TOP TIPS TO SURVIVE BEYOND THE START-UP STAGE
Posted 10 May 2012
Serial entrepreneur reveals strategies used to develop his company beyond ‘new business’ phase
John Sollars, founder of online printer ink retailer Stinkyink.com, is currently celebrating a decade of trading. “It’s different for everyone, but these tactics have worked for me,” he says.
• Stay single. Sollars believes if you start a business with a friend you will fall out eventually. That’s his experience, anyway. He says: “When my first business failed, the bank chased me for the total amount of the guarantees when my partner couldn’t pay his share. This was £40,000 and took 10 years to clear.”
• Plan ahead. Putting time and thought into a business plan and revisiting it regularly is worthwhile. Unless you have a target to aim for, you won’t know when, or if, you’re succeeding.
• Minimise your liabilities. Never take a charge on your house and try to avoid providing more information than a lender requires.
• Do your accounts, get invoices out promptly and don’t accept being messed around over payment. Pay suppliers on time too - it gives you their goodwill and more credit.
• Monitor metrics. One of the many benefits of the internet is that you are able to tell where your customer has come from, how they searched for you, how quickly they left and whether they bought anything from you. Using this information, you are able to improve your website and your customers’ satisfaction, which can only be a good thing.
• Hire the right staff. It is impossible to place a value on a hardworking employee who cares about your company and where it is heading. Spending the extra on wages for key skill sets or talents that are suited to your business can be the difference between five per cent and 20 per cent growth in a start-up’s early years.
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