Starting A Business? You Need To Read This! - Pt. 3
Entrepreneurship has become fashionable. The days when the working-class and the upper-class sneered at the man with a small barrow and big dreams are gone.
After the various ‘Apprentice’ and ‘Dragon’ program on the goggle-box, Mr. Pizza-Eater from Tiddle-Pottingdon now respects the Man With A Business Plan.
Here are tips 21 - 30 to help you, dear reader, to be that Man, to go from garden-shed to gilded-washroom glory!
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21. Hire Help!
Don't do it all yourself. It wastes time. A successful businessman realises he needs someone to do the boring, but necessary, chores. Some jobs can be outsourced, some jobs need workers on-site.
22. Source Suppliers
Try to buy 'just in time' and on credit. Don't get stuck with loads of inventory. Find reliable suppliers, which may not necessarily be the cheapest.
At the time of writing there are two delivery companies operating in the UK which are notorious for being unreliable, but, they're popular, because they're cheap. It remains to be seen if their USP (price) will ultimately allow them to prosper.
What is certainly the case is that startups that use them are harming their relationship with their own clients.
23. Register Trademarks And Patents
Most startups aren't inventing a tangible, unusual thing (which could be protected by a patent) but they often want to protect their brand. Competitors will try to horn in on your success if they can. Scratters will cause you bother by pirating everything about your business.
You can register your trademark in the UK at the Intellectual Property Office.
Read: How to register a trademark
Patents are trickier because publishing the details of your invention is part of the patenting process. This means others can copy your work. Certainly, people outside your country will copy your baldness cure and there won't be much you can do about it, unless you have deep pockets.
So, if you can 'black box' your invention, do so i.e. you render it opaque to being taken apart and scrutinised. You don't register it.
The second thing you do thereafter is go big and loud and pro as fast as you can, and become The Brand associated with your invention. Then the plagiarists coming late to the party will be seen as second rate.
You know people. Tell them what you're doing. Don't try to squeeze the juice out of them. See if they can help you and will tell others what you're doing. They might have helpful ideas.
This is much easier if what you're doing is remarkable. People will then naturally tell others. The news will ripple out via social media and bring clients to you.
If your offering isn't remarkable, maybe have another think about what you're doing. If yours is a 'me-too' operation, then you'll have to slog every day to push it, and spend loads on advertising.
Such businesses can still be successful. Many businesses are like that; they have to blow their own horn all the time because no one else is doing it for them.
25. Avoid Partnerships
Hooking up with others sounds nice and cosy but what investors want to see is your company making a fat net profit and taking over the world. Get the customers and make the sales.
26. What Is Your USP / Elevator Pitch?
Can you state what you're selling in 11 words or less?
1. 21st century man is impatient. He skims documents.
2. A complicated or vague idea is a precursor to failure.
Someone with an IQ of 80 can appreciate a cordless vacuum cleaner. If it takes a clever man paying attention to understand your pitch, edit it or drop it entirely.
People won't put money into something The Man On The Clapham Omnibus can't easily understand.
27. Adapt To Circumstance
You'll be getting feedback all the time. Don't ignore it. Adapt your product, survive and prosper!
28. Back up, Harden And Disperse Your IT
If your hard-disk failed today or got stolen or hacked, what would happen? If the answer is "my business would shut down", then start taking preventative measures.
29. Get Sales Help
Sales and marketing become the chief focus of any business and the hardest to recruit for. Admin and maintenance has a much larger pool of talent to draw from and they are not as critical.
Not too many people can persuade someone else to buy something, especially if the client has doubts. Anyone who is good at salesmanship or who has their finger on all the tools to get clients to contact you can usually pick who they want to work for.
Get decent staff in place and keep them sweet. Don't be the shabby boss that harangues his sales team constantly then cheats them out of their commission!
30. Have 5, 10 And 20 Year Plans
Sure, life causes you to change your plans. You adapt, survive and move on. But if you're not planning for the future, you're planning to fail.
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