After having spent most of my professional time in the startup community and working to grow one with two friends (Quiyk Sports) there are a few trends have become evident. While the current idealistic viewpoint of starting a business is that it is a professional freedom and that anyone can do it, the process is certainly not that simple and not without hiccups. Here are five things that I believe every entrepreneur should expect to encounter on their way to starting a successful business.
1. You will not win every battle
This is in reference to the various functions that go into making your startup run. For instance you may not ship every order on time, you may not fix every bug and you may have some unhappy customers. Things will not always go exactly according to plan, but that is alright. To survive and succeed, one must figure out how to rebound from mistakes.
2. You will not always be right
Even the smartest, most innovative and successful entrepreneurs are going to be wrong at some point along the way. Whether a team member suggests a more effective product update or customers do not love the new site design, you are bound to be wrong at least once in a while. The best way to handle that is to learn, iterate and then implement a solution.
3. Good communication will be your best friend
Whether it be internal between different teams or how you communicate your messaging to customers, good communication is key to running a successful startup. While it is about consciously appreciating great communication, poor communication or messaging will cause many problems for a business and avoiding that is crucial.
4. Customer complaints are one of the most useful learning tools
Hearing from frustrated or angry customers is typically thought of as a sign that one is doing a poor job. While in the micro sense that may be true, from a macro point of view complaining customers offer the best opportunities to learn about fixing your product/business. They are contacting you and complaining about things that need to be corrected, sometimes things that you thought were fine to begin with. For more on this read Phil Libin’s post on INC.com
5. It will be harder than you thought
Until you try to start and maintain a business, it is nearly impossible to comprehend how difficult it truly is. You can plan and plan and plan, but the unexpected will come up continuously. To combat all of that, one must give 100% focus and effort to the business. Go into it knowing that the process will be harder than you think, more grueling than you are prepared for, but also that your finished product will be worth it.
What are some of your thoughts on beginning a business? Do you have a different list of ‘5 things?’
Nadav Swarttz, @NadavSwarttz