This guest column is authored by Valeriia Timokhina, Editor, Customer Support at Eastern Peak
Did you know that 50% of newly opened business projects fail within the first 5 years? The statistics are depressive and totally disheartening. One shouldn’t give up though. The same statistics say that you are more likely to succeed if you have failed in the past.
Why? Because failures are the best teachers to help you streamline your new startup and boost its efficiency. Which lessons can we take from those left behind so as not to go downhill when your dream has just started to come up?
1. Hire strategically
Your team is just as important as your capital. Do not hire too fast, every member of your startup is a considerate and vigilant decision. Your task is to look behind the CV and general information. Search for technical skills, but pay special attention to personality traits.
Choose people open to new ideas and ready for cooperation. Your starting team has to consist of creators, those who produce and generate new ideas and not just implement the existing ones. Only reliable and trustable people can sustain the pressure of the workflow.
2. Go beyond your limits…and borders
Do not be afraid to outsource what you can. It will significantly expand your skill pool, as you’ll have employees all around the world at your disposal. It will cut down your workload. Without all those necessary but tedious tasks on your shoulders you’ll be able to slow down and concentrate on some more relevant things.
Outsourcing into different time zones can give you some additional support. Someone will be there when you are not available. If you are full of doubts about the hiring and managing a remote team, follow this guide. So you can hire your team, optimize your resources and all this for a reasonable price, perfectly suitable for startups, limited in time and money.
3. Hold your ambitions
We know exactly how hard it can be to obtain your first customers. Oftentimes entrepreneurs choose a shortcut trying to cover wider audiences by means of expanding the product/services list. In reality, they fail so very soon by doing it.
Our advice is to specialize. First conduct a research, determine the market needs, analyze your predecessors’ efforts, learn from their mistakes. Your product has to be essential, if not vital.
Choose one direction, one target niche, maybe narrow at first, but surely yours. Be the best in what you do. For every startup it is crucial to get the primary target audience. You can achieve it by narrowing your range of services to only those positions you are fully confident in.
4. Estimate wisely
Strive for the full optimization of your finances. Your office may not be spacious, but it has to be functional. Your team can even easily work remotely. The benefits of outsourcing some of your business processes include a financial side: it can help you economize without losing on the workers’ performance and work quality.
Envision the future. Your CAC (cost of acquiring the customer) has to be lower than LTV (lifetime value of the customer). Invest wisely, only in things worth investing, like domains or incorporation. Think about the long-term result achieved by each and every of your decisions. Practically it is performed by means of careful research, superb MVP and its correct use.
5. Get rid of all paperwaste
Time-management is also crucial for startups. Keep track of all the milestones of developing process and reflect them in your papers, but do it wisely. If you truly intend to streamline your business processes, stop piling up futile loads of documents.
They have to be organized, comprehensive, and helpful, but never slow you down and never become your main concern. Instead, turn your documentation into a useful tool and not an obstacle.
Get rid of innumerable to-do lists. Concentrate more not on the tasks ahead, but on their priorities. Classify them correctly according to their value and start with the most urgent tasks like: ensuring the smooth operation, accepting quick opportunities or satisfying your customers’ needs.
6. Keep up with technology
Use all possible modern tools to keep you ahead of the competition. Instead of loading your office with paper folders, use different storing and sharing programs and apps, like Dropbox. You’ll be able to easily search through your papers, update them, comment on them and make them accessible for your whole team.
Use financial tools to help you track all your expenses and to streamline your invoices. Social media scheduling tools can help you manage your customer feedbacks. In addition, the communication with your remote team has never been so easy as with all the modern chatting, video conferencing and collaborating means.
7. Stick to the human side
Always keep the human factor in mind. Whether it’s the customer behavior or the relationships inside your team, remember: everyone’s human. Be attentive and sensitive to people’s needs. Keep the customer portal on your website to always be aware of their needs and possible problems they experience while using your product. Tackle every matter in time.
Often some institutions (like banks) do not want to give a helping hand to young inspired, but inexperienced people. It all happens on a stage where every “no” can become fatal for a startup. Do not hesitate to appeal to other people’s human side.
Finally, you are human yourself. Of course, startup demands a lot of hard work, but not sleeping enough and working like a true zombie has never done anyone much good. Go for a walk, get some rest and you’ll be able to look at any problem from a completely different point of view.