Running a startup is an experience unique to every business. There is no preset formula to avoid setbacks and failures.
But there are universal lessons we can learn to make the process less challenging. Here are four such lessons every startup must know.
1. Not Every Customer is Right for Your Business.
Customer-centric organizations tend to perform 3 times better than their rivals. But that does not mean you should compromise on your business values to accommodate them.
Contrary to the saying “customer is always right,” some customers are simply wrong for your business. If they don’t fall into your target market, they are not worth spending time on.
In a popular example, a customer of Southwest Airlines incessantly complained about their services, including the absence of first class section and employee uniforms. When the complaints were forwarded to Southwest CEO, his immediate response read; “Dear Mrs. Crabapple, we will miss you. Love, Herb.”
2. Time is Money. Invest Wisely.
Time is the only asset in your business that cannot be bought back. Knowing how much every hour of your time is worth and investing it wisely from early on is key.
Good time management skills will also aid you in hiring the right talent, right when you need it. Always compare the cost of outsourcing a task or hiring new talent to the value of time it will save you.
Even authors who run their own businesses and promotional activities can consider hiring a personal assistant. You’ll be amazed by the amount of time it will free up for you.
3. Build a Strong Personal Brand Alongside your Corporate Brand.
A strong personal brand will exist beyond your current business, and continue to add value to your corporate brand. When customers know the face behind the products they buy, they are more likely to trust your company and buy from you.
It also adds credibility to your products when they are new to the market and helps to build brand awareness. Think Elon Musk. Think Richard Branson. Think Gary Vaynerchuck. They are all accomplished founders who have strong personal brands that add immense value to anything they start from scratch.
4. Hire People who are Smarter than You.
As founders, it may sound intimidating to hire people who know more than you do. But doing so is a sign of a startup that is bound to succeed.
Don’t shy away from smart people. You don’t have to appear smarter than they are, nor should you know the answer to everything. Focus only on what you are good at, and let others handle the rest for you.
Steve Jobs said it best;
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
Shafeeka Hafeez grew up escaping into a world of books where she discovered a love for writing and a fascination with trees. When she’s not taking up a new marketing skill, or typing out a blog post, you can find her Googling the best therapy for abandoned cats.
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