Increase your odds of launching a successful business by keeping in mind these three critical points that all entrepreneurs should be aware of.
Getting ready to launch a startup is like getting in line for a roller coaster. Despite seeing people go through the whole ride ahead of you, you still get excited to step up and take your turn. You’ve already watched how it will take twists and turns; climbs high and plummets low before it finally rolls to a stop. Now you’ve finally built up the nerve to go through the whole experience yourself. The trouble is, unlike roller coasters, nearly half of all businesses fail within the first 5 years of operation. So you have to ask yourself… would you still have the nerve to buckle up if you knew that only 1 out of every 2 people successfully made it off that ride?
Many entrepreneurs and business owners out there are aware of these odds and go for broke anyway. They believe they can beat the odds, or that they have something unique that makes their business different. Of course, some do manage to make it, while others at least survive the experience and take away valuable lessons that help them become successful in the future.
The question is, what do YOU need to do as a startup to survive your first five years? To help answer that, we have put together some helpful tips that startups can use to become a success and not a statistic.
1. Avoid Hiring Employees
This might sound controversial at first. However, the reality is many startups should not hire employees right out of the gate for two main reasons:
- A startup’s owner should first learn every aspect of a position and clearly define it before hiring.
- Keeping overhead low for as long as possible while building your business is critical for creating the infrastructure required to sustain employees and future growth.
If you incur heavy overhead costs because you wanted to create jobs before you had the cash flow to support them, you could be digging your business an early grave. Instead of hiring employees, consider using more affordable options like professional services. For example, you can use phone answering services that connect your callers with live virtual receptionists 24 hours a day. Having a resource like this at a flexible, pay-for-what-you-use rate can give you the running head start you need to get your business operating like a well-oiled machine. With you able to focus on building and selling instead of answering, you could be generating the revenue you need to hire key internal roles in no time.
2. Make Project Management A Priority
Running a small business means you are juggling a variety of tasks with competing deadlines from multiple projects. If you don’t figure out a way to put it all into perspective, you could be setting yourself up to have it all come crashing down. To avoid this, consider getting yourself set up on a project management tool that works for you. There are a ton out there that are inexpensive, and some that are even free. You may even manage to be successful going old-school by putting together your projects in an excel spreadsheet. The trick is, whatever your process is for managing your tasks, deadlines and projects – you have to stick to it. As soon as you start to stray away, you put all of your efforts into organizing your projects at risk.
3. Be As Adaptable As Possible
The key to weathering storms when you are a young startup is to remain flexible and adapt to change. You are going to face hard times. Some difficulties may be due to not setting up your business properly. Others may be entirely outside of your control like hits to your industry or the entire economy. If you are deliberate with how you structure your business, you can increase your odds of surviving these changes and possibly even thrive because of them while your competition suffers due to their own sluggish infrastructure.
The odds may only be 50/50 as to whether your startup will survive a 5 year roller coaster ride, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do about it. Travel light, plan carefully, and expect a bumpy ride. Who knows? You could have so much fun with the success of this ride that you decide to keep going or even get on another one.