August 9, 2014
Nowadays, sitting in a crowded room at a tech conference, when the speaker asks, “Who in here has a startup?” All hands go up. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and starting a business is nothing – starting a successful business is hard work. Here are 10 tips to help you weave through the many challenges you will face along this windy path we like to call entrepreneurship.
Take HR Seriously
Recruiting the right people can make or break your company. Be diligent in the selection process; habitual turnovers can be time consuming, involve a great deal of legal work and damper the reputation of the company’s work culture.
The Customer is Not Always Right
And neither are you, but in theory, the customer (client) is your boss. Client feedback is one of the most valuable pieces of information you can collect for both account management and general analysis of quality of work. Keep in mind that you were hired for a reason and don’t hesitate to offer your professional opinion when it comes down to decision-making. Aim to lead your client in the right direction.
It’s Never Done
The telltale story of entrepreneurship – we can’t help but want to get our hands in as many cookie jars as possible. One thing to keep in mind is to streamline one project at a time to make sure that your efforts are focused and progressive. Also, know when to hire out. Your work capacity will get maxed out at some point, so recognize it and not forget to take a break when you need to.
Culture, Opportunity and Vision Beat Pay
Attract great talent with your vision and the opportunity ahead. Keep in mind it’s hard to recruit someone smarter than you, more experienced, or with multiple offers on the table without an unflappable conviction of purpose.
Marketing/Biz Dev is Everyone’s Job
Clients can sense when your team is sold on the company vision. Business Development and underlining the culture from the get-go is equally important. How do you want your business to run? What are you willing to bend or break? Reassert your value to your clients often. It’s much easier to keep a customer than get a new one.
Good Cop/Bad Cop
Set expectations by doing simple acts of encouragements or giving constructive criticism in real-time. Be transparent by letting your colleagues know where he or she stands, whether it’s good, bad or otherwise. Conduct quarterly reviews to discuss where your team member stands on a personal level and professionally.
Find Mentors and Confidants
As a leader you should remain cool and collected, but never miss the opportunity to learn something from anyone you meet. Gaining professional advice from an outside perspective can also be useful, especially from someone in the same industry that may have had a similar experience or conflict. The growth phase is never complete, and an entrepreneur and skill development is ongoing.
Get your mind right! A healthy lifestyle is interconnected and just as equally important as your professional life. Avoid bargaining with yourself about being great in one area over another. Taking care of you first, rather it be health, fitness, personal relationships will make you that much stronger when it’s time to go to work!
Plan, Schedule, Set Goals and Celebrate
Organize your plan of attack. Set realistic benchmarks and meet your own deadlines. Challenges are unavoidable. When you hit a road bump, restrategize, rinse and repeat so you can continue moving forward. Detach yourself from all the little distractions. Celebrate when there is something worth celebrating to keep your eye on the prize.
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