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The importance of experienced guidance for start-ups

Launching a new business requires problem solving skills and dealing with different issues that shall undoubtedly arise. A start-up business will likely start off with limited resources, yet the entrepreneur would need to face challenges pertaining to finance, sales, legal, insurance, office management, human resources, marketing and more. Many would deem entrepreneurship as an exciting career choice, yet most fail in the initial stages due to the lack of experience and adequate guidance. In fact, a significant number of start-ups fail in their first year. In this interview article, we shall be discussing the importance of experienced guidance for start-ups and what such businesses need to keep in mind, with the Founder and CEO of MYC, Simon Attard.

Commitments and challenges for start-ups

Those venturing into the business world may underestimate the efforts required to create a successful organisation. It requires no short amount of time, resources and energy to grow a business sustainably. Discipline is needed to maintain the survival of a company, especially as finances are dry and revenue generation opportunities are limited.

Creating a great product or service

Businesses thrive by offering a product or service that is needed by a target market, at a reasonable price. In the midst of the competition and clutter, it is quite easy to understand why the overwhelming majority of the products that go to market do not last for the long-term. In this respect, start-up businesses need to invest time in research to ensure that their products or services are relevant to the target audience. Although businesses should go to market with attractive products, this does not mean that the launch of the organisation should be delayed without justifiable reasons. Balance is therefore key here and striving for perfection may hinder the organisation.

Getting your marketing in order

Establishing marketing priorities can be challenging, especially for start-up businesses. Although it might be enticing to experiment with everything, one should work based on what’s important first. Digital marketing channels can be more cost-effective and affordable for businesses that have not yet established a strong budget for promotion. Important channels in anticipation of a new business should include a website detailing the different services effectively and a steady stream of content to feature on social media channels. A launch video to feature on the website and social media channels should also be considered. One of the main reasons why digital is suggested over traditional marketing is because through online, metrics can be analysed, enabling a business to understand what channels are working best based on the investment made.

Hiring the right talent

At some point or another, growing businesses will need to engage employees. Some start-ups will need employees from inception. Staff members have the capacity to make or break a business, which is why start-ups need to hire smartly. As a business would be finding its feet, it is necessary to engage the employees that are needed for operational continuity. This is easier said than done, even more so in today’s context, where finding employees is a major struggle for most businesses across all industries.

Familiarity with sales techniques

In the initial stages, it is highly likely that the business owner would need to sell the product or service on his or her own. Most start-ups would not have the budgets to recruit salespeople. This stage would follow after regular income has been established and further growth is targeted.

Protecting intellectual property

The initial expenses of a start-up operation might make it tempting to overlook the protection of intellectual property. For those who have never engaged in this process, it might feel complex, overwhelming and costly. There are different ways how a start-up can protect its intellectual property. When it comes to a new product, a start-up may consider a patent. Copyright protects authorship and is ideal for those start-up businesses involved in the creation of original work. Through an effective copyright, only the start-up itself may authorise copies of the work or similar creations such as sequels and revisions. For the protection of logos, symbols, names, words and other branding, a trademark is typically opted for. To further protect a start-up’s intellectual property, confidentiality agreements and NDAs must also be in place when ideas and plans are discussed with third parties.

Principles of financial management

Owners and leaders of start-ups would need to become familiar with the basics of finance and related management techniques. Whilst the creation of different revenue streams will help a business to thrive, so will prudent and conservative cost management. Many start-ups fail because entrepreneurs do not manage to adjust their expenditure adequately and hence run out of money. Having tight controls in place which allow a business to stick to monthly budgets, can allow the necessary cash flow to enable non-interrupted operations. Being conversant in financial matters also allows an entrepreneur to deal better with potential investors and partners.

At times, the difference between a start-up that succeeds and one that fails is simply the partners selected to guide the business. Partnering with the right people and organisations can be highly influential when seen in the context of the long-term. Having been in business for the past ten years, MYC is adamant in assisting start-ups to navigate through the challenges of the initial cycles. To learn more about how MYC can help start-ups, send an email on [email protected] outlining your project.

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