Starting a business comes with some challenges. Tasks like creating a marketing strategy and finding great employees are only the first steps of a long road ahead. As a founder, you will have to wear many hats and navigate unfamiliar territories to build a thriving new company. Knowing what to expect along the way can help you to prepare your business for success.
Here are 10 helpful tips for entrepreneurs starting a business:
1. Create a Standout Business Name
Your business name is a cornerstone of your brand. Make sure that it is something that you, your employees, and customers will be happy to be associated with. Brainstorm different names for your business and get feedback from people that you trust.
When coming up with a business name, make sure it does not infringe on the rights of an existing company. Get a name that will not limit your growth as your business expands.
2. Address Legal Issues Beforehand
Tackling any legal concerns is critical when starting a business. You need experienced legal counsel to help you navigate things such as:
- Entity formation. Should you open an S-Corp or an LLC?
- Equity and shares. How will equity and shares be distributed among the founders?
Hire an attorney that has experience in helping startups in your industry. Getting the legal issues right from the start can shield your company from future expensive litigations.
3. Master Marketing Fundamentals
When starting a new business, you need to market the business proactively. Use any opportunity you have to get the word out about your products or services.
Master the fundamentals of online marketing. Things like website development, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing can help you get traction at a low cost in the early stages of your startup journey.
4. Perfect Your Pitch
Getting your business noticed by potential investors and great employees can be a challenge. You’ll need a pitch that clearly explains your business strategy, product, and goals. The pitch should make it clear why your business is worth investing in.
Always be tweaking the pitch to reflect the changing goals of your business. Remember, the pitch that will get you the first seed investment may not cut it for subsequent funding rounds.
5. Hire the Best Employees
Great employees are needed to make any startup successful. When looking for employees, interview multiple candidates with the core skills required for the roles you are hiring. People are often wearing many different hats at startups. Check whether the candidate will be a good culture fit for your company. With startups, you want employees with a ‘can do’ attitude from the start.
6. Watch the Metrics that Matter
Identify important metrics that will help you closely follow the health of your business. Some of the important metrics you should keep an eye on include:
- New customers acquired over a specific duration
- Foot or online traffic to your business
- Number of qualified leads generated
- Brand equity built over time
The metrics that matter may change depending on your focus over time. Doubling down on the metrics is a good way of tracking the performance of your business.
7. Sign Confidentiality Agreements
Protect your business by having the appropriate contracts and agreements in place. For example, ensure that your company’s proprietary information will be kept confidential by both employees and consultants by requiring them to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
Ideas or innovations that employees come up with should belong to the company. Address this issue beforehand in the company’s Confidentiality and Invention Assignment Agreement.
8. Understand Your Financial Statements
Get your numbers right. Know how to read financial statements of your business. You should know how much you have in the bank, your cash burn rate, and how long the business can sustain itself in line with the current performance.
Watching the numbers will help you know when to cut costs to keep the business afloat and when it would make sense to spend more on growth.
9. Keep Investors in the Loop
Let investors know how the company is performing and what plans are in place. Generally, you should provide updates every month. The updates do not have to be detailed and can be delivered through email.
In the updates, cover the following:
- How the company is doing financially
- Key metrics you are tracking
- Recent press or PR
- Changes in management
Keeping investors abreast of your activities will make it easy for you to raise funds or get the help you need along the way.
10. Get Feedback and Innovate
Your product needs to be great and solve the actual problems that your target customers have. Get feedback from your users. The feedback will help you improve your product as per the users’ expectations. Release updates on a regular basis.
By following the lessons above, your business will have a greater chance of becoming successful.