Stop using your startup status as an excuse to fail

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Startup failure is far too common. In fact, it’s estimated that over 75 percent of venture-backed startups actually fail. In addition, half of all startups fail within the first five years, and up to 70 percent of those that survive will fall after a decade. It’s a worrying statistic, and many people have fooled themselves to believe that failure is to be expected and should even be embraced.

Embracing Failure is an Illusion
People will tell you that embracing failure is a natural part of being an entrepreneur. In fact, there are many famous entrepreneurs who have failed in business before being able to start something bigger and better. Big names like Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg and even Colonel Sanders are known to have failed in the past, so people take that as a reason to assume failing is ok.

What people usually say is that failing teaches you and gives you experience. That’s absolutely correct—at least if you’re living in the old days before computers existed and everything is documented for the long term. So why rely on outdated information and traditions in order to become a successful entrepreneur? There are plenty of famous business owners who have written autobiographies and discussed many of their success secrets. Why not learn from these entrepreneurs and work to not fail instead?

With all of the information available, you should really rethink the mantra “failure is fine”. Sure, failure is fine in a sense that it puts you in your place, but anyone who says “we can learn from our failures” is taking the most difficult rote to learn the lessons. Whether it’s online guides, videos, webinars or biographies, there’s an entire world’s worth of information out there that you can use to learn how to run a business, be it a startup or a large corporation. Be resourceful, learn to use the tools and resources available to you and develop new ways to run your company. Don’t rely on outdated worth-of-mouth business practices and stop using the “we’re a startup” excuse as a means of failure.

Preparing Your Startup for the Long Haul
One of the first things you need to change is your way of thinking. You should understand that if you plan for failure, you’re going to fail. (Note: This is very different from having contingency plans, which is just good business.) You need to think about your business differently and you need to approach startups in a different way. Instead of thinking that you’ll use a startup to improve your knowledge and build future ideas, why not plan for success?

It doesn’t take long to search for tips for starting your business on the internet review ways to avoid failure.  You wouldn’t buy a car unless you knew how to drive properly (unless you’re extremely wealthy) and had done extensive research, so why would you start a business without first knowing how it works and how to improve?

In addition, if you’re going to act like a startup then you will likely be treated like a startup by investors and partners.  For instance, if you’ve grown enough that you need to hire an employee or two, you could rent office space to begin separating your home and work life. Employees are necessary if you want to grow your business, so don’t neglect the importance of bringing your startup out of the home office and into the corporate world when you’re ready.

Stop using your startup status as an excuse to fail. It’s pointless to manage a business if you’re not willing to go the whole way. What’s the point of starting a business if you’re going to end up failing anyway? It’s a waste of time and money, and who’s to say that your next attempt will be better if you go into it with the same mindset? How many businesses (and subsequently, jobs) will you ruin just to sate your need for “knowledge?” Learn about the industry, study how to run a business and get it right your first try to save time, money and effort.

Advertisements

The options for breaking into the rental market

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

If you’re looking to set up a business in an area that’s always going to be in high demand, then owning a rental property might be a good choice. If you’re curious and deciding whether this is for you, here are three different ways you can consider getting started.

Cosmetic Makeover
In some cases, you might be lucky enough to just get away with a cosmetic makeover of a property. Some properties can look very worn and in bad condition from a glance but are structurally sound, and all they need is a few finishing touches or a coat of paint. In most cases, you will probably need to replaster walls, paint and add new carpets and do a very thorough deep cleaning. Depending on the condition of the kitchen you might need to refit a new one, or in some cases simply adding new modern door fronts and fixtures might do the trick. The same applies to the bathroom, you might need to refit the entire thing, but it might just need some new tiles. Pay attention to curb appeal as well and make sure you landscape.

Full Renovation
Some properties will be in need of a full renovation, or perhaps you have something specific in mind that you want to achieve with the project. If so, tearing out walls, moving plumbing, new windows, having the electrics re-done and more will be on the agenda. Renovating is good as it allows you to totally transform a property, by either bringing it up to date or completely changing it around. You can put your own mark on it and create a property that’s stunning and functional- something you know will be snapped up by buyers. This should only be under the supervision of a licensed contractor and the advice of an accountant. There can be serious issues such as pests, rot, or asbestos.

Build From Scratch
Another option you have would be to build entirely from scratch. While of course, this is a far bigger project, it’s may be less expensive than you might think and could make a very appealing rental property. These days you can have homes built from alternative materials which are quicker to put up and cheaper too, have a look at this steel building cost estimator for example to see what kind of savings you could make compared to bricks and mortar. You do have the issue of finding a plot of land and going through your local municipality for all the licensing and permits but the actual build itself can be relatively straightforward.

DIY Marketing Tips

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Marketing is going to eat up a massive part of your business budget unless you DIY. You might be wondering if it’s possible to market your business without any additional help. The answer is yes, it can be, but tread cautiously here. Many business owners who pursue DIY marketing end up in serious trouble after stumbling on black hat SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing, which is stuffing your content with keywords will result in poor search rankings. 

Get The Knowledge
The first step to ensuring that you can DIY marketing for your business effectively is making sure that you have the right knowledge. You may want to consider pursuing a degree in marketing. With a marketing MBA, you will have a broad knowledge and some basic skills in SEO, AdWords and social media promotion. All of these tactics can be used effectively to build up a business brand online. The best part about this is that many of these courses are available to study online, in your spare time, while you’re running the business.

The basics of marketing like SEO are easy to learn. For instance, you are probably already aware that adding links to content on your website will impact your search ranking. Though perhaps not as much as you would hope or expect. The problem is that marketing is constantly in flux and you must keep up with the changes.

