Top 10 Tips When Starting Your New Business
When we started JAG there were 3 of us in the business, but I was the only one working full time. I needed to find ways to keep busy, not an easy task when you don’t really know what the company is trying to achieve... But 5 months later, and JAG turned a profit for the first time and we had found plenty to keep busy on.
After two years there were only two of us in the office running a lean operation, outsourcing creative and IT but doing everything else. The business was simple and we had 5 main clients and not too many moving parts.
But inevitably, we found we needed to hire in order to keep growing and stay ahead of the market. The business became a lot more complex, but also more robust.
Here are some tips I have learned along the way:
1. Choose to partner with your competitors. You will never be all things to all companies, so collaborating means you can concentrate on what you are really good at.
2. Put in place accounting systems and practices as soon as possible. Knowing your numbers gives you clarity on where your business is. Also think about how you want to see your revenue and cost categories and set up the accounts to report that way. Think about the excel reports you use to monitor your business and set accounts to mirror those.
3. I.T. and systems: If your company is technical, have someone on exco or part of management that has an IT background. Otherwise when your company expands, systems will hold you back.
4. Expanding into new territories or internationally is not as easy as you think. We have tried in Brazil, Australia, the UAE, Croatia and USA, learned many lessons, but pretty much failed in all. It’s only now that we have expanded into Africa with partners on the ground that we are starting to make things work.
5. Try and have a balance of high level drivers as well as detailed operational people. Too many drivers will mean the ops fall behind and not having someone to drive the sales will mean you get stuck in the detail and don’t chase the opportunities.
6. Speak to as many people as you can. Meetings that you think will be a waste of time will often yield great opportunities. People will often have a whole different set of opportunities hidden in their back pocket.
7. Stick to your knitting. Expansion into areas that aren't your core focus are often going to draw all your focus away from the things that make your company tick.
8. You don't need to build everything in house. IT should only be focused on building and maintaining things that are core to the business. Buy or outsource the rest.
9. Always be measuring: Excel is your best marketing tool. Until you have fancy IT and can build Qlikview of course!
10. Hire good people and let them play to their strengths. Someone with ambition and ability can to do the job of multiple people which allows you to focus on your business. Partner and work with experts.