10 Startup Tips for 2023
From standing by your worth to remembering the power of profit, here are 10 answers to the question, “What is the best business advice you have ever been given?”
- Name Your Price and Don't You Dare Apologize for It
- Not Everyone Can Afford You
- Instill a Customer-First Ideology
- Create a Strong Company Culture
- Diversify Your Offerings
- Always Know Your Numbers
- Fail Fast and Don't Avoid Failure
- Focus on Value and Revenue Will Follow
- Make a Solid Plan and Stick to It
- Never Forget: Cash is King
Name Your Price and Don't You Dare Apologize for It
In my journey as an entrepreneur, I justified my prices out of concern that a potential client would slip through my fingers. A friend told me to name my price, and I'd better not ever apologize or justify it.
She said, "You have the people who will pay $5,000?! Or the others who will say 'Send me the invoice.' Everyone is not your client."
That helped me build confidence and also clearly identify who my market truly was. When you know you have a quality product that you've worked hard to develop, don't feel guilty or apprehensive about naming your price.
Not Everyone Can Afford You
I used to struggle with pricing my services. I didn't want to undercut myself, of course, but I also wasn't sure how to feel when customers said I was out of their budgets. Given that I work mostly with businesses, I had to remind myself that my customers weren't paying out of their own pockets.
I also came to realize that I'm not always able to afford the products or services I'd like. Some things are just out of reach—and the same holds true with the services I provide. Quality work costs a premium.
When I first started, I had a race-to-the-bottom mindset just so I could attract customers. But now, I've gotten better at gauging the value I bring to businesses, and I charge accordingly.
Instill a Customer-First Ideology
The best business advice I have ever been given is to focus on the customer foremost. Businesses should always strive to provide the best possible customer experience, as this is what will ultimately lead to long-term success.
Customers don't care about you or your company; they only care about how well you can fulfill their needs and provide value. So, I strongly believe that you must always strive to understand customer needs and preferences, as this is the only way to truly provide value to your customers and drive loyalty.
Create a Strong Company Culture
When I started a startup in 2021, my mentor advised me to focus on creating a solid company culture. It might sound simple, but it has been very effective for me since then. With a strong company culture, I can attract and keep top talent, increase employee engagement and productivity, and improve overall business performance.
To create a strong company culture, our management and HR team have established a clear set of values and a vision for the company. They have gathered input from employees and stakeholders to ensure that the values align with the needs and goals of the business.
Once the values have been established, our HR department communicates them to employees and ensures that we consistently reinforce them through actions and behaviors.
Karen Cate Agustin, Analyst, Investors Club
Diversify Your Offerings
The best advice I've ever given to a business owner is to urge them to diversify their operations and offer complimentary services to their main offerings. This move will also improve the innovation around their business offerings.
Diversification means that they are guaranteed to stay in business in the long run, since they will match the competition and offer something unique to keep the business afloat. Monotony in business kills progress.
Always Know Your Numbers
Knowing your numbers is probably the number one piece of advice I have ever been given when running my businesses. No matter what business you are in, you need to know what numbers you need to hit to break even, how much profit you make per order, etc.
Without knowing how you are currently performing, you won't know what your next steps are.
Fail Fast and Don't Avoid Failure
The best business advice I have ever been given is to never be afraid of failure. It sounds counterintuitive when you’re trying to build a successful business, but with every setback comes an opportunity for growth and learning.
A few years ago, as I was launching my first company, I found myself in a position where it felt like everything was going wrong and all the hard work wasn't paying off. That's when one of my mentors told me this simple truth: “It’s OK to fail; just make sure you learn from your mistakes.”
That piece of wisdom shifted my entire outlook on risk-taking in business and gave me the courage to keep pushing forward even when things didn't go according to plan. Now, whenever I face a hard decision or feel overwhelmed by potential risks, I always remind myself that there's nothing wrong with making mistakes—as long as I learn from them.
Focus on Value and Revenue Will Follow
The internet and books are loaded with business advice. But for me, what works for you is real advice, not hearsay. So, I will only talk about what worked for me: “Focus on value, and revenue will follow.”
When I got this advice, I was already in business, but going through drastic changes because of Covid-19. I took the advice seriously and focused on the quality of the products, as well as improving customer relationships, and left the rest to God.
Fortunately, everything came back on track, so I thought I should share it with you. But I also focused on other aspects of the business, so the type of business you have will determine which advice can suit you best.
Make a Solid Plan and Stick to It
In business, we're taught that being adaptable is how you can succeed, but there is such a thing as being too adaptable to external forces beyond your control. The word for this is normally impulsive or reactive.
Making a solid plan that is incredibly detailed and forecasts any potential hiccups along the way is far better than having a plan and scrapping it at the first sight of danger. If your business is good enough, it should also be able to weather potential storms in the future.
Never Forget: Cash Is King
Cash is the beating heart of any business, and without it, you won't last long. Many strong businesses have failed and gone under because of this, as they haven't managed their working capital appropriately. Just because you are profitable doesn't mean you will always have cash in the bank, so you need to forecast.
Think of it like this: if a business runs out of cash, it can't pay its suppliers, which means it won't receive the raw materials needed to create its product or service. Without a product or service, it won't generate any income, which will further exacerbate its position.
The likelihood is that the team won't be able to trade out of this position, so they will go bust. If they can trade out of this position, then they may suffer reputational damage besides a fractured supply chain. Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, and cash is king.