Lately I’ve noticed several programs and contests that fund, support, and of course, encourage start-ups to finally get themselves out in the open. One day you’re working, doing your daily 8-to-5 and then suddenly a great idea hits you but you’re not sure where to begin. You cash out, borrow a little, read up on some articles and think you’re good to go. While ample knowledge on the perfect mix of traditional and new media marketing, basic accounting skills, and a healthy dose of common sense will be considered helpful, here are other pitfalls that you might want to prepare from:
Know that your business plan will have several changes as you go. No matter how good or foolproof you think your current business plan is, don’t break heart when you’d eventually find yourself changing it. There is no FINAL business plan, ever. Learn to adapt to changes and listen to the advice of others.
Speaking of listening to others, learn that you have to spend a good amount of time talking to a good number of people. If you don’t do so, you might miss out on a helpful insight that will really make or break how you do business. Just don’t go around announcing it on Facebook as well. That’s tacky, and only about 5% of your friends might actually be sincere or knowledgeable about business.
Third: don’t get obsessed about your branding. Sure, thinking your brand over, giving it a nice logo and exposure is good but if you spend P50,000 just to build a nice website for it while your total capital is P150,000, you might be making a huge mistake there. Instead, spend your money on developing your products, selling complementary products/ services and get trainings for customer service.
Not hiring right. At first you will be thinking that hiring the one that doesn’t expect a huge salary, and clearly needs the money now, is fine. But that’s not what you really want. You want someone who believes in your products and services, and the ones who care about it as much as you do. This way, they will be more accountable for their actions and it will be easier for them to do the selling or do their jobs. Don’t just hire employees, hire evangelists. Do your part also by conducting activities or rewards programs that make them love their work better.
Lastly, nothing beats realism. So it’s best to be rational all the time, not confuse passion with delusion and remember that success = hardwork. Find ways to motivate yourself aside from money. Find a strong vision and equip it with a strong mission. Put your (realistic) core values and goals at heart.
I’m already in the same business for four years and I still feel like a newbie most of the time. I would say this list always serves as a great goal map whenever I am facing a dilemma. So good luck to all the other young entrepreneurs and more power to all start-ups!