As an entrepreneur you are always in uncharted waters. And the sweet days when you didn’t care about legal, financial, HR or administrative issues are long gone. Founding a startup requires you to gain insight into any and every aspects concerning your business. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should master everything related to your business, but should definitely know your bearings and always ask questions, preferably from other highly skilled professionals in these areas. So, what are some useful resources that can help you when you’ve embarked on the entrepreneurial voyage?
Well, first of all, just a word of warning: I’m not going to share with you a long list of websites, tools or apps. You can get a ton of those just a Google search away, and you can easily browse to see which of them suite you and your business. No, I’m going to talk to you about some resources we easily overlook, or don’t even consider them resources per say.
- Your competition – Trust me when I say this: carefully analyzing your competition is an incredible pay off. The reason is absurdly simple: it will teach you everything about what you should be doing or not doing. Not specifics, of course, but you understand what I mean. You can learn a great deal from their success, their failures, how they approach certain business aspects and how they managed to attract funds or investments. So, get a magnifying glass and see what your competition is all about.
- Good legal advice – There are going to be contracts, lots of them. With employees, suppliers, business partners, investors and the list goes on and on. Especially when we’re talking about investments, where there are a lot of money, deadlines and deliverables involved, you really need somebody to decipher all the legal aspects and pay close attention to what in yours and your business’ best interest. Believe me it will spare you a lot of headaches.
- A good accountant – You’re going to be rolling money, (preferably) in great amounts. We all might think we’re capable of keeping some basic accounting for our business since …well, how hard can it be to keep track you the money coming in and going out of the company? I’ll tell you right of the back: don’t fool yourself. A good accountant will keep everything in check, make sure you fulfill your financial duties legally and on time and teach you a thing or two about how to look at your startup from and objective, clear cut financial way. This will help you make sane business decisions when it comes to it.
- Extensive data on your user – Nothing will give you such insight on your product, how to develop it and to market it, than the users you are targeting. So, collect as much data on them as possible. Don’t hesitate to make a clear user profile, get into the specifics of their consumption patterns and, most importantly, ask them as often as you can for feedback on your product. The more you know about your users and their needs, the more you will be able to deliver a successful product.
- Other successful people – If you weren’t already aware of this, I’m telling you now: as an entrepreneur you need to go out and meet people. Whether we’re talking about other entrepreneurs, successful business managers, investors or mentors, exchanging ideas and just talking for ten minutes with these people will earn you some of the most valuable lessons and advice you could get, free of charge. They maybe won’t tell you what to do or how to solve a problem you have with your business, but they can definitely tell you what they did when they were confronted with a similar situation. And believe me, their insight will be pure gold.