Believe it or not, when you decide to leave your 9-to-5 job to start your own company, you’re bound to make a few newbie screw-ups along the way. Some are minor blunders you can easily patch up and learn valuable lessons from. But for many successful business owners, there are a few mistakes that, when prevented, could have made your journey smoother and less stressful.
In this blog, Linh Podetti, founder of Outsourcing Angel, a company that specialises in recruiting overseas Virtual Assistants (VA), shares five things she wished she knew before starting her company.
1. Choose a niche.
Most startup businesses have a great vision of where they want to be. “I want to offer this many services” or “This product/service will have so many features.” It’s easy to say “Yes! Yes” to every client in hopes of turning a profit. So you try to meet every client’s needs and introduce different products or services. But you will only end up getting burned out. Linh’s advice is to focus on a niche. Find the one problem you want to solve, focus on that, and do it well and differently from your competitors so people will come to you.
2. Keep them buying.
If you have a one-time product or service, you might need to be always selling in order to keep up with your business expenses. “For many years, I was stressed out trying to get clients because I was selling a fixed price service,” Linh says. “So now, it’s all about recurring.” You have to set up your business with the goal of producing recurring revenue over the lifetime of our client.
3. Partner to your weaknesses.
Admit it. No matter how awesome you think you are, there are things you’re not good at—and that’s alright! The key is to partner with people who are good at those things. Find people who want to grow and who can complement your skills so you can focus on your element. Working with the right partners will also make business more fun.
4. Hire great people.
Startup entrepreneurs have the mindset that they have to do everything on their own. But this is just bad business. According to Linh, there’s a difference between being self-employed and being a business owner. The goal is to be a legitimate business owner and set up your business in a way that it can run without you. The key is to hire a capable team, break down your business processes and train your staff to handle critical areas of your business.
5. Set the right expectations
It’s easy to get carried away with your ambitions as a startup business owner. Linh says you should not be in a rush and focus on the journey. “Spend time learning, getting better at your craft, just taking your time to do your job and give great service to clients.”
The road to a successful business is full of bumps, roadblocks and detours. But know that every journey is different. Your business’ success relies on the decisions you make and the attitudes you hold. So stay optimistic and just take the plunge!
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