You have a startup business and are making sufficient profit to continue it without any hiccups. Is that enough? Obviously NO! You will want to bring it to a level where you are running a full-fledged business rather than just “doing what you like.” You will want to become one of the biggest players in the industry.
However, in the run to achieve your goals, you will be faced with many challenges and setbacks. Sleeping, eating, playing, meeting friends, spending time with family will all take a back seat! This phase will probably be the hardest in your entire life as you realize how much you need to learn and struggle more in order to make your startup a success model.
A soothing fact is that all startups are like a chaotic war place in their initial phases. But as your name grows in the market, you’ll need to don all hats – right from a technician, design specialist, operations and finance expert, to business development and marketing experts, and even office boy. You will have employees on whom you can depend for assistance. But the achievers have their own secrets in becoming what they are.
So if you too are looking to grow your startup in the years to come, simply skim through these seven secrets that even Wikipedia wouldn’t tell you.
Secret # 1. Prepare an Elaborate Business Plan
A business plan will clarify your business idea and define your goals. It provides a blueprint for running the business and helps you understand where you are, where you want to be and what challenges you will face to get where you want to be.
According to Entrepreneur.com, business plan is an essential tool that helps you understand how your business is put together. Writing out your business plan clearly sets everything at once: value proposition, marketing strategy, financial plans, staffing plan, your niche market and the purpose of your business. If you want to be taken seriously by banks and investors, a well-written business plan is a must.
Secret # 2. Professional Graphic Designs Add Value
Though its importance is often underestimated, good designs can bring some significant business benefits. Graphic designs can be used in making your business processes more efficient and can be used to strengthen your marketing approach.
For instance, for a Finance firm, a professional finance logo will share your drive and vision. A user-friendly website will allow you to discover your customers’ needs and preferences. And business icons will help you build awareness about your brand.
It’s entirely on you to decide how you want your potential consumers to perceive your brand. Everything that represents your business must exude your brand message and values. And to give your brand the boost it needs, you’ll have to attract sales. This is where professional graphic designs come to your rescue.
Secret # 3. Don’t Land Into Legal Troubles
It is advisable to get a little acquainted with legal mumbo jumbo in order to get your business off the ground. Do not forget to get your company registered with your state’s Secretary of State and get the EIN for your company. Don’t worry, it’s free and you can get it easily at IRS.gov.
Registered your company successfully? Now, the next step is to open a business bank account. But remember to distinguish your personal expenses from your business ones. You cannot afford to take risks at any stage till you have achieved your business goal successfully. It is important to invest in a business insurance too. It will work wonders in case of a mishap.
To save yourself from tax headaches, keep 25-30% of your profits so that you can pay taxes at the end of the financial year. It is absolutely alright if you do not understand how to save tax. Forbes magazine appropriately suggests you to hire a CPA and get advice about how to do the tax planning for your business.
Secret # 4. Invest time in Finding Mentors
A good mentor will help you achieve your goals faster. Be it your friend, ex-boss, or a family member; do well to find a mentor who has done what you are trying to fulfill before, successfully. Not only can a mentor offer valuable advice and suggestions, they can also provide access to valuable contacts and resources that you might not have known about. Once you have a mentor, you can use the free, easy-to-use services that connect startups with volunteer mentors in order to build businesses together.
An article in Forbes notes that many young entrepreneurs struggle to succeed because they don’t really have a good mentor to guide them. In fact, a lot of them fail to recognize the true value of having a good mentor, and it’s a shame as mentoring matters the most in the business world. Always remember a good mentor can bring plenty of changes in your business.
Secret # 5. Carefully Manage Your Cash Flow
It is not wrong when we say that cash flow is the lifeblood of any company. Any company that wants to avoid being the one that fails in their first year, cash flow management is crucial. Draft a payment policy to gain trust of your consumers. This will also help you get paid in a timely fashion for your services/products. Utilize technology and resources around you to keep the operating costs low.
Entrepreneur.com reveals that it’s absolutely vital to set up a stable flow of cash that is, the cash coming as profit over and above all of your expenses. It puts across an image that you are damn serious about your business and are more than capable to manage a smooth inflow and outflow of your company cash. Remember, at the age of 21, Steve Jobs co-founded Apple computers from his parents’ garage. You can create a buzz around your brand by simply using social media marketing strategies to advertise your products/services and connect with prospects and consumers, without paying through your nose.
Secret # 6. Find Sources Of Funding Without Wasting a Minute!
Nobody is waiting to throw money at you just because you have an exciting business idea. Raising funds for your startup is indeed one of the greatest challenges for entrepreneurs. Forget big companies, even the banks are usually reluctant of financing startups without a credit history or a comprehensive career history. However, it won’t be a Herculean task to impress the investors for investing in your business with a well-written business plan and good PR skills.
Here’s a little list of some options for entrepreneurs looking to raise funds to get their business off the ground:
- Crowd funding
- Peer-to-Peer Lending
Entrepreneur.com reveals that the best ways to raise funds for your business is to pull together small amounts in succession rather than trying to get a huge lump of capital when raising money from investors.
Secret # 7. Your Attire is A Big Deal
Many entrepreneurs spend endless hours and days in working on the net, thinking strategies, crowd sourcing funds. But they forget to work on their visual resume for an overall package. The way you dress and present yourself (in a professional manner) in front of an investor. Employee or customers makes a huge difference. After all first impression is the last impression. A casual look often give an impression that your comfort is more important to you than your investors, consumers etc.
Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg, says that people often judge you basis your looks. Also, spell check and limit the usage of abbreviations and slangs when you are communicating through emails with prospective investors, business partners or affiliates. If you’re polite, professional and knowledgeable with your words and looks, your mentors, customers and investors are sure to take you seriously and you’re sure to unleash success in your business endeavors.
So, if you’re thinking of growing your business more, remember that people will not take you seriously until you really put in efforts from your side. So, just remember these 7 secrets and heed them carefully and you’ll surely be able to grow your business and make your investors, affiliates and consumers take your seriously as a visionary, disciplined and successful business owner.