I haven’t been in business that long, 3 years to be exact. But in these last 3 years I have learnt something very valuable and that is how to make a business successful. It hasn’t been easy and its still early days however I have learnt a lot of things from my very business savvy business partner Megan and from some key people around me who have offered advice and knowledge along the way to get Gloss where we are today. So why do most start-up businesses fail (85% of them to be exact)? Here are my top 5 reasons;
No Market Research. Ok, we have all been there, in the shower, washing our hair and then suddenly this great idea for a business pops into your head and BOOM…you get on Facebook and create a business page all while planning how you will spend your millions when it takes off…cos’ why wouldn’t it? Right! With any business idea – do your research! Has it been done, who are your competitors, what is your POD (point of difference) and most importantly – is there an actual need for this product or service within it’s target market.
No Plan. You need to know what you’re doing, how you will do it and when it needs to be done by. A Business Plan creates structure and framework outlining your goals and objectives – it gives you purpose and a reference point to make sure you keep on track. Without one you are running blind through what will be an up hill battle to make your business work.
No Budget. Every new business needs a budget. If you want people to invest in your business then you need to as well. Set a budget for what you need to get yourself into a position that is ready to enter the market. If you need to borrow money, don’t be afraid to do so. Remember you need to have funding to not only produce your product or deliver your service but to be able to market it as well.
Grew to quickly. One minute your counting the dollars left in your bank account and next minute your seeing orders placed left right and center or new customers signing up one after the other and suddenly it seems like everything has fallen into place. Finally, your business has made it, so you hire staff to help you, or you take on another line of product because you can suddenly afford it. And then it comes crashing down, you lose a client, you stop getting orders and suddenly you can’t afford to keep the business running. We’ve all been there. My advice, take it slow and celebrate your wins by doing exactly what it is you were doing in the first place – working. Don’t stop, don’t get complacent, don’t let your imagination take you on a journey to growing the business just yet – remember your business is young and needs time to mature.
No delegation. You can’t be the expert at everything and it’s important to identify at the start what your strengths and weaknesses are. You might be great at doing what you do but terrible when it comes to accounts and book keeping – so why do it. Outsource the work that you absolutely don’t need to do so you can spend more time working on what it is you’re good at. Work out your hourly rate and ask yourself if it’s worth spending the time and money to do a job that someone who is more experienced could do in half the time? Whilst you still need to do as much as you can yourself when it’s your own business, there are still certain tasks such as accounting, marketing or purchasing software that you might actually need to outsource to grow your business. This is why that budget is important!
Starting a business is fun but certainly not easy. Be prepared to work hard, work long hours but feel very accomplished and proud as you see it grow and develop.