An Inspiring Advice For Start-ups From WebMethods Co-founder Caren Merrick
Learn First-Hand from A Successful Entrepreneur-How To Grow Your Business
If you’re contemplating on starting your own business, then you need to arm yourself with tons of expert advice. You need to hear from people who, once upon a time, dreamt of building a business and are now embracing success. One of the greatest success stories that you can learn from is from Caren Merrick, co-founder of the American company webMethods. She and husband Phillip built the business from the ground-up. Now webMethods is by far the most successful software IPO. It also had the fourth most successful debut on the NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations), the world’s second-largest stock exchange.
From 1996 when they founded the company, it took the couple merely four years to get webMethods into the NASDAQ index. Now, Caren Merrick shares her insights on how you can turn your start-up business into something grand. Who knows, perhaps into an enterprise that would be in the same league as webMethods. Here are her helpful tips:
Test your idea
Take it from Caren that back in the ‘90s, they had rather limited resources with which to work. But despite the situation, they were bent on doing a test of their product on a small scale. They used the concept of minimum viable product or MVP. MVP allows customers to use your product so that you can get their feedback early on. Say for example you want to open a restaurant that you envision to become a successful chain. You would introduce your offerings gradually and have customers sample the dishes before finalizing the menu. In this way, you can already identify which products are potentials.
Minimum viable product or MVP allows customers to use your product so that you can get their feedback early on.
Whatever you do, keep your focus
While there’s nothing wrong with being enthusiastic, but you need to maintain discipline and focus in order to deal with each plan and situation. It is important to prioritize and not to spread yourself too thin. Caren advises that aspiring entrepreneurs should zero in on just these three points to stay focus:
- What customer problems are we solving?
- Where is the leverage?
- How do we measure it?
Be with the right people
“You are known by the company you keep, so choose wisely.” In growing your business, it is wiser to get people who have integrity, talent, and emotional intelligence. Ideally, you want a network that can prove useful to your business. The kind of people that you hire in your team is a reflection of your business and its image. So it is important to be selective and make sure that the characteristics you need exist in the people you’re employing.
“You are known by the company you keep, so choose wisely.” – Caren Merrick
Form alliances that count
Your partnerships should be strategic, for the simple reason that they should give your business credibility, more presence, and a further reach. Seek out alliances with people or groups who have brand recognition in your target market. They should also have a customer base that stands to benefit from your products and services. The key to achieving these partnerships is to invest a lot of time and effort building relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Be transparent and keep stakeholders well-informed
Your stakeholders are your team, investors, and influencers. Don’t keep things under wraps but instead, communicate actively to people about what goes on in the business. With your team, always keep them in the loop and never tire of acknowledging their contributions to the company. Remind them of why the business exists, how it makes money, and the expectations from the team needed to reach the goal.
With your investors, inform them when you hit set milestones. Notify them when there are new customers or any new developments in the business. This will show your investors how much you value their involvement. With your influencers, always be visible and work to get media exposure to build your credibility with your stakeholders. Identify the key media, bloggers, and other broadcast and agents that can elevate your business’ profile.
Accept that you will fail
Things will be rough at times, and failure is unavoidable. Trying is a significant experience for your growth and success because you need to find out what doesn’t work for you. Caren confesses that the couple’s bank account was on the brink of being zero before things worked in their favor. In other words, they did not give up. With the help of their support system, they were encouraged to press on and turned their failures into opportunity.
Make room for unwinding
Find time to recharge. You need to maintain a healthy body and a clear mind, which are your basic investments in your business. Have a routine that fuels your energy, like exercising, or unwinding with friends. Find something that temporarily gets your mind off business. You are not a robot but a human being who deserves to enjoy life.
Now that you know these insights ask yourself if you have what it takes to start and grow your own business. You won’t know until you try.
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