Making Your Start-up a Success
For the most part Mind Fit as a company works with larger organisations that have many employees, and work with teams focused on business growth and improving performance. The process starts (Mind Fit Foundation Programme) with changes that individual players make and then proceeds towards team performance and business goals.
But start-ups are no different as it’s all about people being the best they can be. So this article has a focus on start-up businesses, or as we would hope to encourage the preparation you need for considering a new business start-up.
History of start-ups
New businesses are starting up at an unprecedented rate and yet experience tells us that 80% or 4 out of every 5 will not succeed.
The excuse for failure when it happens is usually put down to a lack of cash – “we ran out of money” – is the cry. Of course it’s easy to blame one thing at the end when you ran out of your savings, the banks wouldn’t lend you any money or something else around the same thought.
But the reality is, running out of money was the consequence of a combination of other things and most of the time it’s the lack of planning and an understanding of what makes businesses tick and succeed that is the root cause.
So here’s what we would say are the important foundations that you need before you start your new business.
The 3 Keys to Start-up Success
It’s your start-up but any business, new or old requires a lot of financial thinking from you. You may have gone into business because you hadspecial knowledge in an area that has little to do with finance, but you must make sure you become adept at dealing with money. Even if you don’t start out with well-developed financial acumen, you need to be willing to learn and grow when it comes to understanding and executing financial matters.
When someone is said to have financial acumen, experience is the one thing that comes into play. You have to have some experience at dealing with data, tracking expenses and income, understanding sales revenues and KPIs. Any small business owner, has to gain experience in handling financial calculations so that you know how well your business is doing. It’s the same for a department manager, or divisional director, you always need to understand the financials. I have a saying
“don’t blame running out of cash – businesses and projects fail because the cause is always something else”
Expertise in financial matters can be expanded to how to invest, buy assets, reduce costs or expand your payroll. For anyone, me, you or your competitor, all of this knowledge comes with self-study and training. In other words, it must be something you consciously pursue.
But knowing about break even, cash flow, profit, discounts etc are only useful if you have a product or service that someone wants. So the 2nd Key is – Marketing Prowess – . This is something that’s much misunderstood as many see it as selling. In many respects if you master this is can overtake the importance of the 1st Key (it’s not heresy! Just being practical).
Many businesses would have been better had they never started. Why? because it’s that same 80% of start-ups that fail. If you watch Dragon’s Den you’ll regular hear a dragon saying,
“You haven’t got a business, I’m out!”
But why is that when there are so many marketing books out there talking about the 5Ps and the 7Ps of marketing and telling you exactly how to do market research to see if you have a product or service that will sell. In other words whether you have a business or not.
Start-ups are no different from any other business and the simple facts are there are only 3 questions to you have to answer:
- Is there a problem ?
- Have you solution for it that you can differentiate from others ?
- Is there a market for your solution ?
It may sound surprising – but, just because you’ve a unique alternative to others already in the market doesn’t mean there is a market for yours.
Take an example of fixing a laptop or desktop computer – there is certainly a need to have great technicians fixing PCs, most high streets will have a shop offering the service. But market conditions where PCs are so cheap to replace and other cloud based options currently available just may make your repair offer redundant or or worse still in a declining market. i say worse still because you may join a declining market before you realise it!
This TedTalk by Amy Lockwood reinforces the simple point – know your customer
There’s a point when everyone laughs in the video, because it’s funny. But why are they laughing? It’s a key point so you may just want to think on that.
A lot more can be said about marketing but let’s look at the next and final key.
But just a note of interest before – none of the above can be taken in isolation. You get Financial Acumen by experience and doing something until you have that expertise. Likewise you get Marketing Prowess by understanding your market, your customers and clients and testing and practising until you master it. they will have an impact on each other. And the one that is always there bringing them together is the third and final key – Your Mindset.
Notice it’s not just Mindset –
It’s Your Mindset
This is where the Henry Ford saying is so apt
If you think you can do something, or you think you can’t do something, you’re right.
Whether a young person, a start-up, an employee, an owner or a director you will be successful if you are…
- able to think flexibly and appropriately
- emotionally competent and resilient
- driven with a real sense of purpose
- able to connect meaningfully with others
Having the right mindset or being Mind Fit will be underpinned by a sense of purpose and a passion that will drive you to get the Financial Acumen and Marketing Prowess you need to be successful. And if you need more, you’ll have the drive to go and get what you need.
Now you may be thinking
“I’ve not been trained to do it, where can I get the training?”
My answer to that is simple – what training do you want? Why not start practising something now and when you’re ready you’ll get the training you want. I also say
Business is a marathon not a sprint
not because you can’t get quick wins in business, but plan for the long term – having a plan really helps. But the reality is most people are not ready to progress, as they haven’t the right mindset to start with. But when you have it, you will eat knowledge for breakfast. Just a play on Ken Blanchard’s “feedback is the breakfast of champions”.
Lastly – what happens if your start-up fails?
Well, if you’ve taken the advice above it shouldn’t. But if it does ask the experts on this “A practical Guide to what happens when Businesses Fail” download
Now the choice is yours.
So what key do you want to improve?
Financial Acumen, Marketing Prowess or Your Mindset
We’re happy to help you find out. It’s always a choice – and you can start today.