The Do’s & Don’ts Every Start–up MUST Follow in Order to Prosper

By MaryEllen Tribby

Every company is different; not only in the niche they serve or the business model they follow, but in personality and intellect as well.

This is especially true in the start-up phase.

Start-ups operate differently from companies that have been around for decades. They are more fragile and require more blood, sweat and tears.

How they operate from the start can make or break the company. What may seem like a few harmless decisions can easily determine the organization’s fate.

That is why I have created ten “Do’s” and “Don’ts” every start-up must follow if they are looking to become a long-term profitable organization.

Do The Do’s and Do Them Well!

1.  Be obsessed with your mission: Every start-up must craft a mission statement. In its simplest form, a mission statement describes why you are in business. Once you know exactly what your mission is – you need to breathe, eat and sleep it. You need to exude this to your employees, customers and colleagues.

2.  Live your core values everyday: Your core values are how you operate in business. Your values describe the heart, soul and consciousness of your business. This is what your customers, competitors, and colleagues will notice right away.  Because this goes directly to how you treat them and others.

3.  Only hire employees who love your company: There are few things as bad as apathy or complacency in business. Mostly because it breeds like a couple of horny bunnies. That is why you only want people who truly love working in your company. During the interview process, make sure you find out “why” that potential employee wants to work with your organization. Make sure they show commitment to the company as well as a deep understanding of your mission.

4.  Focus on sales: Make sure YOU know how your company will make money and how you will actually make sales. Do not leave this up to anyone else. Your company will face many challenges along the way. These challenges will range from personnel issues to changes in the market. If you have a solid strategy to make recurring sales, your company will survive and thrive.  Sales will help cure all trouble.

5.  Know your USP: Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is the real benefit of your products and services. It differentiates them from the competing brands and gives its buyer a logical reason to purchase it over other brands. The USP is often a critical component of a promotional theme around which a marketing campaign is built.

Don’t Mess With The Don’ts

1.  Don’t spend money on swag: When you are starting out you do not need a fancy office or furniture. You don’t need t-shirts and hats. You don’t even need business cards. The only thing you need is sales. And that is where your capital should be spent.

2.  Don’t get caught up on cutting edge technology: Use the technology you have and are familiar with. Technology is sophisticated enough to be forgiving. As a startup, you don’t need the most expensive solution; you just need to get it done.  Let your few employees use what they are comfortable with. You will be far more productive if you are not spending your time learning new technologies and software systems.

3.  Don’t try to stick square pegs in round holes: Make sure you hire the right people according to their core competencies. Concentrate on and use their strengths for your important needs. Don’t spend time on trying to improve their weaknesses.

4.  Don’t hire advertising agencies: You can do better marketing for your company than an advertising agency ever could.  Save your startup budget and do your own marketing plans and work. Getting sales is about direct response marketing, not branding. The branding will come, organically, over time from consistently delivering a great product and focusing on the customer.

5.  Don’t play favorites: When starting up a business with employees, have an open door policy for all. This keeps everyone in tune with you and each other and creates and environment of equality. Treat everyone fairly. Spend the appropriate amount of time with everyone.

Many of these guidelines will and should stay in use regardless of the age of your business and its revenue size. For example, you will always want to be obsessed about your mission and live your core values.

However, a few of these other guidelines will change as your business grows. For example, as you are making more and more money, you may want and need to have better technology.

As a matter of fact, each stage of business will bring you new challenges, which will require new guidelines.

But when in the start-up phase, stick with these guidelines so that you can reach and surpass each stage of business.

MaryEllen About MaryEllen

MaryEllen Tribby has helped thousands of people start a new business or grow their existing ones. MaryEllen is the Founder and CEO of, the world’s leading newsletter and website for the empowerment of the working mom. Prior to founding WMO, MaryEllen was Publisher & CEO of Early to Rise and President of Weiss Research where she added millions to their bottom lines in just a few months. She also ran divisions at Forbes, Times Mirror Magazines, and Crain’s New York Business. MaryEllen is the best-selling author of Reinventing the Entrepreneur: Turning Your Dream Business into a Reality and co-author (with Michael Masterson) of Changing the Channel: 12 Easy Ways to Make Millions For Your Business.

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