Got an earth-shattering great business idea? Check.
Done all the necessary research and looked at the idea from a thousand different angles? Check.
Developed a killer business plan? Check.
Truly committed to success like you would be to raising a newborn child? Check.
You should be all set to start your new business, right? What could possibly go wrong? Well, considering that nearly half the businesses started in the U.S. fail within their first year, and two-thirds don’t last through two years, there has to be more to it than that.
So what are some of the realities about starting a brand-new business that eager entrepreneurs need to know?
Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst
It may sound oversimplified, but successfully starting a new business (or buying a business that’s going to succeed) requires that you remain optimistic and excited while taking the wise and necessary steps to prepare your newborn company for the worst the business world has to offer.
Preparation takes many forms. You can do all the research you want, but once you’ve started your business, the daily reality of running it can be overwhelming. You don’t always know what to expect. Based on historical insights and the examples of successful entrepreneurs, however, applying the following principles can give your new business the best chance to survive and thrive in the years to come.
Important Tips for Successful Startups
Things will not always go according to plan.
No matter how detailed and well-constructed that plan is, it’s never going to be flawless. It’s not a matter of if, but when things will go awry, and you need to be prepared for every contingency. Adaptability is one of the most important traits a new business owner can possess. Don’t be afraid to go off-script if the situation calls for it.
You’re only as strong as the team surrounding you.
Your biggest priority will be recruiting and retaining high-quality talent to your team. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of hiring great employees and empowering them to do their jobs, then stepping back and giving them the room and resources they need to excel.
You can’t succeed as a micromanager.
It’s vital for new business owners to quickly grasp the difference between being detail-oriented and being a micromanager. As the owner, you certainly need to take an active interest in all aspects of your company. But you also need to trust the people you’ve hired. Micromanaging your business is a great way to stifle your employees’ creativity and initiative, and create a turnover problem that will only get worse the longer it goes on.
Build a positive business culture.
Every business is unique, and the culture that works at Company A might not work at Company B. So find the atmosphere and philosophy that works for your business. While the details will be different in every business, all employees want to feel empowered to contribute to the company’s success, and appreciated for their efforts. They want to know management cares about them as individuals, and understands the value of the human resources it uses to earn a profit.
Your business will evolve.
It won’t happen immediately (evolution is a long process, after all), but at some point down the road your business will look much different than it did when you started. This isn’t something to fear. Generally, your employees and customers will play a significant role in shaping the evolution of your company, and it’s almost always for the good. Talk to them, measure their behavior, get a sense of how they’re using your product, and what they want to see.
Of course, every business is unique, and the only thing predictable about running a business is unpredictability. There’s no doubt this can be scary. But by being adaptable, assembling a great team, building a positive business culture, and embracing feedback, you’ll be doing everything possible to prepare for the unexpected and build a successful business.