So you want to start a business. Great! But where do you start? It certainly won’t be easy, but with a lot of drive, a little luck, and some savvy, you can maximize your chances of turning your dreams into a successful entrepreneurial endeavor. Here are our top tips for starting a business as smoothly as possible.
1. Choose your co-founders carefully.
More carefully than you would choose a spouse. You’ll be spending a LOT of time with your co-founders (probably more time than your actual spouse), and if things go sour and you find you simply can’t work it out, a business divorce is even worse than a regular one. You can’t split the custody of your startup.
2. Invest in a good lawyer, a good accountant, and good contractors.
You may be hesitant to spend a lot of money on these when you’re first starting out and cash isn’t flowing yet, but having professionals on your side from the get-go will save you headaches in the long run. A quality lawyer and accountant will help you set up your business properly and legally (and save you money on taxes), and quality contractors will ensure that your work gets done right the first time. (For more tips on saving money in the early years, check out our article on keeping costs down.)
3. Start small!
A business is a risk, so don’t invest too much too early. Come up with a hypothesis and test it with a small product that solves the biggest problem, not every problem. If your experiment has lackluster results, figure out why and be honest with yourself about how fixable the issue is.
4. Create a detailed plan.
Work out the kinks now, and be realistic about what you can get done. Simply believing that everything will work out isn’t enough; plot out exactly what success will look like and the steps you will need to take to get there. But! Make sure you’ve done tip #3, because creating a detailed plan for a sprawling project is a recipe for never getting started.
5. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
Instead of trying to invent an entirely new category, improve upon something that already exists; it’s often easier to be successful this way. Keep it simple.
What do you think? Have any tips of your own to add to the list? Leave them in the comments! And as always, feel free to drop us a line with inquiries, suggestions, and/or love notes. We’re always happy to hear from you.