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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 April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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