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6 Startup Costs You Should Never Cut

6 Startup Costs You Should Never Cut

Running a startup on a limited budget is problematic. You need to cut costs and exist on minimal funds. That doesn’t mean you should make cuts everywhere, however. You must be able to make cuts in the right places, otherwise you could cause a lot of damage to your business.

These are just some of the startup costs you should never try to cut.

1. Your Product

Your product is your main offering. This is the ultimate factor that determines whether your company will succeed or whether it will fail. Put as much money as possible into your product because cutting corners will reduce the attractiveness of your offering.

That doesn’t mean you should make stupid spending decisions, but it does mean that your product, and the prototype, should get the absolute best money can buy. This could determine the fate of your business.

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2. Product Testing

Now that you have a great product, you need to test it out. This is where so many companies fail. Testing your product before it goes to market could prevent a lot of embarrassing feedback later. It’s amazing how many startups have released products that simply don’t work.

Invest in product testing and leave yourself some funds to go back to the drawing board if things don’t work how you intended.

3. Your Website

These days you can’t succeed without digital skills. And your website should be at the forefront of your thinking when it comes to a new startup. It’s your best, low-cost platform.

Your website must be user-friendly and, above all, your website must be mobile friendly. With over half of all traffic originating from mobile devices a simple desktop website is no longer enough.

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4. Your Social Media Presence

These days, social media is very much a pay-to-play platform. It’s no longer possible to simply rely on organic reach, unless you’re in the lucky few that happen to go viral. For everyone else, you must master social media advertising if you’re going to get noticed.

This means you should get started as early as possible with testing. Set some money aside to do this because it’s your best option for grabbing those first few customers.

5. Your Plan

Creating your product and marketing are crucial parts of your formula. But without a plan, you’re going to struggle to avoid wasted dollars and general confusion.

For example, let’s say a tech company has brought out its first app and it wants to target parents who need help budgeting. General social media advertising, not talking to your target market, and no timescale is only going to lead to disaster.

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But if that same company has a plan things change. Their marketing efforts are targeted at parents. They know what this audience responds to, so they’re not throwing things at a wall and hoping they stick.

6. Bringing in Talented Professionals

Some startup owners think that they have lots of time and no money, so they need to use time because it’s their greatest resource. Taking on every task in-house might seem like the best option, but that’s not so if you want to get your startup off the ground.

Doing everything yourself is a long trial and error process. And creating that consistent brand isn’t going to happen anytime soon. But by outsourcing some of the more menial tasks, you give yourself more time to focus on the things that really matter.

Many companies started out like this, as Tony Messer, CEO of Wizz Hosting Ltd says, “We made sure to bring in accountants, designers, and marketing experts on a part-time basis when we first got started. It meant spending more money, but we started to make money faster than we would have done.”

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Last Word – Even Bootstrapping Startups Never Cut Costs

The fact is that bootstrapping startups never cut costs where it matters because they know the result will be less progress, less ambition, and a poorer result in the long term. Don’t just think about the money you could save now. Think about the money you could gain in the future.

Where do you think is the best area to put money into, rather than taking it out?

Featured photo credit: Pexels / Startup Stock Photos via pexels.com

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Annie Qureshi

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on October 13, 2020

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

Have you been stuck in the same position for too long and don’t really know how to get promoted and advance your career?

Feeling stuck could be caused by a variety of things:

  • Taking a job for the money
  • Staying with an employer that no longer aligns with your values
  • Realizing that you landed yourself in the wrong career
  • Not feeling valued or feeling underutilized
  • Taking a position without a full understanding of the role

There are many other reasons why you may be feeling this way, but let’s focus instead on learning what to do now in order to get unstuck and get promoted

One of the best ways to get promoted is by showing how you add value to your organization. Did you make money, save money, improve a process, or do some other amazing thing? How else might you demonstrate added value?

Let’s dive right in to how to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position.

1. Be a Mentor

When I supervised students, I used to warm them — tongue in cheek, of course — about getting really good at their job.

“Be careful not to get too good at this, or you’ll never get to do anything else.”

This was my way of pestering them to take on additional challenges or think outside the box, but there is definitely some truth in doing something so well that your manager doesn’t trust anyone else to do it.

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This can get you stuck.

Jo Miller of Be Leaderly shares this insight on when your boss thinks you’re too valuable in your current job:

“Think back to a time when you really enjoyed your current role…You became known for doing your job so well that you built up some strong ‘personal brand’ equity, and people know you as the go-to-person for this particular job. That’s what we call ‘a good problem to have’: you did a really good job of building a positive perception about your suitability for the role, but you may have done ‘too’ good of a job!”[1]

With this in mind, how do you prove to your employer that you can add value by being promoted?

