One of the most important things to understand about being a startup entrepreneur is that there is no “one size fits all” approach to what you're doing. Everyone's path is different, and you need to find out your own if you want to have any reasonable chance for long-term success.
Having said that, there are a number of qualities that successful startups share — and there are a plethora of best practices that you can and should use to your advantage. Again — nobody can tell you exactly what to do as there is no road map. But by keeping a few critical things in mind, you can increase the chances that your startup will stand the test of time exponentially.
Launching Your Startup the Right Way: An Overview
By far, one of the most important tips that you can use to get your startup off the ground has to do with practicing patience whenever possible. Rome wasn't built in a day, and your successful business won't be, either.
Yes, there are times when progress will move slower than you'd like. You may set a timeframe for yourself to hit certain milestones, and there will be situations where you'll miss them.
Sometimes, they're because of mistakes you've made along the way, while other times they'll be due to factors that are totally outside your control. But while the arc of progress may be slow, it's also nothing if not stable — meaning that if you just remain patient and stay the course, you will soon get the results that you're after.
Another critical tip that can help with your startup efforts involves spending that initial capital not just slowly, but wisely. Many of the entrepreneurs who run into issues try to “spend their way to the top,” as it were. Similar to the point about patience outlined above, they just want to hit each milestone as quickly as they possibly can. Soon, they begin to get careless — almost greedy. They lose sight of the things that really matter and believe too much in the old saying that “you have to spend money to make money.”
Instead, what you should really be doing is investing every dollar available to you into short-term returns. That way, as you begin to generate more income, you can funnel that money back into the business in those areas where it will do the most good. This helps avoid major cashflow issues (another significant pain point for many startups), and it also allows you to grow at a steady and stable rate as well.
But while growth is certainly important, also remember that sometimes you need to focus your actions on the tasks that don't scale, too. If you're a software development company, for example, sometimes, you have to spend time writing code with which you're not necessarily 100% satisfied to get features to customers not in months or weeks, but in days. You can always go back and fix those issues later — never lose sight of the fact that the number one priority involves making sure that your product is always moving along the path you've set out for yourself.
Finally, one of the best ways to make sure that your startup gets off on the right foot involves freeing yourself of the idea that outsourcing is somehow beneath you. You're an entrepreneur, yes. That “can-do” spirit is a large part of what allowed you to enjoy so much success up to this point. But that doesn't mean that you're an expert in everything, and outsourcing can be an ideal way to help fill those gaps in your skill set that currently exist.
If accounting isn't your strong point, for example, don't assume that you can “learn on the fly.”
The stakes are too high to get that one wrong.
In that situation, outsourcing is far more efficient — not to mention more cost-effective — than building an expensive in-house team.