The most valuable start-up advice and help you'll need
Updated: Jul 18
You don't have to risk it all when starting a business; taking time to research before you dive in can significantly reduce your risks. Here's 9 tips to help you build your new enterprise with confidence.
Starting a business can feel daunting, I've been there! It's also exciting and empowering once you begin to receive validation for your ideas, but you can't help but wonder if there are some secrets to success that others aren't sharing. So, here's nine tips for you to keep in your back pocket while you're on your journey to entrepreneurial success.
1. Understanding Your Mindset
Your mindset and confidence matters. The ability to be open-minded, objective and flexible can help you to change direction when required. There are many ways to achieve your business vision, so be prepared to step away from defending ideas that may not work.
Your confidence can help or hinder your business idea. While over-confidence could see you launching full steam ahead without due preparation; a lack of confidence can prevent you from taking those first steps. With the right amount of preparation, any doubts on success will fade.
2. Finding Problems to Solve
Solving everyday problems, or significant global issues, are common traits of successful businesses such as Airbnb, Toms and Facebook. There are so many problems out there to be resolved locally, nationally and internationally.
Savvy consumers like to know their purchases are helping others around the world or making a difference to their local communities. Finding a purpose that helps solve problems or consumer pain points is always a solid foundation on which to build your business.
Decide which problem you think you can help solve, and ask yourself how your skills and expertise can get your idea off the ground. You may not have all of the knowledge, but you can undoubtedly inspire those that do to work with you.
3. Establishing your market
Establishing who your products and services are for will help you to avoid marketing to everyone and appealing to no-one. Once you know your market segment, you can find the early adopters of your idea and build from there.
Being realistic about how many people you can help or the number of products you can produce in the first year is crucial. Most successful businesses start small and scale-up when their finances and resources can support the growth. Becoming too big too soon can bring a wealth of problems in its wake, especially if your foundations are not robust enough to take the strain.
4. Going Outside and Talking to People
The value of researching your potential market is priceless; it's often the difference between your idea becoming a success or a failure. It can be intimidating going out and talking to people but if you approach it in the right way it can become a meaningful conversation that guides, inspires and validates your idea.
Asking people if they like your idea is a big no-no; they'll likely tell you it's a great idea for fear of hurting your feelings which is a lost opportunity for genuine feedback.
The most beneficial approach is to establish whether your target market experience your identified problem, whether they already have solutions and if they're happy with them. This type of information will help you move forward with confidence.
5. Understanding your competitors
Finding competitors anywhere in the world is positive news, you know your chosen problem exists, and others are trying to solve it. Breaking new ground can be tough going for business, and entirely new ideas are uncommon. It's highly likely you'll find something similar with a simple online search.
Researching your competitors, finding out what they do well and discovering any gaps in the market will help you to determine the features that make your business unique. You never know your overseas competitors could be your new neighbours one day, so you'll want to stand out!
6. Minimising Your Risk
Why start with a 100-seater restaurant and 50 staff when you can start with a pop-up stall or a food truck to test your idea. Starting small lowers your risks and keeps your business agile for quick changes. Once your business is up and running, you can scale up your offerings to meet the growing demand.
All businesses are different so what works for one, may not be suitable for another. Decide what your business needs, is it a website, physical space, an app, product or something entirely different?
7. Considering your finances
Understanding your finances can avoid financial heartache further down the track. Making sure your pricing covers your costs at the very minimum is crucial; even a not-for-profit needs to cover its costs to be sustainable long-term.
When thinking about your costs ask yourself honestly what expenses you will incur running your business. Do you need a team of people or can you go it alone at the start? How will you market your business? What professional advice do you need? Do you need a website? Will you incur manufacturing costs for your products?
You may find you have a financial shortfall providing you with an excellent opportunity to put your idea in front of potential investors using a pitch deck.
8. Preparing Your Pitch Deck
A great way to clarify your thinking and your business model is to prepare a pitch deck. Pitch decks are high-level presentations designed to persuade investors that your idea will work and they'd be crazy not to invest in your idea.
Less is more when it comes to preparing your pitch deck. You'll need a visual presentation containing a succinct overview of your idea, a run through of your customer journey and an outline of your finances, team and market segments. If you're not sure how to put one together, Tara Burke PR can help you.
9. Loving the feedback
The sooner you start talking to people and testing your products or services the sooner you can get the feedback you need to improve. It's never too early or too late to start making changes based on feedback.
We all fear negative feedback which can stop you from asking. If people care enough to tell you that's a good sign. You can't please everyone, but comments can guide your thinking and help you make adjustments where appropriate. Sometimes your service is just not for them and that's fine.
Certainty in business is rare. The best you can do is reduce the level of risk you expose yourself to by being clear about why you are starting your enterprise and its purpose. Talk to people, be prepared to make changes and seek advice when you need it. There is no shame in asking at any stage of your journey, we're all constantly learning and improving.
Tara Burke PR is always here to help you, whether it's an hour to talk through an idea for clarity, seeking advice on what to do next or working on a communication project you have in mind. Head over to our services and let us know how we can help.
Already run a business? I'd love to hear about the most valuable advice you received when starting your business in the comments below.