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Business Development Practices at the Hottest New Startups

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Quitting your cushy corporate job and embarking on a new venture rooted in an untested idea is risky. Yet, we see write-ups on successful new companies appear in Business Insider every week. With more and more millennials riding the wave of innovation and creation, the time to take a chance in business is now.

However, not all startups are created equal. Some fail. Others fail harder. You’ll likely hear of companies facing funding challenges, cofounder and stakeholder disagreements, off-target audience and so forth. To combat such common startup pitfalls, take a lesson from the pros. These business development practices from the hottest new startups will inspire you to draw up a business plan and call in sick tomorrow.

Keep it Simple

Like baking a cake, if you overcomplicate the recipe, you’ll end up with a disastrous, non edible creation. Voxy is a mobile app that provides daily English lessons to Spanish speakers through various experience-based tactics and one-on-one learning. The company has grown to be a leader in the online language community and could easily expand to service other languages. However, they decided to focus solely on teaching English. This targeted approach has led them to garner over 3 million users and $15 million in funding. If you attempt to do too much, you’ll lose the core focus of your vision. Keep it simple to keep it growing!

Speak Up!

You’ve likely heard of an online music station called Pandora. It allows users to customize music their way and listen to songs anytime, anywhere. Founder Tim Westergren attributes a large part of the company’s success to public speaking. “Of all the skills that an entrepreneur can have, I think the ability to convey an idea or opportunity, with confidence, eloquence and passion is the most universally useful skill. Whether you’re pitching a group of investors, rallying your employees, selling a customer, recruiting talent, addressing consumers, or doing a press tour, the ability to deliver a great talk is absolutely invaluable,” he said in an Inc.com article.

Expand Your Footprint

Between Facebook and Skype, it’s easier than ever to communicate with friends abroad. To enhance the overseas connection, the Russian-built app Quokka, allows users and their friends to create a stream of video, photos and text on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. This type of social media convergence will take online communities to new heights. In gaining international appeal, it’s also important to integrating translating website into your model and understand the ebbs and flows of a global following.

Employ the Golden Rule

As kids, we were taught to treat others like we want to be treated. In the startup culture, the rule still applies. Richard Reed of the ethical smoothie brand Innocent believes in hiring the best people who will propel your mission and vision forward, and treating them right. “You need to hire good people, people make a business. Identify your business’ needs and then find staff with the right skills and motivation; it really is the most important thing to get right.” Once you have the right people, reward them with recognition, positive encouragement and maybe bagels every once and awhile. Happy employees are the best employees.

Make Yourself Available

This isn’t a first date where you make yourself out to be exceedingly busy. This your dream. For it to be successful, you have to make yourself available to people who will help your startup thrive. Talk to developers about what is and isn’t working; listen to consumer feedback and apply it; sit in on as many meetings as possible to truly understand how the gears of your business are working. Beating the competition means understanding what your consumer wants more than they do.

While there are many applicable lessons to reach success, the most important best practice is to do it your way. Richard Reed puts it best when he says, “There is no universal ‘right’ way to start a business, every venture is unique and every situation is different. One of the beautiful things about setting up a business is that you can make it the way you want it to be – you can do it with your values and your own rituals. No one can tell you how to run your business.”

This guest post is courtesy of Jennifer Livingston

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