You are out of college, have taken up a job that pays reasonably well but somehow you are not satisfied. And that’s because you are stuck in a loop: waking up every day, going to the same place, constantly working for hours, and just waiting for the week to end.
Now you desperately want to get out of it. Like most people, this happened to me too, and I thought exactly what you must be thinking right now: “let’s start a business!”.
That is how most people step into business. There’s nothing wrong with it, but here’s the (obvious) problem: starting a business or startup from scratch is not easy. It’s a constant uphill battle, and I wanted to share a few lessons from my experience of starting a restaurant business in the hope that your battle will be made easy.
1. Have a monthly marketing budget.
To my surprise, my restaurant had an explosive start, and opening week sales were way more than what I had expected.
That’s probably why I didn’t pay much heed to marketing until the competition got tougher and new eateries opened nearby. Sales dropped and I got anxious. But (and it’s an important but) as soon as I ran a few Facebook and Google Ads, I noticed a huge influx of new customers in the coming weeks.
From that day on, I set aside a fixed monthly budget to be spent on digital marketing, and that is my first lesson for anybody who aspires to launch a business. If you are not tech-savvy, Monarch’s online marketing course will make it easy for you to get in the swing of these things.
Once you understand the basic marketing concepts and learn digital tools, you will be better positioned to make good marketing decisions. Just because you’re a new business doesn’t mean you should be hesitant about bold marketing.
2. Build a team.
While working on your startup, you will always be the main man in your head. You will micromanage things and do all the stuff yourself. Trust me; in the long run, this could do more harm than good.
Before setting out on your entrepreneurial journey, understand that there's a limit to your potential, skill, and, most importantly, your time. So, from the very first day, try to build a team that works well together, respects you as a leader, and shares the same passion as you for achieving business goals.
No matter how great your product or service is, your business will ultimately suffer if there is not a great team behind it. It’s not a one-man show. Trust me!
3. Take care of your finances.
Regardless of the profitability of your startup, make sure that you are well aware of its financial ins and outs.
Have a clear-cut picture of your expenses and profit. Otherwise, you might lose money (and keep losing it for the coming months without realizing it). So, make sure you are well-informed on all matters where money is involved.
Apart from monthly cost analysis, assess the value of your purchases. Don't buy things that fail to add value. Instead, spend on things that become assets and help your business grow.
4. Your network is your net-worth.
In the world of business, your connections are everything. This is probably the most important lesson I have learned in my entrepreneurial journey.
Once your operations are smooth, and things are a little organized, don't start getting comfortable and lazy. Instead, use this time to build a strong network by refreshing old connections and making new ones.
Networking can land you opportunities in the form of mentorship, partnerships, investments, or even sales -- everything that is vital for your personal and business development.
Also, remember that networking is not about touching base or getting benefits all the time. It's a two-way channel that is based on sharing, forming trust, and helping one another.
5. Prioritize customer satisfaction
The customer base is the backbone of any business. Whether it's a product or a service, without customers, your business doesn't exist.
My business suffered for a brief period when I reduced staff and diverted all my attention towards the kitchen. As a result, our complaint box was flooded with complaints of slow service and improper cleaning as well as inappropriate staff behavior on a few occasions.
As expected, the sales took a hit, and it took us some time to recover. But, it only happened after I hired a guest relations person who made sure the customers were leaving happy and satisfied.
Many startups focus too much on their product and too little on their customers. They think they are doing their customers a favor by offering them the best product in the world. In reality, your customers are doing you a favor by purchasing your service despite knowing you’re a startup. As you work towards making your start-up a success, keep reminding yourself of the importance of customer satisfaction.
WRITTEN BYSerena K. Johnson