By David Rusenko, founder and CEO of Weebly
When you start a business, it can be difficult to figure out what the first step should be, and in particular how to prime it for success. I know that when I first founded Weebly in 2007, at the tender age of 23, I was unsure what success what really looked like. I chose two like-minded friends to work with, enabling me to create the first drag and drop platform, allowing anyone to easily create a high quality website.
Today, Weebly is used in 170 countries, unlocking entrepreneurial potential by hosting sites and e-commerce stores for more than 35 million users. But that success didn’t happen overnight. For those entrepreneurs looking to start out, there are ten simple steps they should keep in mind:
- Get started and keep moving
Action always drives results, so don’t get side-tracked when starting out. Rather than spending too much time planning, writing business ideas or creating the perfect logo – just make it happen. It may seem clichéd but fortune really does favour the brave and the most successful start-up founders are risk takers. Identify one or two key objectives and focus on achieving them before you set yourself new goals.
- Be confident with your idea
Ideas aren’t gold dust, so don’t protect yours as though it is. Most people are too consumed by their own ideas and business plans to give their time to stealing and growing someone else’s. The chances that your idea has never been thought of before are very small. Most people lack the motivation to see them through and what can set you apart is having the desire and drive to bring your idea to life.
- Be Patient with Success
No business is an overnight success and expecting quick results will just as rapidly lead to disappointment. By being prepared to face losses and failings along the way, you will be better positioned to learn from your mistakes and make your business successful.
- Create a product that will be in demand
It may seem obvious, but ensuring you create a unique product that will be in demand can make or break your business. Figuring that out doesn’t have to involve expensive market research. Friends and family are a ready-made client base, so talk your project over with them, try sending out surveys or even just look up popular products online, all of which can provide useful insight.
- Positive cash flow is essential
Cash flow is the lifeblood of all businesses, and finding a way to be cash flow positive from the beginning is important. This is ideally achieved by clients paying money up front for products or services. If this is unsuccessful, try asking for deposits up-front with balances due on delivery.
- Hire and keep the right people
The key to successfully scaling your business is to hire the best talent and trust them to do the best work. At the beginning, money is tight and your company might lack reputation so hiring mistakes can be costly. Being able to get across what’s so exciting about what you’re doing, however, will help people get on board with your mission. To retain them, empower your employees by trusting them, letting them take ownership of the work they do.
- Delegation is key
Finding the balance between taking ownership of your business and delegation is one of the most underrated skills in business. A common mantra among new business owners is ‘if you want it done right, do it yourself’ but this can lead to losing sight of your objective. Its important that entrepreneurs learn how to give away responsibility and trust their team as the business grows.
- Don’t be scared to ask for help
Starting a business isn’t something that you should do alone. Investors have learnt not to invest in ideas, but in teams that they think can deliver innovative solutions. Find like-minded individuals to get started with. Even if you were to do all the work yourself, you need a team to brainstorm with, to question your thinking, to offer an alternative view and boost morale when things go wrong.
- Make sure you have a great online offering
Great businesses thrive from clean, user-friendly websites and there is no excuse not to have one. It is easier than ever to have a well designed website, enticing your customers to purchase from you 24/7. Make sure to optimise it for mobile access and add SEO tags to boost your search ranking and grow your business.
- Align your business and your customers
During the business’ growth, your employees and customers must fully understand and embrace your vision. This means staying in touch with them and reinforcing your brand values. The result is a customer base that will not only have a desire for your product but will want to align themselves to your business.
These tips may seem obvious, but all successful start-ups do the simple things well. Not allowing things to become convoluted and complicated can allow you to keep your eye on what’s important.