how to grow your startup online

Do you have dreams of starting a company and being a successful entrepreneur?

It’s a good dream to have.

Share your idea with the world. Do what you love. Make some money on top of it all.

But as you get ready to unleash your startup on the world, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Here’s what you need to know if you want to make the most of your startup — and overcome the hurdles that come your way:

1. You will Work Harder than You Ever Have Before

Sometimes we have visions of entrepreneur types hanging out on a beach, doing very little and enjoying life.

However, the reality is that when you are involved with a startup, you will work harder than you ever have before. There will be long days. There will be nights. There will be weekends.

While at some point you will need to slow down and take a break, the reality is that you will work very hard for some time before things take off. You need to be ready to make things happen for you, and that means you will work hard.

The rewards come much later.

2. You Need a Plan

Many business owners don’t actually make plans when they start. You might have a general idea of what you hope to accomplish, but you might not actually have a plan for getting it done.

Your great idea can only get so far without a good business plan.

As you work on your startup, don’t forget to consider the business plan. Your business plan is the roadmap to success. Creating a business plan forces you to look at the market. You also have to evaluate the potential competition.

On top of that, your business plan makes it necessary for you to map out marketing ideas, and figure out how much money everything is going to take. We sometimes forget about the money side when we’re excitedly planning the future. But our dreams won’t get anywhere without business funding.

As you move forward, don’t forget about creating a business plan. Even if it’s somewhat informal, it’s a good idea to sit down and think through it, and get a few things down on paper to guide you through the process.

3. Things Won’t Always Go According to Plan

A plan is a useful tool for your startup, but it’s important to note that it’s not the be-all-and-end-all.

In fact, there’s a good chance that, at some point, things will not go according to plan.

All businesses experience setbacks. We all have personal and business failures in our lives. There’s nothing wrong with this hiccups.

In fact, failure can be an amazing teacher.

We fear failure and tend to go off the rails a bit when things don’t go according to plan.

However, even when things don’t go just how we want, there are lessons to be learned and silver linings to be found.

You might experience a delay in something you were hoping to accomplish. Maybe your funding source falls through. Perhaps your idea doesn’t work just like you imagined.

Whatever the difficulty is, don’t let that stop you. Know that things in a startup don’t go smoothly all the time, and you need to be ready for when things don’t go to plan.

Adaptability is a huge part of being successful in business. Make it a point to be flexible as needed. You can tweak your plan — or even pivot — if needed.

4. Delegation is Key

For many in the startup world, learning to delegate is one of the hardest skills to acquire.

You want to micromanage everything to make sure things go according to plan. However, this is a short road to complete insanity.

You can’t do everything yourself. It’s impossible. While you might need to wear a lot of hats as a startup entrepreneur, the reality is that, at some point, you need someone else to pitch in and take over some of the mundane tasks.

If you try to do everything yourself, you will burn out and eventually your business will crash and burn. At some point, you need to offload some of the workload and let others handle it. Trust them to get the job done.

Your startup will thrive when you learn to delegate effectively.

5. You Need the Right People

Of course, you can’t feel comfortable delegating if you don’t have the right people to trust. If you’re going to delegate, you need the right people to delegate to. That means figuring out who is most likely to counterbalance your weaknesses.

Carefully think about what you need to manage different aspects of your startup. If you can only hire one or two people to start, prioritize the jobs that are most critical to your business. That way, you will have a better chance of moving forward with the things that really matter.

Take the time to recruit top people to your team. When you build a creative team that can work independently and you empower them to move your business forward, it’s much easier to get ahead.

And you’ll be surprised at how your business can grow.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Evolve

The great hope for many of us is to grow and progress. You don’t want your business to remain stagnant.

Instead, you want it to respond to the needs of your customers. Pay attention to what your audience wants, and make it a point to deliver.

On top of that, the market will change. New technologies will appear. Your team will innovate. Not matter how it unfolds, you need to embrace evolutions and progress.

As a startup, you never know what might happen next. You have a plan to guide you, but you also want to grow and improve. You can do that within the plan, and also by updating the plan as things change.

When you embrace change more opportunities open up to you. Don’t be afraid to grasp them — even if they don’t look exactly like what you thought they would.

7. Commit to a Positive Mission

One of the great things about living now is that you can combine your startup with a mission to save the world.

If you want to attract people who are enthusiastic and ready to make a difference, you need to build a positive mission into your company culture. Many millennials want a purpose in their work. This can be a great way to attract top talent to your business. Yes, they want to be paid fairly for their work, but you can go a long way by offering meaning.

You want a business culture that promotes a mission that others can get behind. Think about the positive things you can do for the world or in your industry. Then look for others who match your values.

Build a culture that encourages feedback, openness, and transparency. As you work on your positive mission, these other things will come with it.

There’s a lot to be said for being the kind of place others want to work. If you lead with vision, others will follow — and be happy to do so. Start with a positive company culture for your startup, and almost everything else will fall in line as long as you stick to your values.

I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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