The five most useful tips for breakthrough start-ups

Exploding onto the world with a good product is scary, exciting, and everything in between, but there are a few pitfalls every entrepreneur needs to be mindful of.

You’re a start-up that’s just getting your feet wet on the international stage. Maybe you’ve won a couple of awards, or spread across social media like wildfire by positive word-of-mouth; whatever you’re up to, here’s some do and dont's from Terry Allen, the customer director at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

1. Hire the right people

The talent that you hire should be the right people in their market. They’re willing to learn in how to keep up with company strategy, and aren’t afraid to tackle new challenges. Be diligent in securing the ‘right’ talent over the ‘best’ talent, and make sure to push the reset button in hiring if your first and second options are failures.

2. Not focusing strictly on funding

Too many businesses believe that success is equal to securing more funding capital, and the CEO works with venture funds and angel investors over their customers. That’s the wrong way to go about a business – make sure your customers are happy first, and then go after the capital.

3. Creating a good infrastructure

When you’re taking on a huge load of customers, be ready with decent 24/7-customer service. It’s a continuation of the previous point: make sure you have a good support infrastructure so your customers still receive the best product available. In the same vein, don’t try to grow above your infrastructure.

4. Be flexible with your company’s direction

Over the course of growing your business, your KPI may change. Be ready to negotiate with your investors on a change of plan or change of direction so that your business doesn’t stagnate. Learn to be ready to ditch old habits in favour of new ones.

5. Be willing to shuffle your employees

Growing a young start-up is tough, and having a core team of loyal people with great insight is great, but they may not be most suited for the new responsibilities they’ve been given. Make sure your team members are working at things they excel at, letting creatives create and managers manage.