Starting a new business is like baking a cake for the first time. You need the right ingredients, patience and step-by-step instruction to bake the perfect cake. Many people want to start a business, but only a few have what it takes to take that leap of faith. Starting a new business is not an easy journey but a path full of hurdles that you will need to face.
To help you kickstart your business, Digital Penang’s Startup Ecosystem team shares seven crucial things you need to know when starting a business. Here are 7 tips to help you avoid making rookie mistakes along your startup journey!
- Be in love with your problem
Focusing a lot on the solution is enticing and you probably think that there is always a market for it. But that is all in your head, in theory. The fact of reality is, a solution is not always guaranteed to have a market, but problems can create a market for you. Through this problem, try and add value to it by solving the problem and building a validated solution aka finding the right product-market fit. Then, you can see how big of a market can be opened through your problems (and solved using your solutions)!
- Understand the market
Get a grasp of your market! Studying the landscape of your market can help you to better know your target audience to explore potential competitors. Market research gives businesses a competitive edge, allowing them to thrive in new environments. If you are still unsure which market to start from, why not try piloting your first project with Digital Penang and gain market access to the Penang community and the broader ASEAN region. Join our Coffee & Curry Puff sessions and be part of a growing startup community!
- Mentorship is crucial
Mentors are people before us who have either succeeded in their business. They have knowledge, experience, a solid foundation and connections that are bigger and broader than you think! Having a mentor in the right industry and connections can help you cut short the time needed to market your products and even open doors to new markets to grow your business.
The challenges that they have faced will also be able to give you a guide on what to avoid in your business venture. At Digital Penang, we provide mentorship programmes to help connect aspiring entrepreneurs with industry experts and successful founders. This platform is great for you to gain valuable feedback and advice, as well as tips and tricks of the trade!
- Go digital!
One of the things that new business owners overlook is using digital platforms as a means to create awareness for their product and services. Brand awareness is important for every new and ongoing business as it brings engagement between your brand and your audience. It doesn’t matter which sector you choose to start your business in because you can easily gain analytical reports, market insights, and customers’ interests when your business goes digital! In today’s digital age, start-ups should consider digitalisation without a doubt.
- Failure is the mother of success
Entrepreneurship is all about taking risks and statistically speaking, 90% to 95% of businesses fail regardless of being a traditional or digital business. Add “failure” into your vocabulary and if your startup does fail – don’t panic! Try to discover the root cause of why it failed and start revamping your plan to rebuild your business again. Take into account that how you restructure your plan or how you decide to see your problem (which may or may not require significant pivots from your initial plans) will determine the odds of your success and failure rate. Know that failure is the prerequisite to success.
- Your team is your stepping stone to success
Your initial team sets up the foundation for everything else and how you can improve the odds that your business survives. Hire people with diverse knowledge in all aspects of the business. One can be good in marketing, the other in IT, designing or finance. Remember that this team is the one you’re going to build your business with. Any organisation is only as strong as its weakest link so it’s important to get the right people for the right job!
- Be an expert generalist
When starting a business, there is a lot you need to know which you may not know yet and this requires picking up skills in different fields outside your comfort zone. But that doesn’t mean you alone will operate the business just because you have that skill. Instead, use that knowledge you have to recruit people who are the best in those areas!
Take Steve Jobs or Elon Musk for example; they are expert generalists, they know a little bit of everything but still they hire the best engineers to build the product of the highest quality! Whilst your product or service has to be as niche as possible at the get go, you and your team need to be a generalist to ensure that you are well-equipped for what’s to come.
In conclusion, there is never an easy path to anything. The road is long and hard but in the end, the journey is the destination. And a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. You have to put in the effort to harvest the fruits of success at the end of the road.
If you are a startup looking to build your business in Penang, do visit Digital Penang’s website as we offer tech start-ups a range of services and programmes such as providing investors when you pitch your ideas, sharing knowledge on business and entrepreneurship and also networks with federal agencies. Kickstart your start-up journey and send us your pitch to our Founders’ Grit Seed Fund programme today!