There is no magic formula to start a business that works from day one, but it is true that many generous entrepreneurs, after many failures, have shared the formula of their company. Here are few things you should know before starting a business.
Entrepreneurship is not a sprint, it is a long-term marathon
Many people become obsessed with running and doing things fast, starting, growing at full speed and hitting the ball. But things are always changing, and plans rarely come out as you plan. Instead, focus on building a company and a long-term brand.
That is why it is important that, when you are going to undertake, you do it with a financial cushion, since if you have a cash flow problem, the urgency will kill you.
First the demand and then the supply
The companies that succeed focus more on meeting needs than on being visionary. I do not want to discourage you if you feel the reincarnation of the next Steve Jobs, but I do advise you that before undertaking, investigate, know your numbers and make sure there is a market that demands what you want to sell. Sometimes it’s a mistake to get ahead of trends.
Don’t give anything away
Do not make romantic numbers giving free services so that they know you or fall into the temptation based on advertising income or positive social impact. Each sale should be profitable, ideally at 50 percent. Then, you must build a team and a system as you grow.
Solve a Problem
Always ask yourself what need or problem your product or service solves. If there is no demand or market interest, you must start over. Use tools like Google Trends or Quora to find out about current problems and trends.
But first, sell something that people are already looking for and learn to sell! If you create a business, and you explain it to your grandmother and she doesn’t understand it, you may have to consider redefining it.
Study your target audience
Studying implies asking, talking, surveying. Face reality as soon as possible. Call a customer to see if he is interested in what you want to sell or make an online campaign to see if there is interest in your idea.
Expose yourself to rejection as soon as possible and analyze the answers. A NO in time, relieves much pain in the long term. For example, you can make a meetup or a meeting with friends and present your idea as if it were already reality and collect the feedback.
Stop looking at your belly button
Many entrepreneurs focus on both their marketing and the benefits of what they sell, they refuse to know more about what their customers want to achieve or solve.
Profitable and functioning companies know their customers. They sell the value, the impact and the results that their clients look for. When you do that, you become those rare companies whose products do not need to be sold, they are simply bought.
So have a little humility and think that if you’re doing well and you grow up, as Guy Kawasaki says, “There will always be someone locked in a garage thinking how to take away the customers you have today.”
Do not do paralysis by analysis
Nothing works well at first. The only way to make progress is to really do it: you have to act immediately, and then analyze the results and make changes. Learn about Agile methodologies so that trying and retrying is something natural. Never give up. The only way you’ll really fail is if you give up.
Look at nature, how much does a bird doubt in pushing its young to start flying?
Take care of the box
If you have trouble managing money or accounting is not your thing, I anticipate that you will not escape that responsibility if you want to have things under control. Make sure you have enough financing and watch out for cash flows, as companies with big expectations have gone to hell to drown financially.
One thing you can learn is to have control of your personal expenses, so it will be easier for when you then have the company.
Finance only when it makes sense
In many countries there are policies to support entrepreneurship and in some cases, non-bank financing reaches very attractive amounts that tempt all partners. But beware, that financing can even be harmful, because a business has to have a sustainable model, not be supported by grants or easy money from investors that blur the formula.
Get ready to swing
No MBA or any Guru will give you any secret or step-by-step formula to set up the perfect business. Businesses are like billiards, the balls are perfectly spherical and can go anywhere and collide with any band. And when you deal with something as complicated as the minds of consumers, chaos unleashes much more easily than in billiards, no matter how good your strategy is. Prepare to change halfway. Do not try to go against the wind and the tide of the market, but take advantage of the wind to reach a good port.