10 Steps to Success
1. Prepare to work hard
Be Busy- stay focussed and put in the hours. Your fledgling business is your life in the early stages. Don’t work with anyone who doesn’t share your commitment. Use every opportunity to grow your enterprise – in your personal and work life.
2. Work on the business model
Your primary focus is to develop a sustainable business model. Don’t make the mistake of only chasing investments or tailoring your business to suit the grants available. Everything is about the figures – tight costs, sales growth and cash-flow management. A product is not great unless it has customers. Constantly reappraise the model and the market.
3. Failure is a detour towards success.
Mistakes are inevitable – don’t dwell on them. When you realise it’s not working STOP and move on.
You will always learn far more from the ones that don’t work out – stay positive. Get used to owning up to bad decisions and expose your business to critics who are prepared to speak frankly to you.
4. People who succeed always believe they can.
Having self-belief is incredibly important in driving your business forward. This isn’t about blind faith; it’s about having the confidence and passion to build your business. If you believe in what you are trying to achieve you will stay positive and energised even when times are tough.
5. Get everything FREE
In the early days your business cannot afford to spend money on marketing and growth. Work on social media and viral campaigns – be imaginative and capture people’s attention through clever initiatives.
- Check what’s available from Enterprise Boards and local business networking groups.
- Ask key business leaders to give you some time for mentoring and advice.
- Barter with colleagues in other businesses and networks.
- Use interns for work placements – particularly for projects
6. Strategize at Speed
Innovation should be a constant state of mind. The best businesses are always looking outside of the immediate target market to explore new opportunities. The current climate means you have to move fast to avail of new trends and to spot the new areas for revenue growth. Get used to constantly reviewing and reappraising the business strategy.
7. Money is not a dirty word
Your business is about making money – don’t be afraid to say it and believe in it. If you aren’t making as much money as you can you will spend longer working and less time playing. Always be clear about why you make a particular business decision – if it’s not to increase value or profits then define what it is you are doing. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for better supply prices. If you don’t get the best price it’s YOUR margin that suffers.
8. Remember the likeability factor
Happy people are better bosses. Have a positive attitude and encourage others to do the same.
Act as a role model and personally demonstrate the qualities that you would like to see in your team.
Let team members know that you encourage their contributions and ideas.
9. Decide on how to fund growth
Carefully consider all the growth options available from Seed capital via Business Angels to Bank funding.
Think carefully about follow-on funding when the right time might be to consider growth and with whom.
There are a number of growth options available from Seed Capital via Business Angels, grants and Bank funding. In particular the women’s enterprise grants that might be available through Enterprise Ireland.
Think hard before involving friends & family in your business.
Work on a realistic valuation of your business in terms of equity share for angel investors or venture capital funds.
10. Never stop learning
Build your management competence through formal and informal learning.
Scan the horizon for new developments in your field and be among the first to learn about them.
Use management theories to test business models no matter how small you are.
Look outside of Ireland for new learning opportunities, business with export potential are far more investible and have the best potential for growth in the current climate.