9 Startup Secrets You Wish You Knew

9 Startup Secrets You Wish You Knew

9 Startup Secrets You Wish You Knew

9 Startup Secrets You Wish You Knew

What’s so secret about the startup life being hard? Nothing. But these startup secrets will have you recalibrating your priorities if you’re feeling a bit lost.

“Startup secrets” may sound like something I would try to sell to you in a circus game in exchange for a teddy bear, so let’s start with some carnival odds, shall we?

If I were to tell you that you had less than a one in five chance of being successful at something you would invest at least five years of your life into: would you try it?

Out of the almost 7000 startups that began over the last two years, only about one in five, or 18 percent, will succeed.

There are so many things that you can be doing to make yourself part of that 20%, and today, I want to talk to you about eight startup secrets for growing your business.

1. Wisely Choose What Type of Business You Want to Start

The first startup secret may seem obvious, but it is monumental: you must choose a service that the market is interested in looking at and buying from.

Legal services, accounting, real estate agencies, automotive rental services, and management consulting firms statistically have the most success as startups.

Oil and gas extraction, beverage companies, mining companies, grocery stores, and garden supply stores tend to have the highest rates of failure when it comes to becoming a startup.

I am not saying that it is impossible to start a business in those fields, but you would rather start off with the upper hand.

2. One of the Best Startup Secrets: Do 90% of the Work Yourself

Starting your own business can be very expensive. And while approximately 88% of people rely on their friends and family to invest in their startup, it is important to remember that even if you have their money, you should be doing a majority of the work yourself.

Yes, outsourcing does seem like a quick and cheap startup secret, and with all the cheap labor all over the world, it could very easily be done.

When you are putting in the work, not only are you cutting down on your overhead, but you are also learning the ins and outs of your business: something that money cannot buy.

3. Get Out That Pen and Paper, and Do Your Homework

Consultants can cost you a lot of money (we are talking $300+ an hour). So before going to see one, put in the time yourself and do some research. It is funny how in a time of technology, where we have computers, tablets, smartphones, libraries, and access to infinite information: people just don’t seem to want to do the work themselves.

Putting in the research for both the problems and solutions is a startup secret 101. Read books about starting a business, watch television interviews of established startup founders and learn from their experiences.

Starting any business must come with the same gusto: you cannot be afraid to put in the time to get the answers to your questions.

4. Back up Everything with Numbers

It is nice to think of the world as this philanthropical and charitable place, but when it comes down to brass tacks, everyone from your parents to investment bankers, is going to want to see how everything breaks down into dollars and cents.

Make sure you are keeping a log of how much you are spending, how much you plan to spend, how much your competitors are spending, percentages of how you can beat them, and everything down to the receipts for the pencils you buy to write down these numbers, so that when people ask you about a monetary number you always have it in writing.

5. Pay Attention to Marketing Trends

When it comes to startups, most people often wait until it is too late to focus on marketing for their company.

This is a deathwish.

Especially nowadays when marketing can be so flippant and is more than ever fastpaced with a majority of the world having access to the internet.

A prime example? The Body Positivity Movement.

Five years or so ago, companies like Special K Cereal and Dove Soap were using women’s insecurities to sell products. But now they are going with today’s trends, and using phrases like, “You are more beautiful than you think.”

Every customer you have is precious, and you should not wait longer than every four to six weeks to reach out to them.

Let me tell you something; you are smarter than you think. Do not let marketing sit on the backburner on your list of priorities.

6. Know Your Clientele

I do not just mean knowing the basic demographics of the people you market to: their age, weight, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, etcetera.

When you begin your startup, a foundation of your business will be whether or not you take the time to get to know the people who use your services. Learn their families’ names, their likes, and dislikes, maybe what sports teams they root for.

Treat them like you would treat any friend (this includes adding them to your Christmas card list).

This may seem like an extra step, but the benefit is two-fold: for starters, building trust with clients will enable them to bring other clients to you (word of mouth still matters), and you can adapt your business to your market.

That is a startup secret win-win.

7. Don’t Look a Gift Horse in The Mouth: Start With Others’ Breadcrumbs

There are many online resources and checklists you can use as a jumping off point for your startup.

Why put in more work than you have to? Even websites like Pinterest have tips and hints that you can save. You could make a board called, “Startup Secrets and Advice.”

My point is this: if someone has already put in all the effort and is willing to share their success, why not learn from that?

8. Breathe Out the Bad, Breathe in the Help

Remember in your cubicle job when you used to get frustrated answering twenty-something emails a day?

Well, congratulations! You are now the president, head of the payroll, head of accounting, head of human resources, maybe janitorial services, and all the other minor and major jobs that come with beginning your startup.

A startup is just that: starting something up. And, boy howdy, it can be a lot of work.

Yet, we live in a world now (thanks to technology), that can come with a lot of relatively cheap (and tax-deductible) help.

So, take advantage of that, and do not let yourself get behind on anything business related [especially if it has to do with money or taxes (especially taxes)].

9. Most Importantly: Remind Yourself Why You Are Here

Some of us startup businesses because we want to spend our forties vacationing on yachts in the French Riveria. Some of us start businesses because we see a problem within our field, and want to fix it. Some of us just want to be our own bosses: lose or win, succeed or fail.

Whatever your reason for beginning your startup, the most important secret I have to offer you is this: remind yourself every single day why you are doing this and why it matters to you.

It may seem like such an easy task to perform, but you would be surprised how much our aspirations can dissipate in the shuffle.

Be Your Own [Startup] Secret Weapon

Having a business idea is easy. Making a business plan and going through with it is harder. Making a successful business out of that startup is the hardest part.

But with the right mindset and resources, you are on your way to making it. Remember to do the research, use the tools that are already out there, be a cheerleader to your clients, and most importantly, to yourself.

And if you need a professional hand to guide you along the way and let you in on more startup secrets, let’s connect.