David Ohandjanian, Founder of Up Hotel Agency has over 16 years experience starting a selection of successful agile Start-up’s in the digital space. During this time he’s picked up a range of useful tips, tricks and tools for running startups. Here’s his recipe for Start-up Success:
Preparation Guide: It’s important to to be a chef and not just a cook. It’s your business so express yourself in your own unique way with the following ingredients:
1 The Base Sauce – Passion
However exciting the idea of starting your own business initially sounds, you’ll have to expect a lot of pain, late nights and good old fashioned graft. Having a genuine passion for your idea and business will carry you through all of the sacrifice and pain with a genuine desire to succeed.
2 The Yeast – Controlled Growth
Don’t be tempted to rush business growth, however tempting it may be. Try to select the right clients and projects then grow at a comfortable pace. This part isn’t going to be easy; especially when you start up. Make sure you are able to provide the quality and time needed to service clients properly. Don’t go crazy with random contractors, try to work with people you can trust and will stick around for continuity and quality. Treat your colleagues with respect and a stimulating working environment and they are more likely to stay and grow with you.
3 Stir Well – A Balanced Mix
Finding a perfect mix of work and home life can be very tricky, especially at the start. Set limits, be flexible and be sure to try and schedule some time for rest and recuperation which will enhance your productivity at work. Find times that might be unconventional but can work for you – like turning up at the gym in the morning at 7am (yes I really do that!).
4 Drain Excess
So, this can be a challenge! Be honest and do your best to analyse the way you spend your time and even review feasibility of working with your clients (shock horror!). Sometimes an honest conversation turns out to be the bridge to a better and more open relationship with a client. Try and cut out habits or jobs that bring little value to your business but take valuable time. Good ways I’ve found to save time are using the multiple tools available online for carrying out mundane but important tasks. Here are some tools I’ve found helpful:
- Accountancy – Quickbooks / FreeAgent
- Project Management – Asana / Basecamp / Trello
- Collaboration – Google Drive / Dropbox / Evernote
- Creativity – Adobe Creative Suite / Sketch App
- Comms – Skype / Whats App
- Great Music – Spotify / Apple Music
5 Taste Test – Sample before serving
Don’t be afraid to share your ideas, briefs and problems with trusted friends and colleagues. Be open to honest feedback and value different perspectives, they will enhance the flavour and variety of your business. Always be the one to finally evaluate and make the final decision though, tastes will vary and great chef’s will trust their palette.
Reputation is worth a lot. Take care to present your business in the best light possible. Be fussy about the finishing touches, sometimes the small details make all the difference. Be proud to unveil what you bring to the table and don’t be shy to tell people about what makes you special. Understand the importance of great design, a good web presence and solid marketing plan. Know your unique selling points, don’t be afraid have personality and learn how to talk about your business in a concise and exciting way.
7 Prompt Honest Feedback
Make sure you seek out honest feedback. Never stop learning or improving your business and services. Don’t get complacent, move with your customers needs and plan for future enhancements.
8 Enjoy Your Meal
Take time to enjoy your business and the great people you’ve chosen to work with. Don’t get bogged down by late nights, tight deadlines or self doubt. Be a proud chef!