Maybe startups are more likely to deal with extra mistakes, but exactly who can blame them? They’re just getting started and learning as they go, and they’re almost certainly trying their best to get their business off the ground and put food on the table.
Luckily, startups don’t always have to feel like they’re on their own anymore. Some people with extra experience can help these new business owners avoid mistakes because they’ve made those mistakes for them. By learning from past mistakes, you can really turn everything around.
While it may seem like it’s second nature for new business owners to research everything with the increase of available resources on the internet, things can tend to get a bit hectic. That can mean that instead of making the best decision on your computers for the office, you wind up with something extremely subpar for your business needs.
That’s why, according to Meredith Kokos, it’s important to always do at least some research.
Kokos is the Head of Marketing for Guaranteed Rate, and she prides herself in “always doing research as the very first step… for every little thing. And even if I don’t have time to pick the best couch or the best new laptop, I make sure that I get someone on the job who knows better than I do.”
It’s important to know that, in the business world, good products alone won’t bring customers back. That tends to only work for the companies that already have big names and reputations preceding them.
That’s why Hector Gutierrez, the CEO of JOI, always aims to put customer satisfaction first on his list of priorities.
“When you’re a business, everything matters,” says Gutierrez. “Your message matters. The product matters… and that’s all because your customers are going to notice if something is off. There’s no business without customers, period.”
This seems to be true because customers are constantly deciding what they value when they purchase something new. If one business covering its niche doesn’t meet customer standards, another one that’s better might swoop in and take its place.
When you’re just starting out, it’s easy to believe that you have to take care of every aspect of the business all by yourself. Or, even if you aren’t all by yourself, it’s easy to want to keep your company small.
However, according to Nirav Sheth, the CEO of Anatta, it’s important to make sure that everything is done as expertly as possible. “Anatta is really focused on marketing, and we really focus on making our marketing as clean and straightforward as possible,” the CEO states. “But we don’t know everything.”
This is also interestingly iterated by Reid Hoffman, an Internet Entrepreneur who claims, “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” Not only does this mean you can do more work, but that you can have multiple people with different sorts of expertise working together to make your business its best.
That makes some sense. If marketing isn’t your strength, hire a fractional vp marketing or fractional CMO to get expert-level strategy on how to build your startup business. If you don’t know how to do interior design, it might be helpful to hire someone else to do the interior design of your offices. That should especially be the case if it’s something that feels vitally important to you.
When you’re just starting up your business, it can be difficult to remember where all of your money is coming from and going out. Did you get a business loan? Did friends and family fundraise money to get you started? How much of this money came from your own savings?
“Track every cent that you can. Your money is vitally important, and if revenue starts… going down, that means something needs to change,” says Loic Claveau, the CMO of TakeUs!. “If you don’t know how much you’ve spent or how much you’ve gained, you’re in for a bit of a nightmare.”
While it’s definitely key to make sure your numbers are coming out as accurately as possible to help with your strategies, it also seems just as important for when tax season comes around.
It can be easy to put together a business with simple goals of selling products and making profit, but those goals are not always easily met. These goals can be even harder to meet if you don’t make your goals and intentions clear from the onset.
“Always have a key takeaway in your mission statement. Always make your mission extraordinarily clear to your employees and your customers… both,” says Gia Marie Jurosky, the Director of Communications at RoseSkinCo.
Jurosky also pushed on making sure that you have a positive statement that your customers can really connect to. By connecting with your customers, and making them feel like you understand them and their morals on a more personal level, you’re only setting yourself up for success.
And the CEO of Furnishr, Michael Van, seems to agree with this idea. More specifically, he thinks this mission statement and connection to customers should both be fulfilled partially by taking up a specific niche.
“Make sure that you’re doing something that… no one else is doing it. By doing that, you make sure that your service is unique and special in what it offers.” Van furthers this statement by discussing how much customers can value these sorts of specifics.
This can be different for every startup and small business, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take this tip seriously. Take a moment to consider what you want to accomplish over the next year or two, how you’d like to stay on top of your game, and maybe even how you’d like to maintain relevance.
“Kokolu is really focused on sustainability. Luckily, that’s trending right now because people are worried about the state of the world and… their own futures,” explains Gigi Ji, the Head of Brand and Business Development at Kokolu. “But staying on top of the trends that line up with your morals… you wouldn’t believe the amount of support you can get by doing that.”
Another way that this can be considered is in the words of an American Marketing Specialist, Guy Kawasaki. He declares that “Great companies start because the founders want to change the world, not make a fast buck.”
It sounds like the focus should be on making the future a better place, rather than on monetary success.
Who doesn’t like to save a little time? And wouldn’t it be nice to teach that new member you’re onboarding without having to stumble over the same explanations again and again?
Boye Fajinmi and Francis Pollara, the respective Co-Founder & President and Co-Founder & Head of Product and Growth of TheFutureParty really value this in their line of work: “Focus on saving as much time as you can… Make sure that you’re doing everything in a way that really allows you to put in the work only where it matters.”
It sounds like, if you can write down the processes and figure out a handy manual for down the line, it might be worth looking into.
A lot of this information isn’t necessarily obvious to everyone, and it can be greatly beneficial to learn from the mistakes that others have already made in the past.
Ultimately, it’s important to make sure that you have the willpower and the strong ideas that you need to succeed. And while things like tracking money can be extremely helpful in terms of tracking your growth, it shouldn’t be the only thing that you focus on.