Lessons on launching a successful startup

5 Mins read

In today’s business world, starting a new company is a steep climb. There are many unknowns when a company enters its first year. How long will it take to become profitable? Will we be able to go public? How do we reach more customers? These top business leaders will give us some helpful tips to follow once you’ve launched your first startup.

Start with a solid foundation and plan for your business. Small goals will take you a long way in the beginning, and that doesn’t mean don’t dream big! It just means focus on your core ideas and let the business grow on the foundation you’ve built. For us, that meant keeping the tradition of our recipes alive with each new year.

  • Annabel Love, Co founder & COO Nori

Network online as much as possible. Not just to market your business, but to meet people in similar industries and examine the competition. You can learn a lot about what to do and what not to do just from talking to other business owners.

Be willing to take risks. Any business is going to face ups and downs, and you have to be willing to jump into an opportunity if it feels right. Of course, trust your instincts and don’t take deals without fully understanding them, but don’t second guess yourself so much that you don’t take any risks at all. Business is risky!

Have a marketing plan ahead of time. Too few business owners enter the market without a plan to advertise and learning the ins and outs of SEO can help you push your business forward quickly and efficiently. Consider the options of paying for an agency or learning yourself, both are viable options that you will see ROI on.

Having a system in place to tackle and prioritize projects helps a great deal. If you have a pile of work to get done in a specific time frame, it’s stress-inducing to tackle it all at once. Take each day to tackle one or two items on your list. That will help you organize your time and you’ll see the results of it every day.

One of the biggest lessons I learned from launching a successful start-up was you need to understand and empathize with your customers before you can solve their problems. You can never know your customers too closely. At MarketerHire, we constantly speak with our customers in every possible format so we can think as they think, allowing us to create the right solutions for them. Understanding their needs is how we’ve been able to grow so quickly and create product features that work for our customers above all.

  • Jeff S. Goodwin, Vice President of Direct to Consumer and Performance Marketing Orgain

Don’t let setbacks define how you move forward. Try to see mishaps along the way as learning opportunities. If you knock yourself down for every mistake you make, you’ll never make it past your first year. Any startup has learning curves, you need to ride with those and stay open to change.

Be smart with your spending but take the necessary steps to get financial backing early. Meeting investors and securing funding is essential to getting your business off the ground. Without substantial capital, you’ll be playing catchup and worrying about necessary expenses to get your startup going.

Hire the right people. Especially in the beginning, you’ll want to be surrounded by a team that shares similar values and has a passion for what you’re doing. Think critically about what kind of managers and employees you’ll need. What kind of person do you want in each of those roles? At Outstanding Foods, we value team members and partners who share a similar vision of providing tasty plant-based snacks.

Secure a location to conduct business out of. It doesn’t have to be big or even fancy looking, but you’ll need a designated location for operations. We deal with hardwood, so having a warehouse was essential for offering our service.

  • Nik Sharma, CEO Nik

Make sure you have a solid and complete website for your launch. It’s important to have a place to immediately send customers and investors to. This is where all of the pertinent information about your business will be held so it’s important to make sure it’s clean, organized and eye-catching. There’s no reason to go at it alone either, getting a website built takes time but there are many independent designers and organizations that offer domains and templates for very affordable prices.

Launching a successful startup will rarely succeed if you don’t do the research. Unless you’ve gotten especially creative, chances are that other similar companies exist, and you can learn a lot from competitor analysis. But don’t stop there! Be sure to look at different regions, target demographics and other factors that might alter your ROI for some audiences.

  • Bing Howenstein, Founder all33

Attend events in your industry whenever you can. You’ll network and quickly start building a reputation among other business owners. Plus, this is a great way to suss out the competition and see what other companies are up to.

Establish a few friends that you can discuss business strategies with. It’s really helpful to have mentors and colleagues to share experiences with and it’s part of how industries change. Make friends with some business owners that you can bounce ideas off.

  • Benjamin Smith, Founder Disco

Regardless of what’s going on in your life outside of work, it’s important to maintain a balance. Set time aside for yourself every week and commit to it. In the long run, you’ll be happier and healthier for splitting your time between work and social activities. It’s not frivolous, it’s very much necessary!

  • Shaun Price Head of Customer Acquisition MitoQ

A great old school checkpoint to cover is business cards. While no replacement for a website and social media presence, you never know who you’ll run into day to day and it’s great to have something physical that points potential customers directly to your pages.

Find your niche. Startups and new businesses are almost like an echo chamber these days. There’s a million of them and more than likely a handful of them are doing something similar to you. Find out what makes you different and lean on that as much as you can.

Believe in yourself and your startup ideas! If you are lacking confidence in the service or startup you’re trying to provide, or it’s not something you’re passionate about then how can you hope to be successful? You have to believe in yourself and what you’re selling, or your customers will see you as just another brand.

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