June 16, 2015
As the saying goes, you can’t expect to succeed without failing first. This is especially true if you are an entrepreneur who has embarked on the rollercoaster that is starting your own business.
While you do need to possess a certain level of passion and a dreamer’s vision to start your own business, there is no doubt that there are a few practical and strategic details that need to be considered, as well.
The truth is this: the majority of startups don’t succeed – 80% fail, to be exact. In fact, and according to Forbes, 8 out of 10 startups will crash and burn in as little as 18 months or less! What’s more is that any start up that successfully makes it to their 10-year anniversary is the exception, and not the rule.
Although it might seem as though the odds are stacked against you and your entrepreneurial dreams, there are a few proven tips that can help see you and your startup through the first 18 months, and beyond.
Office space should be based on needs, not wants
One of the most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when starting their own business is that they select their office space based on what they want and not what they need.
We get it; you’ve always dreamed of being your own boss, not having to answer to anyone and, of course, getting to have your own corner office with the big view. Well, we hate to rain on your parade but it’s time to burst that irrational bubble – if you want your business to survive that is.
Spending $1,200/month on an unnecessarily large or lavish office is one of the quickest ways to blow through what little money you have, and will undoubtedly need.
When it comes down to it, spending as little as possible and delaying gratification for as long as you can, are some of the tactics that separate successful startups from the ones that go belly-up. And, if that means that you have to work out of your parent’s basement for the first few years until your business becomes profitable then that’s what you need to do. Whoever told you that starting your own business was glamorous or easy lied to you. Sorry.
If hiding out in your parent’s basement is not an option then you can also look to share an office space with someone else. There are actually companies that have dedicated their entire business to helping practical and money-smart folks like you find others in similar circumstances that are looking to share their office space. It’s following advice like this that can make the difference between whether or not your business will sink or swim.
When it comes to your phone service, only pay for what you need
In the beginning, it is vitally important that you tailor your phone system setup to the size of (in this case, small) and absolute necessities for your business. Traditional PBX systems / a private branch exchange will bring more costs than what it’s worth. There is no logical reason for paying for more than what you need or will use, especially in the crucial beginning stages of your startup’s life. Not to worry, though, there are other options for small businesses such as hosted PBX services with VoIP options that can be tailored to your small-scale business needs.
One of the main bonuses to using a service like this is that you will save a ton of money, not only on the features themselves but also upfront costs – they are exceptionally low. For instance, with VoIP, you can forgo the purchase and maintenance costs of traditional business phone setups and can use your employees’ personal cell phones instead. With VoIP, your phone setup can grow with your business and you only have to pay for what you use. Additionally, you can customize your service with an array of preferences like:
- Voice combined with screen sharing
- Call recording
- Voicemail transcribed as email
- Video calling
- Auto attendant
Overall, hosted PBX services with VoIP are an ideal option for small, startup businesses.
Don’t forget: business is about money, not friendship
In case you didn’t already know, business is, first and foremost, about making money. It might seem silly that we are even pointing this out, but you would be surprised how many startups don’t have a business plan that actually involves making money.
Collecting money from investors, making friends, or doing things for free is not a business plan. The one question that you need to ask yourself that will help you derive an effective business plan is: what do I / we have to do to bring in money? That is literally all you need to worry about. If you don’t have a viable strategy for getting people to give you money for a product or service then you don’t have a business. In fact, you don’t even have a job; what you’ve got is a hobby.
Although the path to startup success can be bumpy and might seem bleak, you can still prepare and set yourself up for success by ensuring you utilize the tips above. That knowledge, alone, already sets you apart from the rest.
Now go out there and kick some startup butt! Good luck!
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