Use Your Resources Effectively
Chances are if you are thinking about a DIY marketing campaign, you’re probably worried about money. You may not have a lot of capital to spend on your marketing so you will need to be careful how you spend your money. So, what are the most important parts of a marketing campaign? You should spend a large portion of your budget on web design. Research shows that the smallest details on a website can affect conversion rates.

Other areas of your marketing campaign are completely free like social media promotion. This is just a matter of updating your profile regularly and ensuring that you are delivering fresh, relevant content to your followers.

Take Your Time
It is often said that good things always come to those who wait and that’s a good lesson to keep in mind when marketing your company. You need to make sure that you are not rushing your way to success. If you explore marketing companies, you’ll see that there are many offering instant solutions, promising to get your website to the top of the SERPs in weeks. This shouldn’t be taken as evidence that marketing success can be instant. A great marketing campaign can take months to build up, and if you do see results immediately, there’s a good chance you’ve used tactics that will lead to a Google Penalty.

With the right marketing knowledge and effective use of your resources, you can certainly marketing your business without any outside help. Although, it might be beneficial to get a little help to ensure that the quality is there. For instance, you can use freelancers to write content for you. Services like this are often cheap enough that they are great value for money and guarantee you fresh content for your website.

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Sitting, gazing out of the window in your office, do you long to pack it all in and put all that sweat and toil into starting up your own business? While this daydream is one many employees have often, the realities of pursuing entrepreneurship aren’t as easy as walking out of your office and never looking back. 

Your success is not guaranteed
There is security in being an employee. One of the scariest statistics for entrepreneurs is that 90 percent of all startups fail in the first year. This number shouldn’t keep you from trying, think of it more as a motivator to fine-tune your business idea before you start. Making sure that you know exactly what you need to be successful, what the threats are, and what could go wrong. Coming up with contingency plans for all of these items. These contingency plans will allow you to recover quickly even if the worst does happen. Planning to fail doesn’t mean you will fail, it just means you will have the tools necessary to bounce back from a setback. 

You will need money
Contrary to popular belief most startups aren’t controlled by someone with little to no funding, out of their garage or bedroom. This means you will need money to set up a business, even a small startup. There are lots of funding options for those pursuing a small business, such as getting a line of credit for small business, seeking investments, or getting a loan. A line of credit can work well, as it provides you with money if you need it while avoiding charges if you don’t. Making it much easier to handle your finances, a vital part of making your business successful. While a loan or investment may be better if you are looking for a larger sum to get the entire project off of the ground. You’ll want to work with a local accountant to make sure your startup capital is in line with your business goals. For example, you’ll want to make sure you know exactly what your potential business partners want in exchange for funds. Some might ask for a share of your business, can leave you in a weak position if you give too much away.

You will need tenacity
Tenacity is also something that every entrepreneur is going to need to be successful. There is a lot of work involved in getting a business off the ground, getting your brand noticed and continuing to turn a profit when everything rests on your shoulders. It’s tough and there are going to be bad days. Days where you question why you got started down this road in the first place. That is why you need to be tenacious, to not let go even when it seems like it’s the only way out. You need to be able to hold on even in the roughest situations and fight for what is best for your business to achieve lasting success.

Business Visability

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

The marketplace of the 21st century is a veritable minefield for small businesses. Smaller operations fight a constant uphill battle against obscurity. Today’s entrepreneurs know the importance of their online presence. They pay designers top dollar for a website that’s glossy, professional looking, mobile ready and UX friendly, they’re active on social media and they may even dedicate a little time out of the day to creating original content. All this is for naught, however, if these same businesses don’t know how to increase their visibility in order to drive traffic their way.

Search Engine Optimization or SEO has become something of a buzzword in today’s business landscape and while most have some awareness of what it is (it’s right there in the name, after all) few understand how it works, how they can harm their SEO and the various ways in which they can improve their SEO ‘off-page’. While outsourcing your search engine optimization to a company like Ignite Digital, you can enhance their strategies by incorporating some new strategies into your everyday operations. There are strategies that entrepreneurs can adapt to grow their visibility organically without having to dedicate too much of your precious time, effort and resources.

Content is King
There is no substitute for regular, original content that will establish your brand’s voice and identity while slowly, steadily and organically increasing your visibility. In order to drive traffic to your website, you should invest in the creation of high-quality, regular content such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, webinars, white papers and e-books. Share your content with your existing client base on social media and incentivize them to share it with others. You’ll soon draw more traffic which will positively affect your SEO.

Public speaking
You don’t have to be hunched over a laptop to grow your online visibility. You can be just as effective out in the analog world. Public speaking is a great off-page tool for drawing traffic to your online presence and enhancing your visibility while expanding your reach. Many entrepreneurs have no idea how much value there is in imparting their knowledge and expertise to others in their sector or would-be entrepreneurs trying to make it behind them. Modesty has no place in the teeming digital marketplace. Find opportunities to get your face out there and share your knowledge, skills and expertise with others and watch your traffic stats go up.

Co-branding
Your brand may still be in its nascent stages but that’s no reason why your business should be shrouded in obscurity. Co-branding is a great way of aligning your business with another, more established brand which complements your business without being a competitor or creating a conflict of interests. Working with another business on a project often proves mutually advantageous to both parties as you’ll be introducing each other to different (and often divergent) client bases. Over the years we’ve seen many great examples of co-branding. Look at GoPro’s relationship with Red Bull and Bonne Belle’s partnership with Dr. Pepper to make soda-flavored lip balm.

With a touch of know-how, you can boost your business’ digital visibility organically without draining your precious and finite resources.