I remember the feeling of starting a business. I was so excited that I have got this idea that I couldn’t help myself but make it happen. Like many others, I quit my job and followed my dream.
But it wasn’t that impulse that made my company possible. It was my ability to learn from other people’s successful and not so successful stories. I spent a decent amount of time reading and watching case studies, biographies, and interviews with entrepreneurs that I admired and others that I came to get to know along the way.
They told me everything I need to know about how to start a business and I thank them for that. And now I am going to share with you these best practices I have learned from them.
It sounds very obvious, but you know what I am talking about here. You have that fabulous idea, something that you really think could work, and yet you aren’t that sure. You see the flaws, and you got a job and a family, etc, and you don’t feel like you should put your current lifestyle at risk (even if you hate it).
Even if you decide to get your business started, you won’t quit your job or you will finish your degree. And I am not saying that you can’t do both. It is perfectly fine to be cautious if your circumstances require it, but you must be sure that you are making a calculated decision, not one based on fear.
When Mark Zuckerberg drop out of Harvard, he believed that Facebook would take off. But that move was just his first way prove his faith in his company. He also turned down several millionaire proposals to buy Facebook made by major corporations, including Google, The Washington Post, Yahoo, AOL, and Viacom.
And you know what they said: if you don’t trust in your business 100%, who will?
I won’t lie to you and say that all companies that are now big players started with a detailed business plan and a 20-years vision. But they all have some kind of plan even if it was never written down.
Their founders knew what they want to do and how they were going to achieve it. And yet, they were prepared to take action and reinvent their business as soon as they notice that the plan wasn’t working as expected.
Fred DeLuca and Peter Buck, for instance, had a goal to open 32 stores in 10 years. But they realized that they couldn’t make it happen by themselves and adopted the franchising model that made possible Subway to be present in 111 countries with almost 45,000 restaurants nowadays.
You can’t sell what you don’t understand. It should be the motto of anyone considering to become an entrepreneur. But, unfortunately, many people think that, if they are just the retailer or the middleman, they don’t need to know every single detail of what they are offering to the public.
But the thing is that you need to understand not only your product but every single part of the process, administrative and financial operations included. Otherwise, you won’t be able to plan correctly or to delegate tasks. You might end up spending in what you don’t need as well, and your customer service will be a mess.
Markus Frind, the founder of PlentyOffish, had just a very faint idea on how to create a dating website when he started it. He was introduced by a friend to an online dating site but got annoyed by the fact he had to pay to read messages received and see who had liked him, among other features set as premium only.
So he decided to learn and create his online dating site from scratch and all by himself. As a result, he created a massive service, and PlentyOfFish was recently sold to Match Group for US$575 million in cash – but he still retained the ownership of the company.
Your target audience is the key to your company. It is them that you want to pamper and make sure that will buy your product or service and come back for more. So it is crucial that you spend as much time as possible trying to understand what your public wants and expect from your business.
YouTube was basically created from scratch based on their audience’s need. Chad Hurley, Jawed Karim, and Steve Chen were up to create a video-dating website called “Tune In, Hook Up”, but nobody actually uploaded any video there. So they decided to revamp the site and let people upload any kind of video they wanted. And the rest of it is history.
And if you want that makes things happen, make sure that you avoid unnecessary expenses. It is easy to get excited about so many things that you can buy and build a fancy office in your garage, or fall into several recurrent bills, from accountancy to applications.
The idea here is that you invest only in what is essential in the beginning and that you add whatever else you need over the time (and when you actually need them). And outsource what you can, in the beginning, finding a list of writing services and virtual assistants that will make your life much easier.
Getting to know the best practices related to starting a business will save you a lot of time and money, but, above all, it will save you from stress and failures.
So take the advice from successful entrepreneurs and learn from them how they managed to get their business running. You will thank them in future (and sooner than you think)
Norman Arvidsson is a passionate author who was born in Sweden but then moved to the United States with his family. Now his goal is to share his experience with others through blogging.
He is familiar with such areas as web dev and design, marketing, blogging, freelancing, startups, small business, self-development, and eLearning. Considers personal growth as the main goal in his life. You can contact him through his Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.