Advice

Tips on Starting a Business Fast and Successfully [ANSWERS]

Whether an entrepreneur will admit it or not, the idea of starting their business in a snap and having it be successful is the ultimate fantasy. The idea of tossing your idea out there and having it catch a swift wind is rarely done, but it can possibly be managed with enough research and the right steps. Having a solid foundation to start out on is key to learning how you can get off on the right and fast foot with your business. Below are tips from entrepreneurs on their experiences and advice on getting your business on the fast track to success.

Rescue a CEO and CEO Blog Nation asked entrepreneurs for their tips on starting a business fast and successfully.

 

Photo Credit: Laura Gisborne
Photo Credit: Laura Gisborne

Put your own spin on the wheel

1) Most entrepreneurs get a fabulous idea and think that they will be hugely successful overnight. Not usually the case. My first recommendation is that you don’t quit your “day job.” When someone is excited and passionate about a new project (think about falling in love) they seem to find the energy to work on it nights and weekends. This way you don’t end up with unneeded pressure about how to pay your bills. 2) “You don’t have to invent the wheel” I am always excited when a client tells me they have a business idea that has never been done. After 20 years of developing my own businesses and mentoring hundreds of entrepreneurs, I have yet to see a completely original idea. I recommend instead that you “Put your own spin on the wheel.” Chances are someone, somewhere has developed a hugely successful business that you can model and modify to meet your unique talents. Sometimes you get lucky and you can actually contact and interview the founder of a business that you are modeling, or an officer of the company that has been there for a while who is happy to share with you the keys to their success.

Thanks to Laura Gisborne

 

Photo Credit: Max Valverde
Photo Credit: Max Valverde

Look into crowdfunding websites

I recommend using a crowdfunding website like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. We used Kickstarter to launch Morninghead and were not only able to raise seed capital, but also vet an idea without any out of pocket expense in 30 days. We used a hosted online shopping cart and were incorporated and fully profitable within one month. Our time on Kickstarter also gave us an engaged group of supporters who were invaluable for future branding through in depth surveys.

Thanks to Max Valverde, Morninghead

 

Photo Credit: Scott Wolfe
Photo Credit: Scott Wolfe

Commit 100% and invest in people

Commit 100% and invest in people. The first tip should be obvious if you’re looking to start a business fast, but it’s sometimes not practiced. You can’t start a business fast (much less start a business slow) by putting your toes in the water or trying to dabble in other ventures. A new business is like an infant – it requires all of your resources. Give it all of your resources if you want to come out the other end successfully. At the same time, you must understand that 100% of your resources is probably not enough. You’re going to need a team, and that means you’ll need to be smart about what positions are needed and who will fill those positions. Don’t underestimate the value of building your team and choosing people who can become leaders and help you with the company’s vision.

Thanks to Scott Wolfe, zLien

 

Photo Credit: Andres Riggioni
Photo Credit: Andres Riggioni

Getting the first sale fast

There’s something special about focusing on the first sale and getting to it as fast as you can. It’s only one sale and probably not the most important for your business, but in many cases it’s the most important for an entrepreneur and for the future of the business. Let’s face it, most businesses fail before they even begin. They get stuck on the details and the what-ifs and never quite get off the ground. Great ideas and great intentions are thwarted by the lack of momentum forward. Done is better than perfect in most cases and the emotional and psychological reward of your first sale will generate the right movement forward to your next iteration or your next sale. Getting to the first sale will also start the long road of reality checks and market research to get to know your real customers and improve your product or service. Avoid the blackhole of indecision and make your first sale as quick as possible.

Thanks to Andres Riggioni, GIZN Mercadeo

 

Photo Credit: Christian K. Nordtomme
Photo Credit: Christian K. Nordtomme

Start with your customers

So many people I talk to who start a business get hung up on the stuff they think they need in order to look and feel like they’re in business. Embarrassingly, I’ve been guilty of this more than once myself: You need a logo, a website, business cards of course. Then you need a lawyer, an accountant and an assistant, and you have to incorporate, register and join a bunch of organizations. Not to mention, you have to build the perfect product or offer before you can show it to anyone. It can keep you busy for months and will have you bleeding cash. But the brutal truth is that you’re not in business until you have paying customers. Not just for the money, either, but as confirmation that there really is a market for what you are offering, and for the invaluable feedback you get in those early days. So get your minimum viable product ready as soon as possible, and hustle to get your first customers.

