Entrepreneurs take a leap of faith and launch their startups every day. That first step is far from easy. Not knowing where to begin, recognizing potential pitfalls, or transitioning from idea to market can make the steps that follow much harder.
Thankfully there are mentors out there, industry experts or successful entrepreneurs, who can guide startups along that rollercoaster of starting or growing their business. Here at Spark Centre, our clients have access to such mentors: a diverse team of incredible advisors with expertise in marketing, finance, investment, sales and more who share their wealth of knowledge and experience to support their growth. So who better to offer expert advice about what startups need to consider for success than our advisors?
We asked seven of our incredible advisors for their top tips for startup success, and they didn’t disappoint. Read on to read what they had to say.
“Plan your startup without you in it. Too often, I see startups built up around the founder without any focus on building operational intelligence into the business. If the only one who knows how to run the business and serve customers is the founder, the business can’t scale.” – Kevin Smith, The Story Architect, Marketing Advisor
“Like us all, each startup is a complex organism, made so greatly by the number of stakeholders and their geographies. Expect that your company will need twice as much time and money to do what you expect to accomplish, and with that, plan for the worst and execute for the best. Because as we know — and those under conflict around the world know too well — shit will happen repeatedly.” – Garry Innanen, Inntrinsic Inc., AI/Technology/Sales Advisor
“Founders who have invented technology products understand the steps in the design and development of their products but fail to use that same thinking process when trying to find customers. To be successful, you must build a repeatable prospect attraction and engagement system to connect with new customers and move them through the buying process. This means you need a substantial sales and marketing budget. Relying on free social media, SEO, and your website is a recipe for FAILURE.” – Robert Weese, B2B Sales Connections, Sales Advisor
“Always understand the regulatory requirements for your new product launch. Whether your new product is a local launch, a provincial launch, or a launch across a country or even internationally, you need to understand the regulatory requirements for your product at all levels and ensure you have developed a plan that ensures you have proper validation of all regulatory requirements. You might be surprised at how regulatory requirements can change your product, and it’s your responsibility to ensure compliance.” – Nancy Post, NP Tech Enterprises, Food Industry Advisor
“It costs twice as much, takes twice as long, and then some more! Most entrepreneurs underestimate the costs, expenses and time to revenue when building their startup business. It’s important to have realistic assumptions underlying your cash flow projections and financial metrics that compare with your industry peers.” – Peter Mandl, Finance Advisor
“All market segments are not created equal–take the time to find the ideal “problem-market” fit that leads to maximizing value. Regardless of how incredible the idea is, we MUST eventually make the “numbers” work, meaning that eventually, revenues must be consistently higher than costs to turn a profit. That sounds obvious but getting there is not.
The “market” doesn’t care about how amazing our inventions are per se. The market only “cares” whether there is a market segment that sees incredible value in the “problem” that we are solving for them. That means we must use primary and secondary research to find a market segment(s) that HAS the pain that the core problem is causing.
When solving this pain, the customer receives incredible value; and when they receive value, they will pay for your innovation. Take your time to research your target markets, and find the one that has the best fit. The better you align the problem you are solving with the market segment—the more value you will create and increase the probability of your success.” – Chris Giantsopoulos, Marketing Advisor
“Becoming an entrepreneur is not a job or even a career. It is a lifestyle. It will be one of the hardest things you will ever do. So you must never give up!
As an entrepreneur, for every one thing that works for your business, you will find ten things that don’t. So you must never give up!
As an entrepreneur, you will talk to 10 people who won’t listen to your business idea for every person that will. So you must never give up!
As an entrepreneur, you will speak with dozens of prospects before you find somebody that says yes, “I will buy that!” So you must never give up!
Over time success will be within reach and will bring you an incredible level of personal satisfaction and respect from others. So you must never give up!” – Rick McCutcheon, Full Contact Selling, Digital Sales/Sales Advisor