The Startup Learning Curve

Creating a startup is a challenging time. It’s when all of your skills must come together in order to progress forward with what you have got to offer. Whether you are just starting out or have been in the game for a while, there are still learning curves that you have to experience in order to ground yourself. Not only this, but the education that each one provides can be the most useful tool to you when starting up your own business. So here’s a heads up on some of the things that might just be coming your way…

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It’s Beneficial To Outsource


As much as you want to keep work within your own business, it really can be beneficial to you to outsource some of it. Even if it’s just a small percentage. What you want to achieve here is revenue-generating jobs for you to do, and there are some which just aren’t. Even if you paid somebody within your workforce to do it, it may be a lot of their (read: yours) time taken up doing a task which could be quite challenging to them but oh so simple for somebody who works specifically in that industry as a professional. For example, if you wanted some graphic design doing, it’s better to outsource it to someone for a good price rather than paying a wage or a salary to somebody who will sit down and spend days on something that’s substandard. It’s just the chance that you’ve got to take. Not only will you save yourself time, but you will possibly also save yourself a lot of money. It doesn’t have to stop at outsourcing for one-off jobs like art; you can get your printing outsourced, your PA, your accounting … everything that you can think of. A quick online search will be able to point you in the right direction for what you need. Always go with somebody who has been recommended, either through a trusted source or online reviews from a website that you visit frequently. That way you know what to expect from the person you are hiring.

If You Have Employees, Set Your Standards


There’s a lot that can be said for getting your employee handbook right the first time, but a lot of new startups don’t – or don’t even have a handbook, to begin with. This is essential for you to be able to set the standards that you expect to be followed, as well as answering any common queries that they have had. It’s a “getting to know you” book for your employees to be able to understand a bit more about your company and what will and will not be tolerated. This can range from attitudes to dress codes to the moral ethics that you want your business to achieve. It makes sense to ensure that not only those who you employ are following the standards set out in your employee handbook or code of conduct for the workplace, but that you are too. This is really the time where you need to make sure that you are leading by example and hollowing out the path for everybody else to follow. If you are not showing that you can follow the rules, or that there are no consequences for you disobeying them, it shows a lack of respect already to what you have initially put in place. Who would even think to keep in line with the rules when they’ve already been flouted?

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Keep On Top Of Accounts


As previously mentioned, you can outsource your accounting to a freelancer or a company who is willing to do it for you. That way, you are passing the buck; you simply hand over all of your paperwork and let them do the hard work for you. There are certain things that can slip out of your mind when you’re running a startup; with so much going on around you that you have to think about, accounting is at the back of the mind for a lot of people who are taking this route. While it may seem trivial, it is actually one of the most important things that you need to get right. If you aren’t putting time and care into looking over what your money is doing, where it’s going and how it’s being earned, you risk being fined for not declaring what you should to those who should know. It’s something that can quickly get out of hand, especially if your business is getting off to a better start than you had expected. It’s vital that you are constantly keeping in check with what’s going on – especially if you have people in your employment. Sorting out their payroll can be a day’s worth of work in itself.


Don’t Be Too Ambitious


You need to work within your means and capabilities. It’s one thing to be motivated and want to achieve great things, but being overly ambitious and shooting so far beyond a point that you can realistically get to is something that will only dampen you in the long run. Make a plan and stick to it; the more that you can tick off the plan list, the more that you will be seen that you need to have a certain learning in set divisions that will be the propeller onto bigger and better things. Don’t run before you have learned to walk. There are people out there that have walked the same path as you in regards to your startup, and it is these people that you need to take advice from. See how long it took them to get to where they are now and set your own targets within their advised remits.

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Have A Safety Net


Going alone can be a scary task. It is even more so when you have financial dependencies. Whether you have children, a mortgage to upkeep, bills to pay or are tied within a finance agreement, these are still things that will be demanding money out of you whether you create your own startup or decide to stay on in employment. Before you throw yourself into what you want to do, make sure that you have a safety net, financially speaking; if you already have started on your startup journey, it’s not too late to start putting money to one side for yourself rather than investing back into your business. Enough for a couple of months of the bills being fully paid should be enough to get you back on track should things start to go wrong. It’s realistic to remember that almost 90% of startups fail within the first two years. Although this shouldn’t be something to put you off what you want to go for, it should be something that’s kept in the back of your mind when considering what to do with your money.


Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment


A bit of a juxtaposition to the last paragraph is that you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment – if it’s within your means. Ensuring that you are covered on all other bases does give you the leeway to be able to see what does and doesn’t work for your business. There is no startup that got by without doing a little a bit of experimentation to see what about their company appealed to the masses. Whether it’s new products, a new style of writing or even just introducing dress-down Fridays into the office, it’s all one big learning curve that you are sure to benefit from.

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