Start-ups by their very nature are exactly that; just a start. In every new entrepreneurial adventure, you’re drawing up your blueprint for business from scratch and the journey is often terrifying and exhilarating. Laszlo Szabo, the creator of Little Sale Birdy, a revolutionary retail website that will change the way Australian’s shop by sale, shares the seven lessons he learned in the first year of his successful start-up (ones they’ll never tell you in business and marketing school):
7 start-up hard truths exposed

  1. The first year of a start-up is an emotional rollercoaster. “Your first year in business will be a more difficult than you could have ever anticipated, and not only on you; it will affect everyone around you. Prepare yourself and your family and friends for a turbulent period of ups and downs.”
     
  2. Australia is a tough market to crack. “In Australia seed capital is hard to obtain but it is critical to marketing and operations, therefore you need to persevere and when you do get it, make sure it is working effectively and efficiently.”
     
  3. Your team may not work out. “It is imperative that you bring the right people and businesses on board. When you make the wrong choice (and it’s inevitable) by recruiting an unsuitable colleague it will be very costly – financially and emotionally.”
     
  4. Customers are hard to get. “When you’re so invested in your idea and you know it’s a good one, it is easy to fool yourself in to thinking people will quickly follow suit. Be prepared for a long road of not only finding customers, but keeping them.”
     
  5. Plan for failure. “Your marketing strategy should entail a Plan B. And Plan C. You must have an exit strategy before doing any business because statistics prove that the majority of start-ups will need one.”
     
  6. Your perspective does not matter. “Surely you know what your market wants – wrong! Many start-ups fail because the marketer focuses on what they’d like to see happen. Learn to listen to your audience and speak to them in their language.”
     
  7. Negative feedback is gold. “You’re going to make mistakes. Daily. Use your team and target market as a source of information; implore them for feedback and advice on to how they’d negotiate the situation. While feedback can be difficult to take, it enables you to learn what works and accept what doesn’t.”
     

Is your business in its infancy? Have you survived your first year? Is your start-up still on the drawing board? Please share your experiences via our Twitter and Facebook.
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Anna James

Anna James is an experienced, doggedly determined journalist with a passion for business and creative PR.  Starting out in publishing, Anna loves putting together a good story and has written across a multitude of genres and styles for a varied audience.  A former sports reporter, Anna shifted her focus to entrepreneurial blogging and regularly contributes to Entrepreneur Magazine and Bigcommerce.  Launching her freelance writing company in 2013, Anna has worked for Woman’s Day, Fox Sports, NSW Parliament, FilmInk Magazine, xoJane and several other publications. 

1 comment

  • Fiona Tew
    08/07/14

    This year my best friend has started a fashion retail site targeting women of all shapes and sizes. She too is trying to change the way people shop by displaying clothes on models of all shapes. Of course this sounds like a great idea! Not everyone is a size six with legs for days so internet shopping for most of us can be frustrating. But it's not all been fantastic so far. There's been negative feedback and very low sales so far regardless of the amount of mentions she's received in the press worldwide.
    This article has given me hope though, it's been mostly down for her so far so I'm hoping she gets one of those 'ups' you talked about soon!

    So thanks for the article, I'll be sure to pass is on to my friend!

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