Steve Smith, Co-founder of Poundland, shares his golden rules for starting a new business.
1. Make sure your idea/concept works before expanding
Do your research and make sure your offer isn’t just another bland concept in an already saturated market – assess the gaps and see where there is an opportunity to make money.
2. It’s not what you know but who you know
It might sound like a cliché, but building a network of respected contacts is really important, and can prove invaluable when you need assistance or advice.
3. Keep it simple
Overcomplicating your business is the main pitfall of many failed businesses. Find a product or service, make sure it sells, and then put the time and effort into finding the best suppliers. This will enable you to make your margin.
4. Choose your people wisely
Your team can make your business, and they can just as easily break it. Work with people you trust, who know your market, and who are as passionate about the company as you are.
5. It’s all about location, location, location
Whether you are selling online or on the high street, get to know your offer, decide where it needs to be positioned in order to reach your audience, and (quite literally) put it there.
6. Listen out for customer feedback, and act on it
Remaining in control of your buyers is the golden rule, and finding out what they want or need is the only way to do that. Always look after your customers, or someone else will!
7. Listen to your team
Those at the “coal face” know the most about the business in real-time – you can respond far quicker to trends and changes in the marketplace by simply listening to your people.
8. Don’t enjoy what you’re doing? You’re not doing it right
Setting up your own business takes hard work, focus and real dedication. The road isn’t always smooth or straight forward, so you’ve got to love what you do if you’re going to succeed.
9. It isn’t about “us and them”
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Director, CEO, office-based, field-based or a warehouse worker – a management versus workers scenario doesn’t wash. In a business, you’re all part of the same (hopefully well-oiled) machine and should be working to the same end goal, regardless of responsibility.
10. Have fun!
You spend more time with your work colleagues than most people will spend with friends and family, so make sure you enjoy it. People work better as a team, and it’s important that you work well with your colleagues.