Biggest Lessons Learned During the First Year of a Startup

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Before an entrepreneur considers the idea of plunging into a startup it’s good to do some research and become well aware of the lessons learned by others before them in the business of startup.

Is the problem you are solving via the business a universal one or a personal one?

Most business ventures arise from a problem that a person had and wishes to solve it by themselves. For the success of a startup, the entrepreneur needs to question if that problem is universal and faced by a lot of people or is it faced by only a select few.

In an interview, Kelly Burton the CEO of Bodyology mentioned, that she started the company based on a problem she faced of sweating while wearing professional attire and could not find an undershirt that was sweat resistant. She did research to discover it was a universal problem faced by a lot of women who could not mask their perspiration with deodorants. It was this discovery that inspired her to create a clothing company that employs wicking technology to make clothes that stay odor-free, moisture free and have no sweat stains.

Be open to and make full use of social media

All entrepreneurs must realize that marketing is vital to any business. It is not in any business owner’s best interests to be resistant to social media. It’s best to make full use of social media to blog, employ SEO tools and make use of platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to educate people about the business, increase brand awareness, and promote the brand. 

Enjoy the journey…

As the captain of a startup, an entrepreneur must remember the journey is as important as the destination. Most CEOs like Kelly say it is like riding the tide and it is all about dogging the huge waves and shifting direction to stay afloat. Making headway is important and being spontaneous and trying new things is advisable. So as a captain one must enjoy the journey, the arrival, and every moment in between.  

Make sure to accept feedback from others and also adjust accordingly

Success takes hard work and time. One must know what the customers are looking for and then provide just that.

A simple way to know what the customer is looking for is to ask the customer. Tweet, email, take interviews, testimonials and have a customer service system set up and functional with the purpose of getting feedback. Also having a small panel of advisors who give an external viewpoint is a good idea. Collect feedback from all these sources and constantly incorporate it and improve.

When it comes to building a team try – keep to flexible contracts

Most CEOs like Kelly swear by the power of outsourcing. Even if an entrepreneur is a solo setup and doing everything on their own, one will have to hire employees eventually to answer demands, but budgets can be constraining.

Business owners can outsource by offering flexible contracts to employees or contractors. Try new people for short times periods and, if they work out, keep them or move on. Have open contracts that can be canceled easily so you can move on to the next person soon and start with a clean slate if things don’t work out. This way you can keep it flexible and go on to making good part timers into full timers when you grow.

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