During an economic downturn, more people turn to methods outside of the 9-to-5 wage job to secure employment. Founding a startup business is an intimidating task, but you’re joining the ranks of 6.79 million (latest numbers from 2010) other small businesses, according to the Huffington Post. A full 18 percent of these entrepreneurs went from being let go from their previous positions to taking the time to found their own business.
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Many factors go into a successful business, such as having a solid business plan, providing products or services your demographic needs and well, plain luck. Following in the footsteps of successful entrepreneurs might not guarantee you success, but it does help you learn from the mistakes of established businesses. Here are six pieces of startup business advice to get you going.
1. Develop Financial Discipline
Business Insider talked with the president of GameXChange, Chris Runyan. He stresses the importance of making sound financial decisions to avoid financial stress when establishing your business. Cash flow is the lifeblood of a startup business, so keeping that healthy is essential to keeping everything else in place. Business credit does take some time to get established, but good personal credit allows you to give a personal guarantee for a small business credit card at American Express, your bank, or another credit card issuer.
2. Focus on Customer Relationship Management
It’s easier to retain your current customers than it is to entice a new customer into the fold. Information technology company 7Delta’s president Mike Sawyers recommends handling your customers in a respectful manner and being on top of serving their needs. Not only do you build up customer loyalty with that particular customer, but word of mouth and social media advertising grows as a result.
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3. Skill Diversity Among Partners
You might be surrounded by software engineers, lawyers or scientists when you decide to start your business. But you don’t want to partner exclusively with people who share your exact same skill set. Objectif Lune’s CEO Didier Gombert recommends finding partners to complement a skill set instead of duplicating it.
4. Keep your Focus
All businesses start out with a specific idea, but it’s easy to lose sight of that goal once you’re running your business in the real world. Instead of letting your attention turn to the latest, greatest technology, WPCG’s CEO Feras Elkhalil says to focus on your core business vision, and be the best you can at it.
5. Stick with Professional Co-founders
It’s tempting to start a business with your best friends. After all, there’s nothing like involving your closest relationships in something near and dear to your heart. However, business stress, clashes in management style and other interpersonal conflicts can easily spell the end to friendships. Jack Ma, a famous Chinese entrepreneur, recommends making good friends with the professionals that you’ve partnered up with, if possible. You just don’t want to start out that way, due to the risk of fallout.
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6. Don’t Forget to Market
Marketing might not be your forte, a good level of appropriate self-promotion is essential for developing your business. If no one knows about your products, they aren’t going to find you blindly looking through the Internet. Talk up your products and services whenever appropriate so people know what you have to offer.
Lauren Rose is a business writer from Sioux Falls, SD. She received her MBA from University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business. She is the mother of 3 and would like to someday open up her own small business. But she must wait for her three little girls to go to college before she can start that adventure
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