3 Essential Ingredients For Start Up Success
The job market globally is shrinking daily, if not minutes. You may have no option but to start up something of your own or perhaps you are already thinking about it.
Well, I have good news because after 12 years of research and observation of people who start up their own enterprise or Not for Profit Organisations, we have now identified what we believe to be the key ingredients for business success.
According to the UK’s Times Newspaper, “Start up businesses have a very high failure rate in this country with as many as 1 in 3 failing in their first three years.” There is an element of truth to this statement according to our findings in the research.
However, we have discovered the three essential ingredients that will equip you not to be part of the failure statistics whether you are starting a business, enterprise, social enterprise, community interest company or an NGO (Non Government Organisation). These ingredients, if you implement them, you will surely succeed because most start ups have got their priorities wrong. Hence why there is a high lever of causality or failures in their ventures.
The 3 essential ingredients for start up success are:
What is Marketing?
Chartered Instituted of Marketing (CIM) defines marketing as “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”
Jay Levinson, the father of Guerrilla Marketing defines Marketing as “is any contact by any member of your company with members of the public.”
What is the marketing process?
The well known 7 P’s highlight the sequence in the marketing process: – Develop your Product, Place or Position it in the marketplace, Promote it at theRight Price with the right People, Processes and Physical Evidence.
As a start up success, I will strongly recommend that you try your best to implement or adapt the Jay Levinson definition for your venture.
I like what Vince Stanzione, in his book, ‘How To Stop Existing and Start Living’ summarises why marketing is key for any business. “No enquiries means no orders, no orders means no money, no money means no business, no business means you are out on the street!”
2. Money Money
I am sure you’ve heard many people say that you don’t need money to start a business. Do you agree or disagree?
My take is that this statement is far from the truth because in my experience of over 20 years helping start ups, if you want to be taken seriously you do need to spend some money in order for potential clients/customer to consider you. I have over 50 business ideas that you can start without a penny but the problem appears when you are trying to market the idea.
Let’s take the business of music promotion or working as a promoter – a business synonymous with the ethnic minority communities in the UK. What tools do you need to start this business?
You will need a telephone line, a mobile phone, business cards, an email address and a website for sure in today’s climate. Now, it is a fact that you can get all these tools you need for free, nevertheless, it comes at a price. For example free business cards from VistaPrint will have VistaPrint logo on the back and guess why it’s free, you are promoting them indirectly.
A free email address from Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and many others equates to you promoting them. You could argue that this does not matter but remember the definition of marketing as shown above. As basic as these tools are, they are the first thing a potential client will see about you before engaging with your service.
Let me tell you a true story that happened when I was networking in Lewisham, London. At the networking event full of start ups and small business owners there were three businesses with identical design for their business cards and guess where they all got it from? You guess VistaPrint. Is this a good impression for the new businesses? I let you be the judge. However, for a small fee you can have the VistaPrint logo removed and you can do it with all the other services as well. I am sure there is a charge for delivery. Really all I am trying to drive home here is that you need finance to start a business.
How can you raise finance to start up?
If you are starting up generally there are four options to raise finance:
Self-funding using your own money from saving or pension or redundancy or assets.
Friends & Family giving you money to start up
Grants these have constrains which could be geographical or specific sector/ industries
Borrowing from banks in form of loans or overdrafts, Business Angels, Other financial institutes
I will write a specific article on funding a start up; this will show you some of the advantage and disadvantage of each of the options above.
The word mentor is cliched in the ethnic minority communities because everybody is a mentor of some form or another even though some of them have not been successful in what they are mentoring people in. However, a good mentor is not your friend instead he is your coach. Your mentor will help keep you focused and motivated in your work. You can have more than one mentor and you can have them for different areas of your life.
What is a mentor?
A mentor is a person that is generally older and more experienced in a particular field but assist and stir another person in their growth. The dictionary definition of a mentor is “an experienced and trusted advisor,” “trusted counsellor, guide, tutor or coach,” or a “person who imparts wisdom.”
How to choose a Mentor?
Choosing a mentor can be summarised into 4 stages they are as follows:
Make a list of potential mentors
Do some research for case studies or client testimony
Pick a mentor that has achieved in your area of need
Ensure that your mentor is totally committed to your achievement
Sometimes you would like a person to be your mentor but you can’t have access to them directly or you can’t afford it. Then research to establish if they have any products in the marketplace that can help you develop – it may be a workshop series on DVD, books or audio programmes. Some mentors in the business world now have academies online for people to access for a fee and mentorship are delivered on these platforms. Depending on the issues that you feel you need a mentor for, you may already have people in your network that could mentor you, so remember to check through your networks.
So the three essential ingredients for start up success are marketing, finance and mentoring. Until the next article ‘whatever you do today, please do it WELL