You started your company because you had a great idea and wanted to be your own boss, you felt you could do something better than anyone else, or you had to. You started without enough money, people or time. No one ever said it was easy.
Whether you are in the early stages, just secured funding, or are ready to launch your product, there will be moments when you ask yourself whether being an entrepreneur is worth it. Yet you push past those hurdles and get your company launched. Perseverance is a great thing but staying focused on what counts in the short term, without sacrificing the long term goal, is essential.
“Focus on the importance of forging a long-term relationship whether with colleagues, partners, or customers. It is often easy to get caught up in short-term decisions.”Sheila Lirio Marcelo
Things to focus on:
- Profitable customers. Bringing new customers is vital but retaining your current ones is even more important. Your startup will become profitable based on how many repeat customers you have. Focus on customers who spend a lot. Too often entrepreneurs are busy chasing any business they can get instead of the ‘ideal’ customer or client.
- Cash flow. Do them weekly and for smaller startups do them daily. Work out how much revenue you need to bank every day to make a profit from the start. You can ideally manage your sales and income budgets.
- Productive time. Initially, you need to invest 80% of your day in making money for the business. Selling, marketing, and delivering.
- What’s working and selling. As a startup Founder, it’s easy to focus on everything that doesn’t work but you should be focusing on what the marketplace tells you are working. Stop doing or selling things the market doesn’t want. Be flexible about moving to what works and what makes the most money.
- Customer service. Most importantly you want word-of-mouth. Serve your customers well and make it easy for them to refer their friends. Great service only works when you give to people who appreciate it.
- Hire only the best team members. Do not ever settle for the best of what is available at the time. Always look for someone great. It may cost 10% more but these candidates will be worth their price by helping you to build a successful startup.
- Quality over quantity. Startup Founders fall into the ‘bigger is better’ trap. Smaller quantity and higher quality are better. The higher price equates to a higher profit. The same goes for the number of customers and staff you have.
As a startup stay focused on what delivers revenue, profits, and results right now. Build momentum and get the train going down the track. The first part of your journey is the hardest.