Thursday, 27 February 2014

10 Essential Tips for a Successful Start-up from Scott Assemakis

Scott Assemakis is one to know how difficult it can be to get started building your own business. Statistics tell us that three out of four start-ups fail. It only makes sense that you don’t feel exactly comfortable at the beginning of this journey. The odds are against you, after all. But in the end, why even bother? Why go through all that effort knowing that there’s a high chance you’ll fail?

As Scott points out, it is because you have a dream. A great idea, and an ambition to improve other people’s lives. It’s about the entrepreneurial spirit within you, and this is not something you can exactly explain.

And that is why today we are going to look at 10 tips that are sure to improve the chances of turning your start-up dream into reality.

1. Believe in your idea: Scott Assemakis

If you don’t believe your idea has a great potential, then why would anyone else? Why would other people believe and buy from you? No matter what happens, always believe in yourself and don’t let anything stop you.

Be prepared to be accountable for your actions. Many start-ups fail because as unexpected limitations arise, their founders don’t believe enough to get over the obstacle.

No matter how much you research, sometimes you make mistakes. Continue believing in your idea and learn from failures. You and your business will move forward.

Your confidence in the real value you’re offering your customers will often times make the difference between sale and no-sale.

2. You don’t have to do everything by yourself

You don’t have to do everything by yourself
Find an experienced partner who shares your passion for what you want to do. Bring them aboard and use their knowledge and experience to boost your way towards success. You should also outsource things that you’re not very good at, and focus on your strengths instead. Studies have shown that the biggest indicator of why start-ups fail is sole-time founders trying to do everything by themselves. Greatly improve your chances of success by getting a co-founder to work with. Have someone to watch your back, and be the one to watch his.

3. Have a great vision, and keep perfecting: Scott Assemakis

Never stop perfecting. Your idea is great, but nothing is perfect. Keep improving it by constantly brainstorming with other members of your team.

Even when everything is going well, keep thinking innovatively and develop new features for your products and services.

How can we serve our customers even better? This is a question you should ask yourself and your team every once in a while.

Steve Jobs never stopped improving Apple. Constantly redesigning the iMac, following up with new generations of iPods, introducing Siri to the world – all of these innovative developments constantly perfected Apple’s products.

Many see Jobs as a leader in the field, mostly for his futuristic vision of achieving perfection. Have an ambitious vision, and keep working your way towards it.

4. Learn how to communicate your ideas efficiently

You will be dealing with important people whose services you’re going to need. Whether its funding or design you want to bring an improvement to, you have to communicate it efficiently.

If you’re not confident speaking in front of people, you will subtly communicate lack of confidence in your idea. Your ability to communicate your vision correctly, in a strong and confident manner, is essential. Communication skills can be developed, and there are numerous great books out there on the subject.

You should develop positive communication within the business, as well. Many start-ups fail because of lack of communication.

From the day you start, talk to your employees and find out what can be improved. Be open to hearing their point of view. Their insight can make the difference between failure and success.

5. Research is Key

You need to know your target market, your competitors and your potential suppliers. With this knowledge, you will enter the business with a full understanding of your industry.

Research is Key : Scott Assemakis
Google Answers is one popular start-up example that failed because they didn’t respect this rule. They didn’t realise that people weren’t willing to pay for a service that their competitors were offering for free elsewhere.

If Google had done their market research, the time and money may not have been wasted.

6. Make sure your idea is profitable

By researching, you’ll find if your product is profitable or not. Look for a source with the lowest cost and highest quality, but don’t let bulk buying fool you. Whilst it may lower costs, if you cannot sell your stock, you will be stuck in an economic crisis. To prevent this, plan your production runs carefully and forecast sales as well as you can.

Most medical innovation start-ups are subject to this. Despite an amazing breakthrough by Novartis in a breast cancer drug, the NICE decided that it was too expensive to fund, resulting in the innovation to collapse.

7. Don’t compromise on quality

Every start-up makes sacrifices to save money. Don’t let quality be one of them. Your business’s reputation is at stake, and making big quality sacrifices to save money as a start-up can make your image very difficult to fix later.

Don’t compromise on quality : Scott Assemakis
Additionally, make sure your product passes all of the required quality control tests, especially if your industry is particularly sensitive to this.

Chobani is one example of a product that was eventually forced to recall from the market because it didn’t meet imposed quality standards. After their failure, they tried to improve PR by donating 10% of their profits to charity. Being a large established company, they were able to pick themselves up. For a start-up however, everything would have ended there.

8. Learn to fight procrastination

Procrastination happens to all of us. One key skill entrepreneurs share, however, is their ability to fight it. Time is money, and you have to learn how to make efficient use of it.

Moreover, because you’ve decided to provide value to the world by yourself instead of being an employee, there will be no one out there to make up the schedule for you, or to motivate you when you don’t feel like working. All of this falls on your shoulders now.

The good news is that, as with most entrepreneurial skills, becoming more productive can be learned. There are a lot of great books out there on the subject, and Tim Ferris’s 4-Hour Workweek is a great one to begin with.

9. Patience: Scott Assemakis

The average start-up takes 10 years to mature. Take your time, enjoy everything you’re doing and the things that you’re learning. Be in it for the long run, because building a business is definitely not a get rich quick solution.

You’ll come across unexpected situations and you will be unsure of how to approach them. Don’t rush any decisions if you have the option to sit back and think it through. Avoid tunnel vision and seek to better understand the big picture instead.

10. Don’t forget about the other aspects of your life

You are your start-up. If you neglect yourself, you neglect your business. Work smart and remember that your results don’t depend solely on how much you work, but on the quality of the time spent working as well.

Look to increase your productivity by taking good care of your health and sleep schedule. Don’t forget to also indulge in leisure from time to time. Have some fun and forget about business once in a while.

When you return, you’ll be fresh and ready to work smart again.

Connect with Scott Assemakis

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An experienced entrepreneur who loves speaking with like-minded business enthusiasts, so you should definitely connect with Scott Assemakis on Twitter and LinkedIn.