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Startups: Start Smart, Start Small

Published on 31 October 13
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In the current economic conditions (plus the government not able to get its act together to approve a budget and pay its debts) that are prevalent today, you won’t find too many people that are enthusiastic about taking risks. This goes for entrepreneurs and startups as well. Throwing good money into a highly uncertain investment environment is not the order of the day.

Then again, there are opportunities even within these troubled times. For the bold and determined, the moment to strike may just be at hand, but even if the ideas are sound and the projections are rosy, certain precautions must be taken before taking that proverbial leap of faith.

Look Before Leaping

A careful analysis of the industry you are about to jump into is the first order of business. See who the players are, evaluate the market, look at how the present economic factors are affecting the industry as a whole. A bit of augury might also help, just to predict how the market will look in near future. Remember, your upcoming startup will count on the fact that the future is bright.

It can’t hurt to consult people that are already in the playing field, just be sure you are getting the right information from the right sources. Your prospective competitors aren’t obliged to be honest with you, especially if they know that you are hankering for a piece of their pie.

Aim for the Moon, but Expect to Fall Short

Optimism and a positive outlook should never be set aside when starting out on a venture, but managing your own expectations, as well as that of the stakeholders (your partners, employees, investors, and even the prospective customers) is a must. Now is not the time to resort to the tactics of the snakeoil salesman and promise results that are unrealistic or unattainable.

Conservative projections, toning down best case scenarios, and going with more realistic forecasts will be things to do when you are at the head of the boardroom or on the stage, but along with these, strive to provide the best outcomes for the sake of your startup’s success.

You Simply Have to Be Better At Something

Going cookie-cutter and following someone else’s success formula to the letter will probably not get you far. You are the new player, and following the steps of those who came before you shouldn’t always be the way to go. This doesn’t mean not heeding tested wisdom and learning from mistakes committed by those before you; it means taking in those lessons and doing something a little different, with the goal of making a positive difference.

Build on the Ruins of Fallen Empires

Related to the point above, do take advantage of the remnants of past attempts in the industry your company falls into. This doesn’t just apply to lessons and strategies, but to actual materiel, facilities, and resources.

As an example, let me point out the surplus or second-hand market for equipment of all sorts. Let’s say you’re starting your own moving and logistics service. You know you’ll be needing to procure trucks that will be used in your future operations. Since your fledgling company is still starting out, it would be a good idea not to burden it with a gigantic loan.

To help with this goal, seek out affordable sources of trucks (likely second-hand) in order to lower your initial expenditures. Even your office equipment should be cheap. Resist the urge to buy brand spanking new equipment and a snazzy office. Sites like eBay and NextTruck should be on your browser bookmarks.

For the courageous entrepreneurial visionaries out there whose spirits refuse to be dampened by hopelessness and gloom, I wish you the best. March forward!

About the Author

Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and keeps a blog with her friends, Word Baristas.

This blog is listed under IT Strategy & Management Community

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