Entrepreneurs’ top tips for starting a business

Every business is different, and unfortunately there is no magic blueprint that you can follow to the letter that will guarantee your success when you start a business. However, you can take the experience of other entrepreneurs who have been there and done that. In this blog, we will pass onto you the top tips for aspiring entrepreneurs from those who have made ‘The Leap’; and are on that entrepreneurial journey as we speak…

Unique doesn’t mean good

When formulating that perfect business idea, many of you will dismiss perfectly good ideas simply because they are not original or unique enough, when in actual fact this doesn’t have to be the case, as acclaimed entrepreneur James Caan will attest: “Your idea does not have to be ‘unique’. You don’t have to change the world. The most successful business ideas are often simple, ingenious tweaks on an existing way of doing business, but delivering it faster, better, cheaper or more easily. You need to find your compelling selling point.”

Always think “what does my customer want to buy?”

Many new entrepreneurs start-up because they want to sell a very specific product – but just because you like it doesn’t mean other people will too. A lot of the time, unless your product is truly ingenious, there is probably a good reason why it isn’t already on the market. Serial entrepreneur Brad Sugars continues:

“Instead of creating and selling a new sports shoe with the latest trendy design and materials, you’d be much better off from a business perspective to focus on shoe category generally (a proven category because people buy shoes every day) and then focus more specifically on the niche of high performance sports shoes, (which you may even sell in a section of a shoe retail outlet). Better to have a small slice of a large category than a large slice of no market at all.”

Know what you know

It is impossible to know absolutely everything about everything, so if you try to give off the impression that you do, you are unlikely to be taken seriously. Entrepreneur.com’s Young Entrepreneur columnist Scott Gerber offers his advice: “Surround yourself with advisors and mentors who will nurture you to become a better leader and businessman. Find successful, knowledgeable individuals with whom you share common interests and mutual business goals that see value in working with you for the long-term.”

Do everything you can to build relationships

When starting out with your own venture, it is important to make as many friends as you can who can help you make your business a success. All of the most successful businesses have had a helping hand along the way, so Danielle Nicole DiFerdinando believes that you need to do all you can to show how grateful you are: “Always respect the time and generosity of those who help you along the way; even something as small as a ‘thank you’ note or gift can go far in showing your gratitude.”

Make everyone feel special

When you start a business, it is taken for granted that you are going to be very busy – so try to make sure that your correspondence isn’t littered with phrases such as “sorry I have been so swamped” and “you won’t believe how busy I’ve been”. Obviously this is more than likely the case, but it is important to make everyone you come into contact with feel special. Katie Shea and Susie Leveitt, co-founders of Funktional Footwear, believe you should: “Follow up with every person you speak with via phone or email. Always try to think of an introduction or resource that might be useful to them. And never send mass messages! If you have a general announcement, at least change the first paragraph a bit to connect on a more personal level to the recipient.”

Save your money

When you experience your first good times as a start-up, and the money starts to roll in, it can be easy to get carried away and spend your profit on expansion. While obviously it is important to expand and grow your business, make sure you do so when you are good and ready. Sari Gabbay, president at U2R1 Media Inc. believes in the importance of keeping something back for tougher times. She says: “In business there are always ups and downs, and you have to save for a rainy few months. The reality is that you may have a dry spell and that safety net can be the make or break of the livelihood of your company.”

Trusted companies like The Formations Company can help you with the first steps. From naming your business to things to consider when starting a business and actually forming it to be a legal trading entity.