The article first appeared on HR in Asia.
No one starts a business with the intention of not growing in workforce size, revenue, market value, and client base. Every founder has a vision to build a successful brand and scale to the highest point possible. However, this will remain a dream if you fail to start right from the beginning. Statistics show that only a handful of startups make it to their 5th year. If you can lay a strong foundation for your startup, you can easily add to these numbers.
Needless to say, you have to pay attention to the most essential areas to ensure that your startup hits the market running. Here are a few of those essential areas that you must focus on.
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1. Finding talents
Building a team for a startup can pose a challenge since a startup’s demands for ideal employees are unique. Limited resources mean that you can only afford a few workers at the beginning. In addition, you need people who can trust your brand, marry your vision, and are willing to grow with you.
How do you find the right talents? At first, focus on skills that you cannot operate without, then add the rest as you scale up. Finding individuals with a variety of skills will come in handy since it helps complete tasks with a small team.
You also need to focus on hiring methods that are much kinder to your tight budget. That means focusing on talents that can take less pay for the same input. For this, you might need to look beyond talent’s geographical area. For instance, if you spot this unique individual in China, leverage the modern ways of hiring to get that talent on board. Go through employment solutions providers in China such as China PEO and China EOR.
When you choose to work with a China PEO or China EOR, they become your employee’s China employer of record, taking care of all HR and legal needs. This saves you the need to understand the complex employment laws in China.
Customers are the key to starting and growing a business. It is very critical for any business that the target customers purchase the product or service for money to start trickling in. That is why even before you build a product, you should focus on understanding their pain points. You can then build your product or service based on their inputs. Otherwise, you might build but they fail to buy.
Remember you are entering a market where others have started. You need to find a differentiator if you are to survive. Customers can only view the business differently if you seek to fill the gaps that others have left. Get down to them through market research. You will find insights that will help you incorporate that additional value into your idea.
3. Realistic budget
Most startups exhaust their capital even before the business takes off. They then start looking for loans, only to end up swimming in debt by the time of business launch. It happens because they fail to focus on a budget before they start spending money.
Having a realistic budget helps you to stay focused and remain within the estimated costs. Sometimes the reality can prove otherwise; you may find that some expenses require more money than estimated. When you have a budget, you can easily adjust up, but you will also be keen on finding another area to cut back such that you remain within the figures.
Focus on drawing a realistic budget. Calculate costs very carefully and make a provision for emergencies. Ensure that it is flexible to allow unforeseen adjustments that might crop up.
4. Legal matters
With so much to do when setting up a business, it can be easy to overlook some legal aspects. However, this is one area that startups must really focus on from the beginning. Legal problems become more complicated as time goes by, which can in turn cost you a lot of money to fix them. Don’t try to do it on your own since you are not a legal expert. However tight your budget is, finding a legal expert should never be overlooked. You will rest easy knowing that your startup is in right standing with the law.
Focusing on the above areas will help you start a business that will grow and flourish. Remember you are not starting at a point of knowledge in some areas, so mistakes are bound to arise in the process. Instead of making assumptions about things, it is best to involve experts whenever necessary. It will save you so much sweat down the line.
Peter Palladino is a Marketing and Business Expansion Advisor for Asian Markets in China. He helped many of them create branches in China, Japan, and the Philippines, and have been quite exposed to business-making in those markets. He has experience working in a range of industries and providing technical support in topics such as business growth, market expansion, and product development. Peter is passionate about family, languages, traveling, and reading.
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