My company has already passed the critical phase that determines the survival of a start up. And I want to share with you what I have learned.
The first few years will be the most delicate and complicated, get ready. What happens in those first months is what determines its success, or failure.
The mistakes that can be made are many, and the unexpected. Preparing and planning everything is impossible, but some advice can be useful. Here is a somewhat special guide, from my experience.
Never lose enthusiasm
You have to believe it all the way. You will encounter problems, setbacks, inconveniences.
But you will never have to step back, go on stubbornly.
Repeat to yourself, like a mantra: it is my project, it is my project, it is my project. If the motivation that guides you fails, you will succumb to problems, tiredness, unexpected events.
All day long
The days will be long and you will work hard.
You will be on the front line, you will find yourself doing the work of more people, because you will not be able to afford to pay collaborators.
Learn to fight
Choose partners and collaborators with whom you feel comfortable, with whom there is harmony, but also with whom you can fight without creating irremediable fractures.
Especially with the partners, a very close relationship will be established.
The common interests will be many and consistent, and you will almost become a family. And as in all families we often fight, but then we have to make peace.
And as for the collaborators: choose them young. Even if inexperienced, they learn quickly. They cost less, an important detail for a start up.
Learn to manage stress
You may have money problems, late payments with the risk of affecting the quality of work, the climate, relationships (see previous point).
It is essential not to be dominated by problems and stress.
Be prepared for the negative sign
Don’t be obsessed with cash flow. At the beginning, you will be at a loss.
The income will be less than the output.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, you must be the first investor. However, if the situation does not improve, and the problem persists, review your strategy.
Be quick and flexible
If things are not going as planned, you need to understand what the problem is and act quickly.
Do not stay anchored to the project you have made and to the business plan: adjust the strategy from time to time.
It can be useful to do periodic checks to check that everything is under control, or if it is necessary to intervene.
Don’t stop laughing
Smile! Don’t forget it, even when you’re overworked and back with deliveries.
Don’t lose the desire to have fun and play, look for new stimuli.
Do not turn your creature into white-collar work from which you fled.
Once the activity is at full capacity, you will be so overworked that you will no longer have time to take breaks.
This is one of the most serious mistakes you can make.
You have to keep updating, make the effort to renew yourself, know what your competitors are doing, find out what the latest fashion social network is.
After some time, if you cannot keep the level of surprise high, your customers will soon tire of you.
And every now and then, turn off the brain
Force yourself to do it. You have to find a way to distract yourself, to bring out the stress.
If you are 365 days a year focused on your project, you risk imploding.
Take a break, go around. It will be useful to recharge and to take new stimuli.
And if things don’t go as you wish …
No panic: breathe and come up with an idea to solve problems.
Take care of your digital identity: blog, facebook, linkedin.
If there is a business plan problem that does not work. Don’t be afraid to admit it.
Try to understand what the problem is and take specific action. Also consider going to a consultant to help you.