How to start a startup?

Do you have the soul of an entrepreneur? Do you want to start your startup? Congratulations! You’ve just taken the more courageous decision of your professional life… and the more risky too. If startups have a high growth potential, they have also a higher failure rate than traditional companies. A great idea does not automatically lead to success.

Here are some tips to avoid common startup mistakes.

1. Don’t waste time

Time is money. Don’t waste it and make priorities. Don’t attend conferences and don’t plan meetings if you are not sure that they are useful for your business. Don’ forget that your savings are limited.

2. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

Savings? You will need them for the first two or three years of existence of your startup. If you are not financially ready, it is better to postpone your entrepreneurial project and stay on jour job, the time to make savings for hard times. Money will not flow immediately. Getting clients takes time and clients don’t always pay on time.

3. Learn to manage your cash flow

Cash flow problems can lead your company to bankruptcy, even if your business is profitable and growing. To reduce the risk of default payment, determine your working capital needs and give yourself room for manoeuvre. A client might pay late or go bankrupt and, at the same time, you might need urgently money to face unexpected expenses.

4. Make clear objectives

Be as concrete as you can in the definition of your objectives. How much clients do you expect for the end of the accounting year? What will be your turnover? What market share do you want to achieve with your business? What are your client acquisition costs?

Making sales targets won’t be enough if you don’t determine your sales process. How will you reach your objectives? How will you approach your prospects? Which method will you use?

5. Find partners

Managing startup is time consuming. If you want to avoid burnout, don’t stay alone and interact with other persons. Find co-founders or, if you want to be the only founder of your company, partnerships with startups offering complementary services to yours.

6. Recognize your failures

Your idea had the potential to become a successful business but still didn’t succeed. It doesn’t matter: failure is an integral part of the entrepreneurial process and you have to overcome it. React quickly and don’t be afraid to break everything to better rebuild. Don’t be stuck to one startup idea because you love it. Take the best of what works or find another idea.

7. Don’t lie to your investors

If you are seeking desperately to raise funds or to keep your startup alive, you will be tempted to lie about your growth or your profits. If your startup is in trouble, the truth will come out sooner or later. Lies will only delay bankruptcy and won’t allow you to launch a worthy project.

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