Launching a startup is a time of exciting changes and you can see new opportunities everywhere. Your potential for success outshadows any challenges. However, let’s start by looking at the challenges first — because this will give you a perspective on how to improve your potential for success.
It’s important to pay attention to the challenges to be prepared to meet them head on.
Challenge #1: Beating the Competition
If you’ve chosen a popular niche, the first challenge is competition. Since barriers to entry are often low with an abundance of venture capital money for a good idea, you have to differentiate yourself from the competition. One way to do this is to deploy service management software to help you continuously delight your customers. A service like Astea allows you to use an integrated strategy to connect call centers, depots, field service, sales and office admin together to give your customers the most value.
Challenge #2: Handling Runaway Success
If you’ve chosen a product or a service that fulfills an unmet marketing need, you might be surprised to start doing well as soon as you open your doors. Initially, this may be exhilarating, but it could be problematic if you can’t adapt fast enough to meet customer demand. This honeymoon phase will come to an abrupt end if you fail to meet expectations. Prepare ahead of time to meet this possibility. Preparations could include access to funding, a way of quickly acquiring talent, or a way to rent more space on short notice.
Challenge #3: Anticipating Trends
While it’s easier than ever to start a business, it’s also easier to lose one. Unless, you have a finger on the pulse of change, you can lose all your business overnight to someone who does things better and faster than you. A classic example is how Apple’s iPhone completely dominated the mobile market despite Blackberry’s established market presence. Consumer’s found the iPhone’s user-friendly features hard to resist.
Potential for Success
The best way to handle the challenges of launching a new business is to get off to a good start. You do this by building a solid foundation.
Here are 5 ways to build a solid foundation for your business.
- Plan everything ahead of time. Clear written plans are necessary for success. A plan gives you a sense of direction and well-thought out operations. Without a solid plan in place, it’s only too easy to neglect the important for the urgent. A good plan requires considerable research, which will help you to know your market well. What are your objectives? What strategies will you use? What steps have you taken to ensure steady financing and cash flow? What marketing and sales process will you use to get your first customer?
- Hire the right people. Your business is only as good as the talent it uses. The smaller the company, the more impact each person has on it. Recruiting talent is itself a skill, and if you don’t have the necessary skills in place, then it’s best to work with a staffing agency to get the right people. A good staffing agency usually has a large network of candidates eager to get to work. Since they are hired on a temp to permanent basis, it gives you plenty of opportunity to see if the people you hire are a good fit for your corporate culture.
- Be open to new ideas. Ideally,you should work with a mentor or a group of advisers. Starting a business is a little like organizing a sport’s team. Even professional ball players have coaches, although they could easily figure out how to organize themselves. In your business, it’s possible to figure things out on your own, but it’s a lot easier if there are some experienced people helping you along the way. They can anticipate problems you don’t see and provide solutions you would not have seen.
- Take a systems approach. What makes the fast food restaurant company McDonald’s worth a billion dollars? It’s not exactly the food. This is usually surpassed by small family diners. It’s the systems. The company has such effective systems that they can hire teenagers to run an entire restaurant. Systems consist of two things: the use of best practices for any task and measuring everything by numbers. When you have systems in place, you can start doing more of what works and stop doing what does not work.
- Constant and never ending improvement. It’s almost impossible to get everything right the first time. Instead everything has an evolutionary potentiality to it. Your employees can get better at their jobs. Your business processes can get more precise. Your products or services can be upgraded. And your level of customer satisfaction can get even better. The way to keep track of what should be improved is to measure the progress of all your important processes. You’ll then have enough information to gradually improve them over time. For instance, the best way to improve employees over time is to offer regular training on different skill sets important for their jobs.
Enjoy the Journey
Entrepreneurship is a journey from self-determinism to financial independence. Along the way, you change the world you live in through your unique contributions. While it can be challenging and stressful, it can also be immensely rewarding on many levels.