Starting a business is no easy endeavour, it takes courage, passion and resilience. And with 2 out of 3 startups failing, it’s fair enough that those who take the leap look to others for help and advice. You can’t do it alone, and we’re here to help. We’ve curated some handy tips to help you on your entrepreneurial journey.
There are no short cuts, perfect formulas or method. Every entrepreneur’s path looks different, but there are some notes that can be applied to every new business to help give it legs. From where to work from to keeping costs down and focusing on where you started in the first place, our advice is here to guide you to your success.
The first thing to establish for your new business is a business plan. You need to ask yourself: ‘do I have a viable product or service that is unique in market, has easy to understand communications and is going to drive my profitability?’
Market research is critical to conduct before throwing all your eggs in one basket. Don’t rely on your friends and family, but rather seek real life feedback from people who are going to be your new customers or clients. For products, trial small scale marketing and attend relevant events and conferences. Sell your product directly and be sure to get feedback on them. You want as many honest appraisals as possible to truly understand if your products are going to be well received when going market and the propensity for repeat purchases.
How much does it cost to design a product, produce it, ship it and market it? What are your other expenses? Understanding the true cost of bringing your product from idea to the hands of a customer is required to understand your margins and how much you can spend in marketing and still remain profitable.
What is the market size you’re tapping into? What competitors are in the market and how easy would it be for them to sell a similar product? Are there external factors that may impact your business, i.e. changes in technology or legislation? It’s important to understand the intricacies of your industry to understand the risks you’ll be undertaking.
When you’re starting out, you’ll often need somewhere to work from. It may be tempting to turn your garage into an office or stay in pyjamas on the couch all day with your laptop on your lap but finding an appropriate office space will help you on your journey.
Co-working spaces such as Waterman Business Centre in Melbourne offer memberships from as little as $30 per month and give your business a professional environment to inhabit.
Leaving your house every morning and heading into an office will help remove distractions from around the home, centre your focus and allow you to have some work-life balance. It also offers a professional environment to have meetings with clients or business partnerships and allow you to switch from home-mode to work-mode with ease.
You may have heard the term “Your network is your net-worth”, and it exists for a reason! Working in a space filled with like-minded people means you won’t be doing it alone. Starting a business can be a tough gig and you’ll want people around who can relate and understand the pitfalls and struggles. Co-working spaces come with a community, so even on your hardest business day, you’re not alone.
Networking also means you’ll often find new avenues for your business. You’ll constantly be interacting with other entrepreneurs who come with their own ideas, drive and who can help take your business to places you’d never expect when you first started.
Also being surrounded in a community of like-minded professionals means that you can both receive and give referrals, and this is great in pushing your business forward!
Plus, a social environment is proven to increase good moods, and happy workers are more productive workers. Co-working is good for your business and good for you. A win-win!
Focus on Your Passion
Starting a business is full of ups and downs and the path can be rocky and winding. When you hit a roadblock or pitfall, it’s important to remember why you started. You wouldn’t start a business without having a passion for what you’re doing, so focus on that. Always.
Whatever your work day entails – filling in excel, navigating a flood of emails and pitching to potential clients, updating website copy – you need to focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing. It will keep you centred and heading towards your goals.
Success is a slog without passion after all!
Be a sponge when it comes to content in your field or industry. Read books and online articles, listen to podcasts and follow experts on social media. Listen to what other people have to say, especially those who have gone before you. Repeat: learn and grow, learn and grow, learn and grow.
If you want entrepreneur advice, start with Gary Vaynerchuk and Tony Robbins, then take advice from those around them, and those around them, and keep expanding. When exploring your sources of information always approach as a skeptic. Not everyone you find online or who has written a book, is correct. There is often a spectrum truth found in experts, especially in fields where controversy or complexity exist. We suggest reading as much information as possible, especially sources that challenge your own beliefs.
If you ever get stuck on what to pick up next, look at what those around you in co-working and office spaces are consuming. What are they reading? Read that! Do they go on and on about a podcast on digital marketing and you’re a digital marketer? Well, listen to it!
Absorb as much as you can. At the end of the day, knowledge is power. So, equip yourself with it.
Get a Business Coach
Starting a business is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to keep pushing, enjoy the highs and endure. It’s about consistency and perseverance. And just like any sport, it helps to have a coach.
Having a business coach will hold you accountable to your goals and KPIs, offer advice in the sticky spots and tell you the truth when you need to hear it. Having someone you consult will also help clarify your vision and create attainable goals as well as push you to dream big and believe in what you started.
As mentioned above, as we can’t stress enough, businesses often fail when gone at alone. If you don’t know where to find one of these life-saving instructors, a good place to start is by asking fellow co-workers, such as those at hot desks around Waterman, and maybe you’ll even run into one working away in a break-out space.
Starting a business is a courageous endeavor and there’s no shortage of advice to help you on your journey. Plan your business, get a good office space, network away, be cost savvy, focus on your passion, absorb as much as you can and invest in a business coach. Good luck!