You know the saying—give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day … teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Startup funds can only keep you going for so long. After a while, you need a substantial business model (and consistent revenue) to keep going.
If you want your small business to thrive long after the initial funds run out, make sure you have the following six things.
In my opinion, time isn’t money—it’s more valuable. You have to put in the time to make your business come to life.
I can’t tell you how much time I devoted to researching, conducting a market analysis, brainstorming, planning, etc. You get the picture.
During my first three years as an entrepreneur, I worked approximately 80 hours per week. That’s time that I devoted to ensuring my startup would make it. And although my business wasn’t generating much money during this period, the time I invested led to long-term success, not just short-term profits.
Personally, passion was the most important ingredient I had (and needed) to help me through the startup stages of my businesses. Because of passion, I was able to grow my business and take on tasks and responsibilities that were far outside of my comfort zone.
Passion kept me ploughing ahead when I was blurry-eyed and tired. Passion kept me pushing when my business’s future looked grim.
If you’re passionate about your business, your customers will feel your passion and come back for more. Money is a necessity to keep your business alive, but it certainly won’t keep customers coming back like passion will.
You could have all the money in the world to start your business, but what does it matter if you don’t have the determination to pursue entrepreneurship? To be an entrepreneur, you need initiative, perseverance, common sense, and courage. You need gumption.
Many people are going to tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t start your own business. They’ll give you every reason under the sun. It’s up to you to ignore these naysayers. But at the same time, you need to pay attention to good input from experienced people. The trick will be deciphering what input is useful, and what input is terrible.
You must use your gut to determine what is best for you and your business. Otherwise, you’ll be throwing money down the drain. Having gumption can help you make wise investments in your business, overcome hurdles, and come up with business strategies.
Your business vision is what gets your startup from point A to point B to point C, and so on. For a successful business, you need to look beyond the short-term and come up with plans.
So, why is vision more important than money when starting your business? When you have a business vision, you can determine what to do with your startup funds. By thinking long-term, you can appropriate funds in a way that supports your startup years down the road.
Having a vision is also valuable when it comes to creating your small business plan and making decisions. Your decisions, such as testing new offerings and expanding, influence your business’s success. When you have a vision for where you’d like your business to go, you won’t be spending money on random things that aren’t related to your startup.
You need a strong brand to drive customers to your business. Money can’t buy your startup’s brand. It takes time to develop a brand. And, you need to build your credibility and reputation to create a brand that resonates with your customers.
Your brand is everything associated with your business, including your logo, name, and mission. It is what sets you apart from other companies, and what customers think of when they think of your company.
6. Dedicated Employees
Some new business owners hire employees right away while others wait until the business is more established to hire. Whenever, and if ever, you decide to bring on employees, understand the significant value they can add to your business.
Good employees can streamline operations, keep customers coming back, and come up with creative ideas to grow your business. On the other hand, bad employees can single-handedly sink your business’s success if you aren’t careful. For a successful business, spend time on the recruiting and hiring process. Hire talented and engaged employees to add value to your business.
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