Take some advice about how to avoid typical first year mistakes from a business that has been there, done that: Gooseberry Catering.
1. Steer Clear of Freebies: When you’re a start-up, lots of people come out of the woodwork asking for a free service or “mates rates”. Because we were new we took any business we could get, even if it meant we were working for free. If you want to extend a discount go for 10 percent off – that way the customer feels like you are taking care of them, but you aren’t left out of pocket or struggling.
2. Avoid unconstructive attachment: Don’t become so attached to your idea that you aren’t willing to listen to feedback. It’s important that you back your idea, but listening to customers’ advice can help you improve and grow.
3. Don’t overspend: As soon as money comes into the bank, it’s so easy to start spending on anything and everything you think you need. Have a well thought out and structured plan of what is most important to the business, and stick to it.
4. Don’t try to do too much: As a start-up, you want to try to take on everything that comes your way. If you spread yourself too thin, you won’t be able to give each job all of your energy, and will risk leaving your customers with the wrong impression. Don’t be afraid to turn business away.
5. Don’t be afraid to cut ties: If something isn’t working, get rid of it. Sometimes when you’ve invested time, money and effort into a scheme it’s hard to shut it down. It should be evident pretty quickly if an idea is going to take off or not. If it doesn’t, don’t hang onto it and let it suck your finances and energy dry.
Gooseberry Catering is an organic catering business and is currently trialing ANZ’s new app for small businesses, FastPay. Go to http://www.fastpay.anz.com/ for more information.