to their company. Take the time to customize each report depending on the specific client. Always check and evaluate even the most minute details of your business, especially those that are easy to overlook. Always remember employees’ birthdays.
3. Own Up to Your Mistakes, Especially to Customers
“If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.” Dale Carnegie’s words could not be more applicable to the atmosphere of a startup business. The fact of the matter is that you will make (many) mistakes, but what’s important is how you handle them, especially with clients. In addition to owning your mishaps, always listen to the feedback and criticism from those more experienced than you — you may learn a thing or two.
4. Focus on an Uplifting Work Environment
One reason many startups struggle with launching is largely due to their discontented, disgruntled, unmotivated employees. If you enjoy the work you’re doing, it makes all the difference — and a positive and encouraging work environment aids in workplace enjoyment. It makes employees not only happier, but much more productive. Positive reinforcement goes a long way, and good morale in the workplace is vital.
5. Increase Productivity with New Technologies
There are lots of resources available to small companies that help with task management, organization, and overall efficiency. The US Small Business Association (SBA) gives a list of software that small companies should look into, including accounting, planning and time tracking software. Options range from free apps such as Toggl to Business Plan Pro software. It’s also good to consider outsourcing your company’s data management if you think it’d be less stressful than keeping the task of keeping up with all data in-house. Services such as Tekstream offer Oracle software while teaching you the most efficient ways to use it for your business.
6. Know When to Keep Growing and When to Hold Back
Entrepreneur Magazine claims that almost every small company enters a “no man’s land”— an awkward in between growth stage when it’s “too big to be small and too small to be big.” While it may be unavoidable in the growth process, it may also be when a company realizes it’s not going to be able to function as a large business. It’s important to make it over this hump in growth to succeed, so remember that the hiring process isn’t a race— only hire as many people as you are overly confident in being able to control at a time.
Despite daunting failure statistics for startup businesses, if there’s a chance of success, it’s worth the risk— especially if you take the time to make sure you do it right the first time around.
Being successful means effective teamwork! Here’s a great article from The Virtual Hub on why teamwork is so important to your start-up’s success, especially with a virtual team.
Photo Credit: Karyn Christner on Flickr