Starting a business presents many of the same conundrums as getting your first job. To get a job you need experience, but to get the experience you need a job.

Startup bootcamp: the basic training for starting a business

These are the kinds of conundrums entrepreneurs run into every day. That being said, there are some basic principles to starting a business that will help any entrepreneur to succeed.

Here are 5 tips for starting a business.

5. Don’t quit your day job

While you may be eager to devote yourself full time to start your business, a wiser course of action is generally to build it slowly and steadily over time.

Even if you can’t start building your business in earnest until you quit your day job, you can be saving and setting aside startup capital.

Many micro-businesses can be started with $3,000 or less in working capital, but you’ll generally need to come up with that on your own.

In addition, investors will generally not invest in a venture that you yourself are not heavily invested in, so the more you have personally invested in your business, the more easily you can bring on other investors.

Once you are making a steady income from your business, then it might be time to consider making it a full-time endeavor.

4. If you fail to plan, plan to fail

You wouldn’t go on a trip without having a plan to reach your destination.

In fact, if you don’t have a destination in mind and a plan for getting there, you will never arrive. You’ll just wander around in circles.

The same is true of starting a business. From a solid business plan, a good marketing strategy and a comprehensive growth strategy, building a business depends on solid planning.

3. Don’t put the cart before the horse

In business, if you aren’t growing you are dying, but growth is not always expansion.

In fact, if you try and expand too early, you are most likely headed for certain disaster. Expansion depends on having a good, solid platform and a basis for expansion.

If you don’t take the time to put down good, solid roots, then pre-mature expansion can literally kill your business.

Make sure you understand the difference between growth and expansion and don’t try to expand before you are ready.

2. Don’t work for free

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make is giving away their services for free or operating at a loss.

This is also why it is important to have a separate revenue stream while building your business.

It will make you less desperate and less inclined to operate at a loss. Discounts or working for friends and family can be a great way to get initial clients or build a portfolio. But remember it can also be a double-edged sword when it comes time to raise your rates to be competitive.

1. Understand the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’

You may want a separate office to make your business appear more professional or even feel more professional.

You may want to hire a secretary or receptionist, but that doesn’t mean you really need one. Yes, appearances can be important in business, but just make sure it’s really paying clients that need impressing. Be careful you aren’t spending money just to feed your own ego. Ego doesn’t pay the bills, paying clients to do.

Building a business is a marathon, not a sprint, so you have to be in it for the long haul.

It is estimated that only around 20% of new startups make it past the first 18 months, but what that doesn’t account for is how many of those are second or third attempts.

You may not succeed the first time you try and start a business, but that doesn’t mean you don’t gain valuable experience that will make your second or third try the one that succeeds.

For more business tips, check our entrepreneurship section and subscribe to our weekly newsletters.


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