Our Advice

5 Tips To Get Your Business Off To A Flying Start

As a starting entrepreneur you sometimes wish you had a crystal ball to look into the future: will my product or service be a success or not? As a starter, you can do a number of things to increase your chance of success.

  1. Assume a realistic budget

There are always exceptions, but the vast majority of starters do not have an unlimited budget during the start phase. And to get a company off the ground, you will have to invest in certain things. As a starting entrepreneur or self-employed person, this often involves business resources that you need to be able to perform your work. Think of good computer equipment for a copywriter or consultant and a van for a contractor. 

While you will be pulled from many sides to spend more money (in terms of investing , advertising, etc.), you, or your financial adviser, should keep an eye on which spending takes priority. In the initial phase of your company, your financial mantra should not so much be ‘the sky is the limit’, but rather ‘who saves, he has what’.

If you keep enough money on hand in the beginning to absorb any setbacks, you will run into financial problems less quickly. And that billboard at the local sports club? That is also possible in six months.

  1. Calculate the correct rate

One of the most important decisions you have to make as a starter is determining a cost price: what will I charge for my product or service? As tempting as it is in the start phase to beat your competitors with absolute rock bottom prices, this is usually not such a smart move. Using a low entry price to win as many customers as possible makes it virtually impossible to increase your rates at a later date. 

From the customer’s point of view, a super low rate can also have the opposite effect: cheap is expensive and what costs nothing must also have no value. It is therefore better to use a competitive price from the start, so that you maintain a good starting position for negotiations. Curious how you determine a good rate in your sector? Read all about it in the article What rate can you charge as a freelancer?

  1. Avoid the classic ‘work from home trap’

Working from home: it sounds like music to many people’s ears, but you need to have the necessary discipline. The chance that you will be distracted from your work at home is a lot higher than when you are in the office and as an independent entrepreneur you will soon no longer have a boss who is after you to finish a certain assignment.

There is a danger that you will be sitting behind the computer on time in the morning, but at 5.30 in the evening you will actually have done very little concrete (the laundry still had to be hung in between, taking your son to hockey lessons, on social media happened from everything etc.). This does not work very effectively in the long term. However, the solution is obvious: make sure you learn to distinguish between work and private life. 

On the days you work, you are just as absent from home for the rest of the family as you were when you spent whole days at the office. Tip: work in a preferably enclosed space and use fixed working hours as much as possible during which you should in principle not be disturbed.

In addition, it is also advisable to distance yourself from private matters digitally: for example, create a separate e-mail address and use a business telephone. More tips can be found in the article Use the benefits of working from home: 6 tips.

  1. Learn to deal with criticism

Of course you prefer to hear compliments, but criticism is ultimately just as valuable, or even more valuable. Seasoned entrepreneurs in your industry and network have once gone through the phase you are in; they will recognize the financial obstacles and other problems you run into and may well have a good solution. But you must be willing to receive this well-intentioned counsel.

In that case, you will benefit in the long run from the constructive criticism from your advisors,   customers and suppliers. In many cases, they too benefit from a continuous collaboration with you.

Keep in mind that these parties do not give criticism for nothing and deal with this properly. Try not to attract the reactions too personally. After all, the advice is not aimed at you personally, but rather is intended to further advance the cooperation. 

  1. Create sufficient business opportunities

An average startup is not born with the brand awareness and status of Apple or Heineken. For every entrepreneur, acquisition plays an important role in day-to-day operations. As a starting entrepreneur, you will even have to work harder on this: without a permanent increase of customers or clients, you have no prospect of new income.

So networks are blown! There are several ways you can do that. For example, let former customers know when you are open to new jobs again, actively use social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, regularly schedule an afternoon of cold calling, go to network meetings, send newsletters and also ensure that your business website is found online well.

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