4 Things A Successful Startup Should Be Doing

Do you want to have a successful startup business? The start of a new year isn’t just the ideal time to focus on health-related resolutions (exercise more, eat right, quit smoking, the list’s endless), it’s also a perfect opportunity to stop being unhappy at your current job and start a business.

A new year means a new business or business plan for a number of entrepreneurs. But startups can be a difficult route. The path to profitability and success littered with the failed businesses that were unable to keep up with the pace of entrepreneurship in this country.

As overwhelming as it may seem, Income.com advises you to never be discouraged. The world of small business boils down to survival of the fittest, and in order to take your business from a minnow to the top of the food chain, you will have to dedicate your blood, sweat and tears – maybe even your sanity – to the cause. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, but if you have a driving ambition, separate your business from the pack and nurture your customer base, success will surely be within grasp.

Gain traction

Everybody has to start somewhere, but not everybody ends up in the same place. The key to winning the race is busting out of the gate with the intention to succeed at all costs. That’s why it’s crucial you build momentum for your startup.

Momentum can entail all sorts of things: customer awareness, engaging marketing, pitches to vendors and investors and general buzz, all of which can be accomplished on a budget. Want to get the word out? Recruit your family, friends and network to hype your business to people they work with or others they interact with on a regular basis.

Like Peter Baskerville says in a recent Forbes guest column, you’ve got to “be a little quirky.” Remember, there is no such thing as bad press. The only way for you to get recognized is by putting yourself out there. Work with local journalists or news sources and craft a fun-loving presence that will intrigue people. Zany marketing ploys or not, just understand you need to build a considerable public profile.

Lots of work and little play

Don’t have any delusions on just how much work this can mean for you. Taking your startup from zero to hero can take a Herculean effort, and entrepreneurs ought to understand what they’re getting themselves into.

Aaron Schlidkrout, who started online dating site HowAboutWe that now boasts some 1 million users since its launch in early 2010, recently told Business Insider that he and his partner worked up to 90 hours a week, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“If you’re not willing to do that, you shouldn’t launch a startup,” Schlidkrout said.

However, working long hours to achieve your small-business dream doesn’t mean you should work 24/7. Entrepreneurs need to understand when to take time for yourself. Set project time limits to keep yourself on task and get regular sleep even if you have to force yourself.

Keep yourself grounded

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your small-business empire won’t be either. However, many entrepreneurs start off with illusions of grandeur only to crash when they lose sight of the task at hand, which is grooming your startup business into a money-making machine, not launching it into outer space from the get-go.

Michael Cummings, a professor at Babson College, cautions startup entrepreneurs that keeping in touch with the reality of the situation is the key to success.

“Act smartly,” Cummings told GeekWire. “Make sure you are stepping on firm ground. What does the world really look like? Take small steps with what you’ve got at hand and limit the risk for each step. Don’t look through rose-colored glasses. Reality is a good thing. Surprises bring opportunities. They can also be a problem, but if you solve them, they can be your asset.”

Focus on customers

Planning growth strategies is an important step to startup success, but all the strategizing in the world won’t help you if you don’t have customers.

One way to ensure consumer spending comes your way is to nurture your customer base. Once you gain a solid foundation of customers, don’t completely abandon them to court a new group of consumers. You can maintain and recruit customers, but you should always dedicate time to your existing clientele. Extending discounts to repeat customers is a tactic to strengthen your base. Identify high-frequency customers and big-value spenders in order to mine them for more money.

Income.com knows that starting a business is often a monumental task for entrepreneurs. It requires dedication, and though greater than many other business endeavors, the financial payoff and personal freedom can be enough of a reward for all that sacrifice. Establish yourself from the outset, understand startups take time and precision, and always pay attention to your customers. Take these factors into account and apply them to your own startup. Success waits for those who try hardest.