Startup companies are fragile. They’re fickle and often influenced by what’s happening in the market more than someone whose already established themselves in it. This is prevalent when you look at the numbers of success vs. failure rates among startups. According to Forbes, on average nine out of ten startups fail. This is scary business if you’re thinking of launching your own.
As a result, we need to give our little startups as much chance as possible to grow into healthy product and service shipping machines. This is where keeping your startup lean comes in. A lean startup only spends money on things it absolutely needs. It cross trains employees to keep the ship small. Only rents a workable space, not something that provides in excess. A startup shouldn’t be comfortable. It should put your hands in the flame to make sure you can handle your new company under pressure.
I recently spoke with a friend of mine who runs a successful chain of who credits keeping her startup lean with much of her early success. She had some great advice that I wanted to share with you to help you on your business endeavors.
You Can Always Outsource.
One of the main principles of a lean startup is that the few employees you have wear many hats. The purpose of this is to keep costs low and to form your dream team to launch the company. A small, tight-knit group of people who work well together. The downside is your small team is unlikely to be able to do everything.
You may need a graphic designer who can create something that catches your audience’s eye during a marketing campaign or a writer who can write something compelling. Thankfully there are plenty of freelance sites such as Upwork and Fivver where you can outsource for whatever your price range is.
Share Your Workspace.
Startups rarely start anywhere pretty: a garage, dorm room (where I launched mine), and even a friend’s couch are all common. However, there comes a time when every startup does need an actual space. This doesn’t mean you should invest in your own office suite, however. Instead you should find a co-working space via a website like WeWork.
You’ll be able to rent just the size of space and amenities you need at a fraction of the cost of your own office suite. If you do go out and get an office suite, you can rent out any space you’re not currently using.
Shared Vision and Happiness.
I want to bring up another issue related to employees because they are the most vital aspect of a new startup. Every employee needs to understand the vision of the company and desire to go in that direction. It’s an all-on-board effort. At the end of the day it comes down to how happy your employees are with their work.
You’re unlikely to be able to pay them large salaries and if they left to work somewhere else they could probably make more. Keep their sacrifice in perspective. Reward them with whatever company benefits you can to make sure they know they’re appreciated.
Research The Services You Use.
There’s hundreds of softwares that help startups from company management programs to e-mail marketing. While these services may only cost $50 a month here and $120 a month there, they add up quickly and may not provide you the advantage another can. Complete market research with every program you use to compare the benefits and costs of each one. You can outsource this since it’s time heavy.
You don’t need to find the best software, just the one which provides quality at a reasonable crossroad in price. Also weigh whether you actually need a certain program. These can often become a money suck for companies.
Let The World Know Your Value.
Establish brand awareness and your value early. Be clear. Be understood. When you’re clear with the goal of your startup, your customers know what to expect. If you fail to meet expectations your customers can provide feedback. Utilize their feedback to improve your product or services. A common issue among young startups is their failure in expressing what they’re trying to do. This shouldn’t be a game of hide and seek for information. Let it all out in simple, clear terms on the front page of your website.
There’s no right way to launch a startup. They’re odd beings that require just as much product timing luck as they do actual hard work. But using the lean startup method you can at least be sure you’re keeping costs low in order to put the rest of the money into product development and giving yourself time to find yourself a share in the market.