From Miller’s insight, she talks about building your personal brand and becoming known for doing a particular job well. So how can you link that work with a position or project that will earn you a promotion?

Consider leveraging your strengths and skills.

Let’s say that the project you do so well is hiring and training new entry-level employees. You have to post the job listing, read and review resumes, schedule interviews, make hiring decisions, and create the training schedules. These tasks require skills such as employee relations, onboarding, human resources software, performance management, teamwork, collaboration, customer service, and project management. That’s a serious amount of skills!

Are there any team members who can perform these skills? Try delegating and training some of your staff or colleagues to learn your job. There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea:

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  1. Cross-training helps in any situation in the event that there’s an extended illness and the main performer of a certain task is out for a while.
  2. As a mentor to a supervisee or colleague, you empower them to increase their job skills.
  3. You are already beginning to demonstrate that added value to your employer by encouraging your team or peers to learn your job and creating team players.

Now that you’ve trained others to do that work for which you have been so valued, you can see about re-requesting that promotion. Explain how you have saved the company money, encouraged employees to increase their skills, or reinvented that project of yours.

2. Work on Your Mindset

Another reason you may feel stuck in a position is explained through this quote:

“If you feel stuck at a job you used to love, it’s normally you—not the job—who needs to change. The position you got hired for is probably the exact same one you have now. But if you start to dread the work routine, you’re going to focus on the negatives.”[2]

In this situation, you should pursue a conversation with your supervisor and share your thoughts and feelings to help you learn how to get promoted. You can probably get some advice on how to rediscover the aspects of that job you enjoyed, and negotiate either some additional duties or a chance to move up.

Don’t express frustration. Express a desire for more.

Present your case and show your boss or supervisor that you want to be challenged, and you want to move up. You want more responsibility in order to continue moving the company forward. Focus on how you can do that with the skills you have and the positive mindset you’ve cultivated.

3. Improve Your Soft Skills

When was the last time you put focus and effort into upping your game with those soft skills? I’m talking about those seemingly intangible things that make you the experienced professional in your specific job skills[3].

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Use soft skills when learning how to get promoted.

    According to research, improving soft skills can boost productivity and retention 12 percent and deliver a 250 percent return on investment based on higher productivity and retention[4]. Those are only some of the benefits for both you and your employer when you want to learn how to get promoted.

    You can hone these skills and increase your chances of promotion into a leadership role by taking courses or seminars.

    Furthermore, you don’t necessarily need to request funding from your supervisor. There are dozens of online courses being presented by entrepreneurs and authors about these very subjects. Udemy and Creative Live both feature online courses at very reasonable prices. And some come with completion certificates for your portfolio!

    Another way to improve your soft skills is by connecting with an employee at your organization who has a position similar to the one you want.

    Express your desire to move up in the organization, and ask to shadow that person or see if you can sit in on some of their meetings. Offer to take that individual out for coffee and ask what their secret is! Take copious notes, and then immerse yourself in the learning.

    The key here is not to copy your new mentor. Rather, you want to observe, learn, and then adapt according to your strengths.

    4. Develop Your Strategy

    Do you even know specifically why you want to learn how to get promoted? Do you see a future at this company? Do you have a one-year, five-year, or ten-year plan for your career path? How often do you consider your “why” and insure that it aligns with your “what”?

    Sit down and make an old-fashioned pro and con list.

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    Write down every positive aspect of your current job and then every negative one. Which list is longer? Are there any themes present?

    Look at your lists and choose the most exciting pros and the most frustrating cons. Do those two pros make the cons worth it? If you can’t answer that question with a “yes,” then getting promoted at your current organization may not be what you really want[5].

    The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. —Mark Twain

    Here are some questions to ask yourself:

    • Why do you do what you do?
    • What thrills you about your current job role or career?
    • What does a great day look like?
    • What does success look and feel like beyond the paycheck?
    • How do you want to feel about your impact on the world when you retire?

    Define success to get promoted

      These questions would be great to reflect on in a journal or with your supervisor in your next one-on-one meeting. Or, bring it up with one of your work friends over coffee.

      Final Thoughts

      After considering all of these points and doing your best to learn how to get promoted, what you might find is that being stuck is your choice. Then, you can set yourself on the path of moving up where you are, or moving on to something different.

      Because sometimes the real promotion is finding your life’s purpose.

      More Tips on How to Get Promoted

      Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

      Reference

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