Startup Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts

startup top 10 do’s and don’ts

The first thing that everyone does when they set out to start a new company is – you guessed it — design their logo.  And while, yes, this is a necessary and integral part of your business, there is little point in doing this before you’ve gone through some critical steps in planning your new startup.

The end goal of every startup, no matter what is the industry or product or customer, is the same: build a business that is sustainable long-term, and that will give you the entrepreneurial freedom you have always dreamed of.

Even though there are a million and one ways to achieve these goals, we’ve boiled down the Startup Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts to follow in order to get there faster, more successfully, and happier.

1. Pick An Idea Related To You

Just because there is a trend going on out there that you think will make you money, if you know nothing about it or do not have any relevant skills, forget about it.  The learning curve is too sharp, and your passion for it will die as quickly as it started in the first place.  Rather, stick to the things you are good at and are passionate about.

2. Research

Research. Research.  And then research some more.  Get to know the market landscape and all of the companies you will be up against.  Because they don’t care that you are new, and neither will your customer.  Make research an on-going activity before, during and post launch by signing up to newsletters, reading blogs and articles, and dedicating time to seeking out your competition and spying on them.

3. Define Your Startup DNA

The devil is in the detail, as they say, and it definitely applies here.  It’s really important that you know exactly what your startup is all about, down to the very last detail: the mission, the vision, the product, the customer, the main “raison d’etre.” Make sure you clearly articulate what you are offering, what makes you different, who your customer is, and how you plan on standing out.

4. Invest In Your Brand

The name and logo design will be born from your brand’s positioning and DNA.  If you’ve defined these properly, then your branding should be a piece of cake. That being said, make sure you spend the time to create a professional logo and an overall branding guideline document which addresses such fundamentals as color, fonts, website and print design guidelines.

5. Bootstrap It

Don’t outsource jobs that you can do (well) yourself.  Spend your available funds wisely and only on things that you absolutely must pay for.  This would also entail sourcing as many free services and programs as possible – whether it be email marketing, web hosting, or presentation programs.

6. Be Your Best Sales Person

No one will sell your company better than you.  You know it inside and out, and you are responsible for its fundamental creation.  Don’t waste funds on fancy promises made by independent salespeople or la-di-da marketing agencies.  Bite the bullet and put the message out there yourself.

7. If There Is Any Doubt, There Is No Doubt

When sourcing freelances, employees and potential partners, make sure that there is a good fit in terms of vision and beliefs.  Each person will have such a tremendous influence on your budding startup, it’s important to make sure they just get it.  So if you aren’t sure and are thinking of testing them out in order to “figure them out” – don’t be like Nike and just don’t do it.

8. Niche It

Don’t be afraid of small market sizes.  Today, most markets are saturated so it’s sometimes more strategic to target a niche market and go after it like gang busters.  With a captive market, even if it’s small, the potential for earnings can not be under-estimated.  For example, when eBay and AirBnB started out, their markets were tiny.  Now they are huge companies with a global reach.

9. Feeling Like An Idiot is OK

Running a company is hard in a number of ways.  You’re almost always in a situation in a rapidly growing business where you’ve never done this job.  And as long as you are aware of it, that’s ok.  Because this will drive you to keep learning and expanding your horizons, and becoming a better CEO.

10. Take Care Of Yourself

It’s so easy to become consumed by your passion and swept up in all of the excitement.  Long hours, tons of meetings, hundreds of emails – this is all part and parcel of the startup life.  But if you forget to take care of yourself – skipped meals, all-nighters, missed workouts, or even the day off or two – this will inevitably take its toll and you will burn out.  It will happen.  Don’t think you can beat it.

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