7 Hacks for a Strong Startup

What an amazing feeling to wake up in the morning, have your coffee, get dressed and go to work . Or wait a minute maybe you don’t have to go directly to the company; maybe you want to go play some golf? Or run for a bit? Why not? You still have time. More importantly, you don’t have a boss … You are the boss! It’s your own successful company.

I am sure this is the dream of many people around, including myself. However; it’s not that easy. It is very attainable but it needs a lot of hardwork and a great deal of planning. I’ll share with you some thoughts about what I think are the important factors that any entrepreneur needs to consider before starting their own business.

  1. Nature, Legal Form, and Portfolio

This is the homework you should start with first. Pick your idea very carefully, study your market very well, research, ask, and attend any related events in order to help you shape your idea and understand how you will start, the Middle East, especially UAE, has the best platforms for any business to grow faster as long as it’s strong and well established.

When choosing your business nature, you have two options; whether you establish an experience related business such as management consultancy firm, web designing, or software development… etc, or you have a capital and you want to hire people to do the job for you or partner with others. In both cases, a careful feasibility study has to be made.

Then you proceed to deciding on the legal form of your company. In the UAE, there are two options whether through the Department of Economic Development -in this case you need to have a business partner; or you can establish your company within an economic free zone.

Next is your great portfolio. You need a great first impression to start with while you’re marketing for your services and products.

  1. Uniqueness and Innovation

Uniqueness beats the business nature. You can have the same idea as what everyone has around you. However, the uniqueness of implementing the idea is really what counts.

One of the most successful examples (from my point of view) is a juice bar called ‘Beesket’. Here, in UAE it’s not a new business at all, you can see around you hundreds of juice bars everywhere. But what would make you think of going there is the unique way of ordering your juice. Basically what customers do, is choosing the type and ingredients of their drinks in a honeycomb shaped basket by adding pieces with a shape of the fruit they want to add. After a couple of minutes, they can get their fresh juice with what exactly they ordered. It is a very simple concept, yet unique and definitely smart.

So this is what your startup needs. Uniqueness and adding value to customers will make you different with your competitors.

  1. Network

Without people, customers, and partners, you will not be able to run your business. You need partners to grow your business, you need people to help you deliver your services and product, and last but not least, you still need the vital factor in this process which is the customer.

Your network will be your own personal marketing channel; it will help you to generate more business opportunities, especially those who know you very well and confident about your quality of getting things done.

Make sure that you have their support before starting your business as this is the best time for you to use your network – as your marketing efforts will take a while – but your network will always be dependable.

  1. Budget

Sometimes people get very excited about implementing their idea or establish their own business and just start. When you have the money or means, it seems very appealing to get your license, make purchases, hire services here and there, all because you want to build your company. But what’s next? How you will make sure that you have enough budget to cover everything later like marketing, consultation, etc.? At least how can you make sure that you will have enough money (Salary) that will cover your monthly expenses at least for the coming 6 months.

If you’re not sure about that, then you need to consider it very well. Money is important; it guarantees you a comfort zone so you can think creatively and freely. It’s also important to keep your business up and running.

  1. Team

Your team is your company’s backbone. Especially if you’re delivering a service (not only physical products, as service means people), if your people aren’t aware of what they provide, do not be surprise if you lose customers. That point needs a whole article to talk about, but it can be summarized by trusting trust your team, encouraging, investing, empowering, and delegate responsibilities.

As an alternative; freelancers are considered one of the best solutions in performing tasks especially for new companies since it doesn’t require full time employees at the beginning, but still it’s a great way of providing services. However; you should be very selective about who you will hire as a freelancer.

  1. Business Development

When I say Business Development, I don’t mean ‘marketing’ or ‘sales’. I mean the real business development -exploring your market, building partnerships, and understanding what your customers need.

Of course you need to increase your sales so the revenue will be higher. But what’s important is increasing the value – both values – for your company and also for your customers and stakeholders. It is one loop, keep in mind that happy employees mean happy customers and happy customers mean higher profit.

  1. Sustainability

Sustainable means continuous and continuous means successful. As long as you are still providing a service or a product, it means that you’ve survived. However, some companies survive without making a single profit with only their ‘hopes’ the situation will change to their side.

That’s why successful companies don’t consider sustainability as nothing but a top priority. No harm to think of sustainability even before you actually start your business, according to Forbes Magazine “8 out of 10 startups fail in the first 18 months”. It’s a vital aspect to look for, think carefully, and even create a sustainability plan for your company over the coming few years.

These are my hacks. What are yours?


Mahmoud Garad is a Business Development Manager and Business Excellence Consultant at International Performance Excellence. He has a broad experience gained by dealing with several clients across the UAE and Middle East. He is also a EFQM certified assessor conducting organizational assessment using the EFQM model, helping create a customer centric organizations and enrich the workforce environment by focusing on the importance of ‘People’ within organizations

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