Thanks to Christian K. Nordtomme, Next Page International

 

Photo Credit: Cameron Manderson
Photo Credit: Cameron Manderson

Remain productive and move quick

Here’s some advice that was given to me generously when starting a business; Focus on remaining productive and moving quick, don’t sit back. You need to be out there meeting people and being passionate. There is a surprising amount of support people give to new businesses. It’s not about how correct your business plan was at day one, it’s about how well you can learn, adapt, recognise opportunities and apply. Always set clear and measurable objectives, make sure everyone knows what outcomes are expected. Based on these objectives and the resources at hand, you can set benchmarks that help you get a better understanding of what needs to be done and by when. Keep systems lean, use tools like Google apps for business. Most importantly, make sure team culture is key to your company growth – you need good people, relationships and a team that respects each other.

Thanks to Cameron Manderson, Flint Interactive

 

Photo Credit: Ben Smith
Photo Credit: Ben Smith

Take ownership of your customers

hen you initially start a new business you’ll get a good flow of customers that will “try out”your business, It’s important that you take ownership of every customer that comes through the door. You want to turn every customer into a repeat customer. Apart from the obvious, that being offering excellent customer service and a good product, you’ll want to make sure you get the customers details so you can follow them up and continue the relationship with the customer to maximize revenue potential into the future. The best way to to this is with a loyalty program, there are a number of programs out there, some like Gravy loyalty require no hardware and can be setup cheap. Loyalty will allow you to keep track of your customers details, get reporting insights into your customers spending and continue to market relevant offers. Businesses that have implemented a loyalty system typically see 2-5% growth above industry average, with some businesses seeing growth of 10-20% from their loyalty system.

Thanks to Ben Smith, Gravy Loyalty

 

Photo Credit: Patrick McFadden
Photo Credit: Patrick McFadden

Recognize that you won’t be good at everything

Recognize that you’re not good at everything. The reason most businesses fail is that the entrepreneur makes the assumption they’re good at everything and even when the business starts to fail because of they’re own inadequacy they don’t stop themselves. So to start a business fast and successfully, you have to look yourself in the mirror and say, “What am I really good at?” and “What do I suck at?” because you don’t want to spend any of your time doing things you suck at. Communication. You have to be able to explain your idea or vision and how you’re going to make money (your economic model) in 90 seconds or less. You have to communicate and articulate your vision in a way that everybody gets it. This REALLY, REALLY, matters a lot! If people are going to work for you, they have to go to war with you everyday. They have to go into battle and you have to lead them. They have to trust you even when you’re wrong.

Thanks to Patrick McFadden, McFadden Coaching

 

Photo Credit: Mike Ripp
Photo Credit: Mike Ripp

Doing your homework

Anyone can start a business fast, but the “successful” part is what makes all the difference between growing a business and going out of business fast. Are you properly capitalized to start a business right now? If you don’t have the money to get by the first few lean months, save your dollars and get off the starting blocks quickly when you are financially ready. The best way to make sure your business takes off fast and is a success is to do your homework and pick the right business for your personality and lifestyle. You must enjoy what you do because you have to spend a lot of time on getting it off the ground in the beginning. My business is helping people transition from working for others to owning their own business and I find that the people who succeed and build their businesses quickly are people who make a plan and work their plan. I help them launch their business with a laser focus on their 1st year plan and encourage them not to get distracted by the “shiny stuff” that sidelines many inexperienced business owners. It all comes down to making sure you have a roadmap for your business, with goals for your sales, profitability and a plan for how to grow in a controlled way that allows you to keep your customers happy and coming back for more.

Thanks to Mike Ripp, NAPCO, Ltd

 

Photo Credit: Mike Hoffmeyer
Photo Credit: Mike Hoffmeyer

All about the customer discovery

When an entrepreneur has a “big idea” and decides to go for it, the very first step absolutely must be Customer Discovery. Every entrepreneur is excited about his/her own idea and wants to start building it immediately. Unfortunately, “build it and they will come” is not a reality, which many teams only find out after spending months building something nobody wants. New startup teams have to “get out of the building” first and go talk to potential customers–as many as possible, as quickly as possible. Most teams don’t want to do this for various reasons: fear of rejection, aversion to talking to strangers, etc. If they want to be successful, they have to put those issues aside and get honest feedback from potential customers. Not only will they find out very quickly whether or not their idea is marketable, they will also gain invaluable feedback on what those customers actually need versus what the team thinks they need. During these customer meetings, the team must also get an answer to one very important question in order to make sure they are getting honest feedback: “Would you be willing to pay for it?” If enough people answer “Yes!”, then the team has confirmation that they are onto something and can confidently build the product. If most people answer “No”, then the team knows they need to revise the solution until they get a “Yes” or go another direction. Worst case, the team fails fast without wasting months of effort assuming that their product has a market.

Thanks to Mike Hoffmeyer, Paytopia

 

Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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