Business rules all startups should break

Every startup is directed to the same set of enshrined business practices. It doesn’t matter who you ask, where you look or what your business idea is, you get the same old advice that has been sitting out in the sun and getting stale for years. Modern day start-ups can skip a few steps, stay agile and fast-track their success (or failure - remember to ‘fail fast’ people!). Here are four dated business rules you can break to stay ahead of the class.

Write a gigantic business plan

Don’t get me wrong, business plans are great. They give you direction, they make sure all the founders are on the same page, they help you define your success. They are also generally crammed in the back corner of your office and covered with dust.
With lean and agile workflows and all that pivoting, it's much more beneficial for most startups to create regular but MUCH shorter documents that give direction to their business. Get the concise, quick version of your business plan together and see if it works for a quarter. Revisit and see what changes. Repeat. Eventually, as you build on your plan quarter after quarter, you will organically find some real clarity in a plan that is born out of the actual culture and drive of your business rather than just the fumes of an idea at the very beginning.

Hire the perfect team

The best people will produce the best results, right? Sure, a really strong and experienced team will give you the best chance at success but that doesn’t mean you should blow your entire seed budget on high-priced employees.
While it is tempting to get full-timers on who put their heart and soul into the business, this can often lead to limited skill sets and there are no guarantees they will stick around forever anyway. There are lots of great outsourcing options from specialised agencies and freelance communities through to some brand new platforms that actually let you hire your own dedicated external team without the cost or risk… cough, Full of Content, cough.

Build the perfect website

The internet is the place to be seen! So true, but that doesn’t mean you need a behemoth of a website clogging up your message with more information than users know what to do with. Eventually, as you finalise your product, brand and message, your website will grow into a thing of conversion-focussed beauty, but when you start out there are a lot cheaper and more direct ways to test the waters with your audience.
A few solid landing pages, with some strategic A/B testing, can get you a lot more information about what message and tone combination hits the mark with your audience. Some strategic PR and social media presence can be a good investment as well. Think hard about your digital budget and what the actual goal is before you spend the lot in one go on a Rolls-Royce site.

Have a super specific target market

This is definitely something you need to nail down. I’m just saying you don’t need to do it straight away, in fact, you shouldn’t. Come up with some initial personas you want to approach but start by throwing together a quick overview so you can get out there and see if you are targeting the right people.
These days, especially for digital products and advertising, it is quick and easy to test your theories when it comes to audience. Don’t restrict yourself to the one specific audience, but try out a few different audiences and a few different messages to see where you have some success.

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