Starting a new business? Save yourself some anguish
Starting up a new company in any field is never meant to be easy but there are ways in which entrepreneurs and business bosses can save themselves some of the anguish that startup efforts can sometimes induce.
Here's a look at five focus points that can help any new business steer towards sustainable development and away from some of the more common pitfalls that can hinder early-stage progress of small but ambitious companies.
1 – Understand what your core attributes are as a business
As a new small business it might be the case that you're able to provide a variety of interrelated services to customers if they have a need for them. This is potentially very beneficial for the obvious reason that you might be able to do more to keep your clients happy and generate more revenues in the process.
However, when it comes to marketing and positioning your brand in a particular field it is important to have as clear a sense as possible of precisely what your business' core attributes are. In short, making a convincing case for your business as a specialist in one specific arena is usually the best way to attract and retain new customers as a startup.
2 – Don't indulge unhelpful employees
Time and resources are very much of the essence for any startup and seldom can a new business afford to waste either in the early stages of development. So, if it becomes clear that a particular employee or a number of staff members are not working out and aren't contributing positively then it is important to move them on fairly but without delay.
3 – Stick to firm payment policies
However you decide to approach the process of charging customers and organising payments from them, it is vital as a startup to stick to the policies you've chosen to implement. If you are insisting on upfront payments for projects then you should be clear on the fact that you will not start working until those payments are received. Or if you're charging once work, products or services have been delivered then it's crucial to pursue payments quickly and without hesitation.
4 – Be careful when discounting
There is often an understandable temptation for startups to bend to the demands of customers or clients who effectively want discounts on whatever it is that your business is offering. There might be occasions when doing so is ultimately advantageous to your company and its prospects but more often it will to lead to an imbalanced and an unsatisfactory working relationship. In many cases, clients or customers who want more for less will end up distracting your attentions away from the important business of building more viable and healthy working relationships elsewhere.
5 – Don't promise more than you can deliver
The old adage of under-promising and over-delivering can be a helpful notion to have in mind at certain moments for anyone in charge of leading a startup company. Naturally, you'll want to back your skills and abilities to deliver whatever customers want but in the early stages of developing a business, it is sometimes much better to play it safe. This doesn't mean that you should lack ambition in any sense but rather that you should be aware that delivering excellent services on any scale is valuable and can help lay a robust foundation for future growth and development.
By Mark Halstead
Mark is from Red Flag Alert, part of the Begbies Traynor Group, and is now in his 10th year with the business. He's worked at companies across the financial services industry and is a fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing.