Sponsored 25 July 2019
Female founders and C-level executives are dominating the market right now. There are more women in top-level management than ever before. New and existing startups founded by women are also tackling market challenges left and right, seizing a lot of opportunities along the way.
There is no better time to start a new business than right now. Market opportunities are plentiful and ready to be seized. Resources needed to start a new business are in abundance. More importantly, getting started with your own company is easier than ever.
Before you go ahead and join forces with colleagues to start a new business, however, there are a few preparations to be made first. You have to be ready for the challenges ahead, and these five things are exactly what you need to be the next startup success story.
A Mature Product Idea
The process of developing a simple idea into a product that customers can actually use is a long one. Many founders started their businesses with a simple idea in mind, only to find that transforming that idea into tangible products and services is not as easy as it seems.
Rather than developing a raw idea after starting the new business, it is actually better to take your idea to a certain point before entering the business landscape. At the very least, you want your idea to be mature enough as a business proposition.
The best product ideas are ones that solve real, existing problems faced by potential customers. When you have a solution to a problem everyone faces, you don't have to spend as many resources trying to create a market for your new business.
While developing the idea, you can also start working on your business plan. How will the product enter the market? What are the resources you need to turn that plan into a reality? What's the market size for your product or service?
The more of these details you collect and process, the more prepared you'll be as a startup founder. You know exactly what to expect from the market when you do start the new business, making the rest of the process easier to manage.
Good Project Management
Many founders see leadership as an essential skill. It is, but it is not the only fundamental skill that you absolutely need to succeed. A more fundamental skill is project management. Think of starting a business as managing multiple projects. There are tasks that need to be completed before you can take the business off the ground, and good project management is the key to completing those tasks.
The Kanban system is a methodology that you can count on if you are new to project management. It is simple enough to use and flexible enough to adapt to different organizations and business models. You can even make an adjustment to the Kanban board based on what you actually need.
Mastering the basics of the Kanban system will also make you a better project manager. What is cycle time? How you can keep the lead time of each task at a minimum? How do you spot bottlenecks based on the Kanban cards? These questions become easier to answer now that your tasks – the projects you handle – are visualized on the board. Kanbanize is a great example of a Kanban board. Visit their site to learn more and read up on the Kanban way of managing projects.
A Strong Team
As a founder, you need to be prepared to do most of the heavy lifting. After all, this is your business, and its future is tied – in large part – to your future. You cannot expect your business to be successful from the beginning, at least not when you are not willing to invest time, money, and energy into it.
However, being a startup founder doesn't mean doing everything yourself. In fact, it doesn't have to be that way at all. You still have the ability to create a strong team, filled with capable people whose skills can help support the business.
If you are not sure about the business side of, well, your business, you can add a team member whose focus is in this field. The same is true with other tasks that you need to tackle, including manufacturing your products and marketing them to a wider audience.
Developing a strong team is perhaps the biggest challenge all founders must face. It is never easy to find likeminded people that understand your vision. Never settle for less, especially when you have big dreams for the new business.
Sufficient Financial Support
The last thing to prepare is the set of resources required to start the business. I'm talking about having enough funds to get the ball rolling, at least until the business begins generating revenue from selling products and services. Sufficient financial support, however, doesn't mean a large starting capital.
Most of the big corporations we know today were founded in a garage somewhere, with little to no capital and plenty of passion. However, those businesses face financial challenges along the way, and their founders know exactly how to face those challenges like a champ.
When you suddenly receive a big order for your product, for instance, you should know how to best cover the manufacturing and distribution costs to fulfill that order. You may have to rely on loans from friends or financial institutions.
The important thing here is knowing what to do. You can self-fund the new business at the beginning. You can keep the business self-funded in the long run too. Nevertheless, you always know what to do when you run into financial roadblocks.
Okay, there is one more thing to get right when you are starting a new business: a strong passion for the business venture. As mentioned repeatedly before, there are a lot of challenges to overcome when starting a new business. Those challenges can be overwhelming, and the only way you can stay motivated is by loving – and I do mean truly loving – what you do.
Passion is the last piece of the puzzle. Combined with the other four components covered in this article, you are ready to be the next big success story in the startup landscape.
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5 Min Read
She walks into a room ready for her presentation. She wants to land this new client and has worked weeks on it. She heads to the 35th floor of the tallest building on the block knowing she has documentation that is sure to impress. The conference room has a 20-foot long table surrounded by executives in blue suits, button-down shirts, pencil skirts, and blazers.
At this point, she realizes she didn't take into consideration the other important component of her presentation... she is not dressed appropriately.
Is it true that there is power in clothing? Can an incredible outfit increase your confidence and add validity to your brand? Will you perform your job better or feel more empowered? Will first impressions of you be more positive?
For me, the answer is a resounding yes. I believe that clothing can greatly impact first impressions and make a lasting impact on anyone you interact with. Like it or not, people will judge you on how you look and they will make both conscious and subconscious decisions about you based on what you're wearing… Is she trustworthy? Is she the expert we need? Will she fit in our corporate culture?
Can an incredible outfit increase your confidence and add validity to your brand? Will you perform your job better or feel more empowered? Will first impressions of you be more positive? For me, the answer is a resounding yes.
After all, if you were hiring a financial advisor, and one walked in with a pair of jeans and the other in a pair of trousers and blazer, who would you trust with your money? Even if you don't realize what you're doing when you interact with people, there may be more going on beneath the surface. It's something to think about for sure.
Here's another example, let's say you want to hire a party planner for an event. You meet with the first candidate, and she is wearing a wrinkled shirt and her fingernails are chipping and half-painted. Whereas candidate number two walks in and has on a pencil skirt, pumps, and silk blouse. Who do you think would pay more attention to the details associated with your party?
In 2019, WWD wrote about the psychological effects clothing has on a person:
It is said that clothing is what makes and defines a person. What you wear tells others what you are and makes a statement about your taste, character and individuality. It gives an insight into your nature, whether you are casual or formal, playful or serious, cool or just composed. Whether you are attending a job interview, out on a date or just strutting by the beach, your apparel tells us so much about you at a simple glance.
We know that it takes 5-7 seconds for a person to subconsciously form an opinion about you. Our eyes take in how you look; after all, what you're wearing will influence how you are perceived. How do you want to be perceived to your audience, your clients, and in your working industry?
How do you want to be perceived to your audience, your clients, and in your working industry?
And it goes way beyond the external. There is scientific data that shows how an individual feels differently when dressed in a variety of styles. In an article from Research Gate, they found that, "Fashion choices can affect both self-image, the impression that you convey to others and in turn, the way in which people behave towards you."
Have you ever heard of the term "enclothed cognition"? It refers to the phenomenon in which people tend to adopt the traits and properties they associate with the clothes they wear. In a study on the psychology of clothing, that same article as above reports that, "Participants judged women to be more forceful in job interviews and were more likely to recommend them for hiring when they were dressed in a more masculine style compared with a more feminine style," and that "Both men and women are attracted to stylish clothing that fits them well, makes them feel well-dressed and looks current."
On some level, we may all agree with that statement.
Naturally, as a personal stylist, I am a true believer in the power of clothes. I have seen my clients' exhilaration as they take in their transformation, brought about by an outfit, a new style, and clothes that look incredible on them. I have also witnessed physical changes like their facial expressions, huge smiles, laughter, sparkling eyes, and even a change in the way they walk. It's almost like there has been a shift in attitude toward their inner beauty, which has increased because they feel and look amazing and confident.
Although most of us are no longer strutting our way to the boardroom, the psycholigcal power of clothing is still necessary and relevant, especially now that we're confined to our home offices. Most of us are on virtual calls or live streaming from our computer, and it's easy to not prep as much for your "waist-up" meetings. But, like it or not, you should look on-brand, and put together clothes that are relevant for your industry. Not only will your peers perceieve you as more professional and more put-together, but I am sure you will also feel better, be more alert, and have more energy.
Most of us are on virtual calls or live streaming from our computer, and it's easy to not prep as much for your "waist-up" meetings. But, like it or not, you should look on-brand, and put together clothes that are relevant for your industry.
I'm not saying you need to look like a superstar every second of every day. However, I want you to think about the positive impact well-fitting, stylish clothes can have on both others' perceptions of you as well as your inner-confidence and intrinsic behavior.