October 16, 2017
Steve Jobs once said, “Apple still operates like a startup.”
He meant that you don’t need a large staff when it comes to your creative team. You just need one person that’s in charge of different aspects of your business who can do one thing extraordinarily well.
Whatever Apple did, it succeeded many times over as is evident from the endless parade of cutting-edge and innovative products that continue to amaze and please the world even six years after its founder’s death.
How to Start a Startup
Okay, the wording is a bit redundant, but you get what we mean! A startup requires a lot of organization and thought, as well as a creative business plan that will allow you to grow your idea from a concept to a marketable product or service that will catch the eye of your target audience.
It’s hard to be great at creativity while also being organized. I’ve found that you need to separate these two concepts to get it together. Why? The skill of organization is a very left-brain, logical function while creativity is a right-brain, creative task.
It’s best to be creative first and organize later. The sloppy, messy system that you have to work through to find some order is not a beautiful sight. Clutter overwhelms many creative people including myself as I try to wade through all of the miles of legal pads, shredded pages, highlighters, and list of projects. But you have to be messy to find your true north. So be messy, brainstorm, have fun with your ideas. Then weed your garden. Because to operate as a business, you have to find some system of organization. With this in mind, here are some actionable startup tips and plans of action to consider when attempting to grow and scale out your new company.
Your Business Plan
To create a business plan, you need to set priorities. Make a list of around ten different goals that you have for your business over the next few years. Then focus all of your directions, plans, and strategies around those major ideas. Always have a plan but be flexible to change. The market, your customers, the internet, and even technology will always change, so you need to be ready to make adjustments where necessary to meet the changing needs.
- Content Creation – At the core of every business on the internet today must be high-quality content that provides value and also has a monetization plan in place. Without both of these components, there will simply just be wasted time and resources on content that eventually gets lost in the crowd.
- Social Media – With more than a two billion users spread across all of the major social networks, it’s important to make sure you utilize each of these networks in the best way possible. Right now many content-based brands are finding massive success with focusing efforts on their Instagram growth, as more users are relying on their mobile devices to access the internet and use videos and images to communicate with their friends.
- Monetization – As mentioned in the ‘content creation’ point, the monetization method for which your business or startup generates revenue is key. Without a solid business plan and money coming into the business, it’s not really a business at all. Once a solid monetization plan is in place, it will then be easier to pour additional funding and resources into your advertising and outreach process.
The Four Hour Week
In Tim Ferris’s book, The Four Hour Work Week, he proposes an idea that gives entrepreneurs hope that they can only work four hours per week and still make a fortune. While this seems like an unreasonable idea at first, if you hear the entire book, you’ll see that Ferris’s key to this panacea of entrepreneurial glee is outsourcing.
If you outsource many of the smaller tasks to independent contractors, you can free up hours of time that you would not ordinarily have otherwise. Of course, you must always monitor these functions to make sure they are done properly. But with some skill, you can learn to find those quality people who will help you with specific but simple tasks to free up more time for more important things.
The Benefits of Automation
Like outsourcing, learning to automate many of the more mundane less creative tasks through machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other tools, you can free up more time. A startup needs time to grow. By assigning specific tasks to automation such as your payment systems, email responders, and shopping tools, you’ll be able to run your business while you sleep. This leads to passive income. The faster you can set up your “cash cows” for automatic, passive income, the faster you will reach your financial goals.
With these methods in place, it will be much easier and more effective for your startup to grow and scale while focusing its efforts on areas that matter most.
Count Your Money
For startups, it’s all about the money at first. That’s because if it’s not, you won’t make it. There’s no way around it. You must know how much money is coming in and going out to maintain your business and financial status. If you fall behind with your revenue early in the game, there’s no need to plan for a second half.
Starting a business is not easy. If it were, everyone would do it. But little by little, you’ll build your dream, launch your ship, and sail out into the beautiful but unpredictable world of entrepreneurship. Every big and ridiculously wealthy company like Apple, Disney, or Lay’s Potato Chips was once a startup.
So start up your startup and keep looking forward. Onward and upward!
Read more tips on entrepreneurship on TechCo
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