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12 Helpful Tips That Startups Should Know

12 Helpful Tips That Startups Should Know

The world has been built upon ideas and people willing to risk everything to see an end to it. There is no such thing as a “safe job” today. However, while the idea of having one’s own company is exciting, there are several other faculties that startups should have to be successful in this highly competitive world. No wonder, there would be challenges but the real success lies in being rightly prepared for the eventualities. Throughout the ages, there have been several startups trying to make a mark in the market but most of them end up getting bankrupt or giving up to the continued challenges. Here are 12 important tips that every startup should know.

1. Startups should have a strict purpose

Startups should have a definite purpose of their presence. They should not deal with several things all at once. A singular goal for the brand helps streamline their ideas and investment in the right places. The business can grow and diversify once you have made a mark but initially, every startup should be planning for a singular goal.

2. Startups should work fast and hard

Startups should work hard and reach the first goals as soon as possible. It doesn’t take long for ideas to leak and there is ample chance that somebody else with the resources will be willing to work upon and build his business upon yours. Don’t give your competitors a chance to overtake your ideas. Plan beforehand and start delivering as soon as you are good to go.

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3. Startups should not hesitate to fire

Startups should not be the place to show compassion. If someone in the team is not delivering and incapable of fulfilling his/her responsibilities, don’t hesitate to find a replacement. Of course, you give new people a strict time period to get acquainted with the company but they should be showing their contributions in numbers soon. For any startups, their team plays a very important role behind success or failure. You should accordingly build your team that can understand your ideas and can execute it.

4. Startups should charge flat fees

Startups should opt for flat project payments rather than overall project payments. Divide the project into accountable chunks of deliverables and make sure you are paid for what you have been doing. This way, you will not lose upon the entire payment if the client doesn’t seem to like the final output. Work upon ideas, make sure that the client is willing to follow, and handle every process so taht they pay for every step taken towards the goal.

5. Startups should get paid upfront

Startups should be relying more on advances to take up a project. In the initial days, workload will be less and you will be able to devote all your time to the present project. If a client refuses to pay an advance for a project, simply refuse to work for them.

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6. Startups should not go for bulk work and cheap clients

Startups should be setting a high standard from the first project itself. Don’t get attracted to bulk and cheap project that guarantees a long term payment but doesn’t do justice to the hard work you put into it. Clients will get unrealistic in their demands and seek discounts, especially when they realize you are new to the industry. However, it is best to have a strict pricing strategy and show that you deserve to be paid like the best in the business.

7. Startups should learn the products

Startups should be working on lean products initially rather than taking up extensive projects with an unpredictable delivery time. You can always add on to your product at later stages, but focus on the core in the initial days. Therein lay the quality and the credit. Anyone with the right tools can do the decorations. Rotimatic is one of the best example of such startup which is growing steadily and are well respected from their audiences.

8. Startups should have constant communication between employees

There should be thorough and fast communication between each member of the team. Every member should know what others are up to and this makes it easier to work towards a common goal. Depending on your area of expertise and industry, you should also be looking to use your space more wisely and strategically to entertain the maximum number of clients and work out on maximized production/service. You should also keep motivating your employees as it is very much important for startups that their employees are motivated to take new challenges.

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9. Startups should have an experience to drives ideas

Startups should be looking up to experienced professionals to take their idea forward and in the right directions. Seasoned players from the industry are a huge addition to any startup. Once you start getting experience, you will keep learning from it and can help you at long term bases. Let’s take an example of eCommerce vendor; I found that many vendors do manual research and spend lot of time in just comparing the price of their product with competitors. Just think, how much you are spending on this simple research work? If it is a senior executive, the simple price comparison work may cost you in thousands of dollars. You can easily get this job done using price comparison solutions like datacrops at very reasonable cost and in very efficient manner. Once you face such problems, you will start finding the solution based on your previous experience.

10. Startups should separate the duties

Startups should have a definite business structure. The executive who is looking into client queries shouldn’t also be the one working upon the accounts. There are hundreds of tools available in market to help you manage the projects and users efficiently. One of my favorite project manage tool is Trello, a free project management tool that can reduce your headache to manage multiple projects.

11. Startups should save money for eventualities

Startups shouldn’t be risking everything following a dream. In case your idea and business place doesn’t work out, you should have enough in the bank to take you forward in life. All ideas do not get success and failure is not end of this world. You should keep yourself prepared for any outcome of your startup. You should be ready to face failure too.

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12. Startups should maintain the discipline with co-workers

Startups should not be a place to make company or find your love. You should be having strict professional relationships in the workplace, whatever product or service you might be working upon. This is the only way you can keep everyone on their toes and willing to give their best. Work culture has a huge impact on overall output and it is very important for startups to maintain discipline with co-workers.

Conclusion:

The journey of an entrepreneur is just like an adventure, you should be ready to do lot of hard work. Sometimes you will face strange challenges and may think to quit but your self confidence and these important tips will help you find the best possible way towards your success.

Featured photo credit: Robert Scoble via flic.kr

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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