It’s often been said that Britain is a nation of shopkeepers.
Obviously, not all of Britain’s small businesses are shops, but startup businesses play a very important role in the economy, with hundreds of thousands of new limited companies registering with Companies House last year alone.
Starting your own business is a common thing, but it doesn’t come without risks.
We’ll show you a few of them so you know what to look out for and avoid.
Successful startups have done their research
One of the biggest reasons startups fail is because they don’t do enough research.
Before you even come close to starting a new business, you need to learn as much information as possible.
This means finding out whether your product or service is something your customers even want or need, and how much they’d be willing to pay if they did.
And it means finding out what other businesses in your market are doing – are they doing something you could improve upon, or is there just simply no room for a new business in a particular market?
Successful startups get help when they need it
For most owners of startups, one of the biggest reasons they started their own business was so they could be their own boss.
You might think that asking for help is a sign that maybe you’re not capable of being your own boss.
That’s the wrong way to think.
Most successful entrepreneurs have a mentor they look up to and take advice from.
Seeking out more knowledge isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a way to become stronger.
Having a friend working in a similar industry to your startup means you’ll always have somebody to get advice from when things are going badly, or even when your business is going well but you want it to be even better.
Successful startup owners believe in themselves
Startup businesses don’t become a success overnight.
In the early days, it can seem like you are putting in hours upon hours of hard work over many, many months, without seeing any rewards.
But successful startup owners persevere, and keep putting in the hours.
Because they believe in themselves. They believe in their abilities, and they believe in their business idea.
They know that if they keep working, they’ll eventually meet their goal of growing a successful business.
If you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll likely quit at the first sign of trouble, unaware that if you’d kept going for a few more months, business would start to pick up and you’d see growth.
If you don’t believe in yourself, you won’t succeed.
It’s as simple as that.
The owners of successful startup businesses don’t give up
Another positive aspect of believing in yourself is that you’re less likely to give up.
As the owner of a startup, you’ll be much more likely to succeed if you don’t give up, because you never know what’s around the corner.
But it doesn’t mean you can’t adapt.
Maybe your initial idea doesn’t work out, but using your market research to understand the market and your customers, you can find ways to change your idea, or even come up with a completely new one.
Many businesses that are now successful started with an idea that initially didn’t work, but they found a better idea that did work.
Successful startups listen to their customers
The only way any business can succeed is by providing a product or service its customers want or need.
That means you have to listen to them.
That doesn’t mean only listen when they say good things about you.
You’ll actually learn more when they’re unhappy, because you’ll find out what’s wrong with your product or service and be able to fix it.
What’s more, customers love it when you listen to them, because it shows that you actually care.
These days, many customers are able to talk directly to businesses through social media websites such as Twitter. It’s the businesses that respond in a respectful and helpful manner that people are more likely to love.
The businesses who don’t respond are just a PR disaster waiting to happen.
So, listen to your customers if you want your startup business to succeed.
Shoaib Aslam is the co-founder of Pearl Chartered Accountants, a UK-based chartered accountancy firm that has multiple locations across London. They are experts in helping startups and established businesses with all aspects of growth, strategy, scaling up, accounting and tax planning.