Traditional 9-to-5 jobs are becoming less commonplace—especially for young graduates just entering the workforce. Between side hustles, freelance work, and startup businesses, there are more and more ways for recent grads to make a living outside of the office.
However, startups rarely become successful overnight, and even the most lucrative businesses take time to prosper. If you’re considering starting your own business as a new grad, here’s what you need to know to launch a successful startup.
Start with market research.
Whether you’re launching a new startup, trying to boost your revenue, or just looking to gain an edge over the competition, market research is critical. Market research helps business owners identify how customers and potential customers might view your startup and helps identify gaps in customer expectations. In other words, market research helps build market intelligence—which helps minimize risks when making key business decisions.
According to Will Manders, managing director of Zoonibo, “market research is… heavily overlooked by first-time entrepreneurs.” Market research can help you determine whether your ideas would make a viable business. Consequently, skipping market research can lead to failure if the market isn’t there for your ideas to be scalable.
Figure out your finances.
Prospective entrepreneurs need to prepare for every aspect of running a business—from marketing to bookkeeping. Accurate bookkeeping is key to keeping accurate financial records, complying with tax laws, and tracking profit and growth. In fact, for small businesses, a strong and efficient accounting team can ultimately be the difference between success and failure.
For new business owners with no experience filing financial reports or bookkeeping, you might feel like you’re falling behind when it comes to payroll, bookkeeping, and financial analysis. Whether your startup is overwhelmed with its current accounting responsibilities or you’re preparing to expand, outsourcing your finance department can help you take the next major step forward with confidence. With an outsourced finance department, small business owners can create an efficient financial management system, control overall costs, and build stronger compliance measures.
An outsourced finance department and accounting team can give your small business access to everything it needs to achieve long-term goals and gain an edge over the competition—from high-quality financial reports and detailed financial analysis to advice from financial experts. If you’re working with a limited budget, scalable accounting solutions can help your business grow while reducing the time and effort your team spends on hiring, training, and managing accounting staff.
Focus on company objectives.
In its first year, Google started using OKRs—objectives and key results—to track progress toward company goals. Especially at fast-moving companies like Google, OKRs are essential, according to Falon Fatemi, founder, and CEO of Node. Small businesses that set strategic goals, track and measure them with targeted key results, and follow up on progress are headed in the right direction to becoming high-performance organizations.
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to create and assign company OKRs. As your small business grows close to the 20-person mark, start individualizing OKRs. Ask yourself how each of your team members contribute to the function’s goals and the success of your business. Instead of creating OKRs by function, focus on each individual’s part of the equation.
Workboard, an OKR software platform, can help you get started. With localized OKRs, simplified accountability, and immediate coaching and enablement, Workboard gives team members the ability to work autonomously and measure progress toward company goals.
If you want to be a successful entrepreneur after graduating, you’ll need to work longer and harder than you ever have before. Ultimately, even in the face of challenges, your small business can thrive if you have the tenacity and ambition to stay on course.