Owning and running a start-up is an invigorating experience. It is you and your idea, and you get to put it all on the line to see if it will work. No matter what the business is or how it has come into being, growing it from a small operation in your garage or at your dining room table into a company with staff and premises and brand recognition is the ultimate goal. But for every business that makes it, there are countless that fail. While some of this is down to market forces and factors completely beyond your control, what are the areas that you can influence to ensure the success of your project.
Don’t stop learning
Businesses grow and change, and you need to ensure that not only are you able to grow and adapt with them, but that you are in control of the growth process and that you are able to steer and influence it. This means that you need to completely understand, not just the operations of the business but the whole environment in which you operate. You constantly need to be learning to make sure that you are on top of everything. So, look for courses that you can do that will add to your skill-set. Perhaps something like a diploma in business management is a place to start. Or a course in marketing. Know your strengths and play to them; know your weaknesses and work on making them strengths.
So much about success is dependent on who you know. So, network relentlessly. Go to trade events, join online communities and put yourself out there in the public domain. You cannot know too many people, contacts are your friends and your clients, and they will be the reason that you succeed.
Be the example
As soon as you have your first staff member you need to make sure that you are setting the example of how you want them to work and how you expect them to present themselves. It is up to you to set the bar and to set it high. If they want to make the career journey with you then they need to follow. So be punctual, work the long hours, let it be known that no job is too big or too small for you. An inspired staff has the ability to make all the difference.
Don’t get down on yourself
From the outset you need to recognise that there will be tough times and dark days. It is inevitable, and it can take its toll on you as the business owner. Cash flow might be tight, there could be legal issues or fierce competition from bigger rivals, or even strife with your staff or business partners. Whatever the issues end up being, it is fair to say that they will surface at some stage. But recognising that the road to success is paved with troubles and pot holes is to know what to expect along the way and to be ready to deal with them when they arise. Don’t let the bad times get on top of you – rather plan ahead and ensure you are best placed to ride them out when they arrive.