Published on September 30th, 2013 | by Anita B0
9 Tips For Starting Your Business: Not As Seen On TV
It’s surprising what works when it comes to reality TV. Each week, millions of people will tune in and watch spoiled heiresses detached from reality (Keeping Up with the Kardashians); people who aren’t the brightest crayon in the box drink too much and argue (Jersey Shore), or people sing well or be humiliated for not being able to sing well (American Idol, X Factor, The Voice, etc). Watching people compete for the chance to get a fairly standard corporate job doesn’t exactly sound like must-see TV, and yet The Apprentice has been a ratings winner since 2004 and has spawned more than 30 international versions. The show is hosted by the elaborately haired business mogul Donald Trump and contestants compete for a chance to run one of Trump’s many companies for a 12-month period. Idealistic young entrepreneurs might well watch each week, hoping for a nugget of business gold that will help them with their dreams of launching their own business empire. Since contestants on The Apprentice have been known to offer up words of wisdom such as, “What we need to bear in mind was that our focus group was quite focused,” young entrepreneurs had better look elsewhere for tips. So what are some of the vital tips that need to be adhered to when setting up a business?
1. Expect the Best, Plan for the Worst
Despite your best intentions, your business might ultimately fail. Sorry to be negative, but it does happen. A combination of a few ill thought out decisions can scuttle a business in its infancy. You need to have an exit strategy to wind up the business should the worst happen, and a backup plan for your own wellbeing (usually involving having sufficient savings in your bank account).
2. Ask Yourself Questions
You need to constantly be questioning yourself, and while this can sound a tad pessimistic, it’s not the same as constantly doubting yourself. Why are you starting the business? What do you want to achieve? Once the business is up and running, you might need to ask yourself (from time-to-time), “Why am I doing this?” If the answer is, “I don’t know anymore,” then it might be time to find a new line of work.
3. People First
Choosing the best staff for your business, and taking into consideration their skill sets as well as personality compatibility will make for a happier workforce, which makes for a happier customer base, which leads to a successful, profitable business. Let the people around you (your staff and your customers) know that they’re appreciated.
4. Be Thoughtful
The thought process is one of the most important aspects of setting up and maintaining a successful business. Do your homework and keep doing it- think of ways to improve and grow, since complacency can sometimes be the beginning of the end. Sometimes it can also be good to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to explore your own business from their point of view.
5. Trust Yourself
There’s a lot to be said for gut instinct. If you get a feeling that something is a bad move for your company, then don’t be afraid to trust your judgement. Having said that, the best businesses are collaborative approaches, so surround yourself with people whose judgement you trust, for when you need to bounce ideas around.
6. Your Business Isn’t Your Life
Have a life outside of work. This can be a challenge in itself, but having interests beyond the success of your business can refresh you, and make you even more invested in your business, since you want to maintain the varied life you’re building for yourself.
Businesses in comparable fields aren’t necessarily competitors, and in fact, the smaller guys sometimes need to stick together to fend off large multinationals. Network with other businesses, and perhaps form allegiances with businesses that compliment your own. Use each other’s expertise to grow your respective businesses.
8. Adapt to the Season
Your sales might go down in January – don’t worry. They were significantly up around Christmas. Whatever your product or service is, there are times of the year and seasons that will surely affect your business. Maybe the oil prices are up. You need to let these things go and try to adapt to them as much as you can. Introduce new promotions, like Black Friday at online retailers, to make the best out of the best periods – so you have less to worry about later.
9. Take it Slow- It’s Not a Race!
You might see your destination on the horizon, and it can be tempting to put your foot on the accelerator and get there as quickly as possible. Growing a business too quickly can bring the whole thing crashing down; as you find yourself no longer able to maintain the high standards you’ve set yourself. Baby steps are best…