Many entrepreneurs get lost in starting a business and that’s okay. You’re doing things you never thought you’d have to do. When did you think you would have to create business strategy, monitor and maintain your business finances, operate, design, sell, market, improve, monitor your competition, find a strategic position, refine your offering…. etc! You know what I mean when I say that it is daunting and difficult. The reason many companies fail in their development stage is because of a deficiency in these areas. This is where you can begin to differentiate yourself from your competition.
Find a competent Co-Founder who can bring experience to the table you can’t.
I think one of the most common things I see in co-founders is that they are nearly the same. They think that because they are the same that makes them a good fit. In one dimension, this is true. However it leaves them at a strategic disadvantage to those that picked their co-founder strategically. In a startup, you don’t need two people who can do the same thing twice. You need someone who can handle certain areas within their expertise and someone who can do the same in their respective expertise area. Next, these two people can work together on areas they struggle such that they create a collaborative best effort for the deficient areas. If you and your co-founder are only strong in the same areas, you are likely to struggle more than those who have found a co-founder that counterbalances their abilities.
If you can’t do everything, don’t.
This is one of my favorite topics on this subject. I have talked with so many people who want to start an APP or software company but then say they have to learn software engineering to do so. NO. Stop right there. You don’t have to learn this. Yes you need to have a general understanding but the truth is, you need to find the funding to hire someone who is the expert. In the time it takes you to learn the trade, the opportunity you thought you had will have likely passed you and you are left empty handed.
The key concept here is to remember that you are not the expert in all that is business and to realize that you are not the best in every specialty. Realizing and admitting you need help is a big step forward. You need to focus on running and developing the business the best you know how. If you’re wasting time on accounting and monitoring finances, hire a few hours of an accountant’s time each month to take a look at your books for you and to keep you on track. You can contract with many specialties until you grow large enough to hire your own people. This is a great strategy when your business is in it’s infancy.
Ask for help.
Sometimes just asking for help will make a world of difference for your business. It may be as simple as asking your family to take care of your kids one extra day of the week or asking a friend what they think of your business or product. It may be as simple as exploring the resources you have in your community that specialize in helping entrepreneurs such as yourself. For instance, in Reno we have organizations such as UNR Small Business Development Center (SBDC), EDAWN, Entrepreneurs Assembly (EA), and others that focus solely on this purpose. They won’t do the work for you but they will definitely point you in the right direction and help you get the resources you need to make things happen.
What have you done to get your business started? Did you contract with outside people or did someone help direct you? Leave a comment!