One of the most important hurdles – or rather opportunities – for an entrepreneur to come to terms with, is limitations. Aside from knowing what limitations lie in the way of your business, you must figure out how to use these limitations to your advantage. Having the ability to harness such resourcefulness will ultimately give your firm a competitive advantage in the market. For being able to turn a constraint into a new opportunity, is a differentiating skill that separates the “okay” entrepreneurs from the “great” entrepreneurs. Finding a way to do this will safeguard your enterprises self-sustainability, which ultimately will lead to your business’s success.
Take for example the Facebook business model, the offering of a free product while relying on revenue from advertising to survive. This model was born from the idea of wanting to offer a fun and free service, but still needing to make some sort of income in order to remain operational.
The key to success is to recognize limitations and develop alternative strategies that work against these limits; and that will allow you to transition your model to more innovative and less expensive approaches. That is, learning from your defeats and developing tactics to overcome them in a way that brings value to your business. As a matter of fact, “failure” is just as important to a thriving business as success.
Effective Startup Strategies for Entrepreneurs
Here are 6 of the most common startup strategies successfully born out of apparent limitations.
- Strategic budgeting must remain a prime focus.
When it comes to budgeting, it is critical to strategically reduce your budget based on what you are spending on the most expensive projects. That is, it is important to staff and schedule in accordance with your budget. It is often helpful to employ the 80 to 20 rule in order to get the maximum value out of your team. This will encourage productivity as opposed to working long hours. Implementing technologically advanced solutions is a very effective and efficient way to increase productivity within your firm, whilst staying within budget. For instance, cloud technologies like cloud storage solutions and cloud based business phone system are much more cost effective than their traditional counterparts. These modern technologies also offer various features that will help your business innovate collaboratively.
- Thorough knowledge about prospective customer base beforehand.
The best way to avoid limitations with regards to acquiring new customers is to test your business’ idea on target customers; market research firms can help you to achieve this. However, their services can sometimes be out of the scope of feasible for the average small business entrepreneurs. That being said, never underestimate the power of good old fashioned talking to people. Communicate with potential clients and take note of their reactions when you explain your product or service to them. Do they seem excited? Are they eager to try it? Are they weary of how your product or service will benefit them or solve a problem for them?
- Be passionate about your work rather than perceiving it as a job.
Rather than perceiving your work as a job, be excited about it. There is nothing that handicaps a business more than an entrepreneur that goes into business lacking passion. Passion is the driving force that will get you through those 16 hour days or 14-day work binges. If you lack passion in what you do, you will almost always be beaten out by a competitor that lives and breathes the business.
- Prefer technologically updated work tools over conventional methods.
Rather than being stuck in the past, innovate and take advantage of new technologies as they relate to useful business tools. Innovative solutions have been developed from a problem-solution mainframe and are designed to benefit businesses just like yours in the most effective and efficient way possible. For example, cloud based video conferencing systems offer a convenient way to connect and collaborate with long distance partners and teams in a reliable and productive manner.
- Always look out for the most productive bottlenecks to adopt.
Prioritize and focus on the most productive bottlenecks on a weekly basis. Make use of your staff’s creativity and available tools in order to find ways to productively accomplish goals or develop operative business strategies.
- Put together a solid team and encourage occasional breaks.
It is imperative to the productiveness of your team that you encourage breaks. Make taking regular breaks a mandated clause, not only for your staff, but for you as well. Taking frequent breaks throughout the day ultimately promotes efficiency. Whereas working when overloaded or burned out does the exact opposite. Additionally, it is okay for you to take a break, not in the sense that you sit down and enjoy a nice lunch, or a quick read in the Wall Street Journal; but rather that you take your time with your startup. Meaning, it is okay to take time between one venture and the next. It is better to take your time with your startup instead of rushing and missing vital steps along the way.
A key element in operating a successful business is being humble enough to celebrate your limitations and constraints. It is about having the ability to see through the negative aspect that is sometimes associated with restraints or limits, and being able to respect the source of potential profit that lies beneath. It is about building lasting competitive advantage within your business and ultimately getting past the victim mentality that often plagues entrepreneurs in a bind.
Every limitation that is faced within your startup is a chance to learn; and it is too a chance to grow. In a nutshell, the challenge that comes along with entrepreneurship is harboring the ability to turn limitations into advantages and opportunity. But more than that, it is doing so in a fun and fulfilling way that results in a profit for your organization. Life is a learning lesson and so too are the obstacles faced within business startups. Obstacles are so much more than a negative hurdle that we face as entrepreneurs. Instead, they are opportunities to learn and to grow.
How have you turned a limitation within your venture into a for-profit advantage? Please share. We would love to hear from you!
Sheza Gary has been a Project Strategist since 2009 and also involved in the launching of startups and tech companies in New York for over 5 years. She has keen interest in writing her own experiences about business plans and upcoming business supporting technologies. She loves public speaking.