How does the free market differentiate start up companies that end up successful from those that fall flat? It would seem that the base concept of the new company is where either the fault, or the success, lies. But there’s more to start up achievement than that. Of course, your product or service needs to solve a real problem, and/or meet real needs.
But lots of start up concepts do that and still fail. Why? Because leadership is more than just vision; it is the ability to inspire in others your desire to be the best and that starts by setting an example with your attitude, work ethic, and determination.
Your start up is going to succeed mostly by the triumph of your will over the other competitors in the marketplace that were there before your new start up came on the scene. There’s only room for so many gladiators in the supply side arena and you need to battle and make sure that your company is still standing when the dust clears.
Here are some tips and tactics that can help you survive the early start up challenges long enough to establish your brand and thrive in the struggle for today’s expanding market share.
Tip #1: Put the Right Team in Place
This product or service may be your baby, but you’ll need help to get it out there, up and running. You’ve got to surround yourself with experienced experts who understand your vision and fit into the culture and mindset of your company in order to achieve your ultimate goals.
And don’t assume you’ll be able to take your time assembling your team. The good people, the ones that can drive your business as hard as you do, usually aren’t available for very long. Make sure you’re quick on the hiring trigger when the right person’s CV floats across your desk.
Tip #2: Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
Once you get your product off the ground, particularly if it is innovative and popular straightaway, there are going to be copycats. So, what do you do? Try to sue everyone to prevent them from copying you? Or do you immediately develop ancillary products that enhance your original so that you quickly have a whole line of items that are dependent upon and, thus, support each other. Think iPhones and the proprietary peripherals that are only available from Apple.
Expanding your product line to prevent imitation is going to take experimentation in the real world and that means trial measures like producing working prototypes quickly and efficiently. There are companies, like medical prototype manufacturing businesses or product design and development firms that specialize in this sort of on-the-fly, real-world development. Many of these Research and Development outfits will work with your company on a contingency basis, especially if you can offer the developer a share in the manufacturing of that prototype when it eventually goes into production.
Tip #3: Find the Mentors You Need
As your business develops, you are going to want an advisory board to offer advice and guidance to help you navigate the entrepreneurial maze. Don’t be embarrassed or anxious to solicit people to mentor you.
You’re going to be surprised by how many of the giants of the industry are glad to be asked to be on your board, and eager to help guide your new business, just like their own mentors once guided them.
Tip #4: Establish a Business Entity for Your Protection
Contracts and legal paperwork might not be very important to you during the early days of your startup, but operating a business without a business entity in place can put your idea in jeopardy and also your personal assets at risk.
Protect your concept legally and form an LLC so that you don’t risk legal problems later. Talk to an attorney that specializes in creating start up businesses in order to set up your new company as a separate entity in and of itself.
Tip #5: Treat Your Ideas Carefully
One of the hardest parts of having a terrific new idea or concept is not talking about it to everyone you meet. Practice keeping your ideas as close to the vest as possible and not talking about them to anyone who’ll listen. Of course, eventually you will have to tell potential investors about your fantastic new concept in a very vigorous and forceful way. That’s the only way to fundraise and grow the business.
But before you begin presenting your ideas in public, make sure you’ve consulted with an attorney who can help you with non-disclosure agreements and other legal tools that can protect your sensitive information.