- VALUE PROPOSITION
Customers buy your products and don’t buy from others, because you can deliver the value they are looking for. After getting feedback from your customers, and as you reach the take off stage, define your value proposition well so that you know what to highlight in your packaging, in your promotion and distribution. Your value proposition does not only encompass the product, but what customers experience from the time they search your site to delivery of the product. Avoid spending on things that your customers are not looking for and save on cost.
- CASH FLOW
Many start ups fail because they run out of money even before they take off and grow. A good advice is to have a big buffer, like savings or an existing salary to tide you over until the business produces enough cash flow to sustain the business. The start up stage is when you will have to tighten your budget and expenses because you wouldn’t really know when you will begin to take off and see a sustainable operation.
- TWEAKING AND PIVOTING
A defining characteristic of the start up stage is its being an experimental stage. Entrepreneurs who fail to acknowledge this fact get discouraged when things do not turn out as expected. Lower your expectation because during this stage, you don’t have a “perfect” product yet. You will know what works and what do not work only after you launch and see how your customers respond. The start up stage is when your customers becomes your strongest ally. Some entrepreneurs fail because they assume that their customers will adjust to their business. Tweak your product when you see how you can further make improvements. Pivot to a another product or value proposition if you see a better one which you can see as you journey into an unknown territory.
- BUSINESS MODEL
If you keep on doing what you are doing and do not realize that the start up stage is just a phase until you take off and grow, you might just stay there and enjoy the stage, tweaking and pivoting and wondering why you are not getting anywhere. The start up stage is just a preparation for the next phase, the take off and growth stage. Note that a business can grow only as the owner and his team grows. A business model tells you how your business will look like as the business grows. You might have to ask yourself, what aspect in your business is limiting its growth. Is it the market? Then you might have to create other products or expand your customer base. Is it your production capacity? Then you might have to invest in expanding your productive capacity. Is it your working capital? Then you have to pour more funds into the business. The most important of this is knowing if your business is profitable. Business is sustainable only if cash flow is positive and keeps on flowing. As you journey in the start- up stage, have a clear picture of the major aspects of your business, market, operations and finance. Know your cost and selling price, overhead, suppliers and their terms, customers and payment terms, etc. You will need a well defined business model as you reach the take off stage and start growing your business. The success of any business is not dependent on money but on the owners and his organization’s capacity for growth. There are now many resources available that will help entrepreneurs succeed. Keep on growing your knowledge of the business.
The bible talks about faith and this is what defines entrepreneurs who succeed. Why is this so? Because the opposite of faith is fear. Let us not think that God is not interested in our success. He is and in fact, there are many promises from the bible that will strengthen our faith as we journey into the business world. More than anything else, we need wisdom in order to proper and succeed. The bible is a book of wisdom.
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