Topics:Starting a Business
Guest Post by Dan Matthews
Launching a new venture can be a thrill, but it’s easy for those emotional highs to quickly come crashing down to earth after the rubber hits the road. Here are a few tips and strategies to help you maintain your sanity in the early days of your startup, enabling you to launch your business with a bang.
Having an organized office or workspace is a critical step in launching a business. Whether this is a brick-and-mortar storefront, a traditional office space with cubicles or a bullpen, or even an online workflow platform like Trello or Asana, it’s critical that you take the time to optimize the space for your employees.
This isn’t just a trendy way to keep your staff content and your turnover rate low; it actually affects productivity significantly. One study with hundreds of software developers from dozens of companies showed that employees' productivity differed by as much as 10 to 1. While many factors were taken into account, the organization of an employee’s workspace tended to be even more important than things like compensation.
A disheveled and unorganized workspace hardly serves as a confidence booster. Make sure your workspace, whatever form it takes, is well organized and conducive to your employees.
You can’t go at it alone when launching a business. This doesn’t mean that you have to hire a huge staff or have experts actually on your payroll, but having a group of seasoned professionals who you trust can give you a powerful edge over the competition. The wisdom of having a group of councilors to lean on is as old as the hills. It allows you to crowdsource the best ideas possible. In addition, when you have ideas yourself, it gives you a collective (and wise) sounding board to bounce them off of.
Don’t be afraid to lean on the advice of trusted friends. It’s easy to be scared away from sharing your business ideas in the fear that they’ll be stolen or shot down. If you find a group you truly can depend on, however, they can be invaluable when it comes to parsing through various thoughts and options. And this is never truer than when a business is just starting. From marketing and day-to-day operations to more complex, behind-the-scenes aspects like payroll or handling investors, every aspect of a company can benefit from the crowdsourced counsel model.
For example, a study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business demonstrated that crowdsourcing platforms like Estimize were an excellent source of information even in the tricky business of generating earnings estimates, with the tool forecasting accuracy 58 percent of the time. The diversity of opinions and lack of a single bias can make crowdsourced council, even with more detailed subjects of expertise, which can be invaluable during the highs and lows of a startup’s first few years of operation.
Never underestimate the power of a business plan. It gives you something stable to fall back on when things don’t go quite the way you expected. Make no mistake, curveballs are inevitable with any business venture. However, while rolling with the punches can be an excellent life mantra, it won’t get you very far on its own in business. It’s essential that any new venture is founded on a thought-out plan that gives an owner recourse in the event of an emergency or important decision.
It’s also important that a plan be as detailed as possible, taking into account things like funding, income, and expenses. Understanding taxes and how they can impact your business is critical, as is recording company benchmarks, goals, and mission statements in order to have a clear-cut filter to view any important decisions through.
Having a plan in place can help you keep your head on straight when facing things like dealing with startup debt or making tough decisions. Here’s an excellent resource to help guide you through writing a basic business plan.
Finally, it’s easy to get swept up in the details. However, when you’re saddled with so many new responsibilities, it’s important to take the time to navigate them wisely. It’s hard to delegate, but trusting your employees is critical in the early stages of a startup. It’s also helpful to look for tools that can streamline various tasks, rather than simply doing everything yourself.
Taking the time to start your business with a plan and organized workspace in place, making an effort to be mindful of your time, and seeking out wise counsel for big decisions are critical factors in any fledgeling company. When attended to, they can grease the wheels, setting up your startup for the best chance for success.
Dan Matthews is a writer, musician, and dog fanatic who would love to be outdoors hiking with his dog right now. You can find him on Twitter @danielmatthews0.