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How to start a successful business

Words by Nathan Irvine

The tips to success

Setting up your own business or brand has never been easier. The days of needing vast amounts of investment cash are over. And with a keen eye for guerilla marketing through social media, you don't need to have a sales and advertising team for your brand or products to be seen.

An example of this is Squat Wolf. The UAE-based gym clothing company was founded in 2016 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. So we asked Anam Khalid, co-founder of Squat Wolf, for her top three tips on how to build a successful business.

Squat Wolf From idea to reality

Supplied Anam Khalid, co-founder of Squat Wolf

Study your idea and the market

The business idea must be well thought and well researched. Most business ideas fall under one of two categories - problem focused or opportunity focused.

A problem focused idea should sound like "I experienced X problem and started looking for solutions and had an insight of Y". Opportunity focused idea should sound like "I explored the market and found this great business opportunity".

Founders behind a problem focused business tend to be more passionate and invested into the brand as they experienced something personally and are trying to provide a solution. Whereas the opportunity focused business owners might have a tough time to acquire all the required skills and knowledge to set up and then run the business. No matter the underlying reason, an in-depth study of the market and knowing how the future of the industry might look can make a world of a difference.

Find a co-founder

A co-founder can be very helpful and offer a complimentary skill set to start the business, share the burden of the crazy amounts of work and make decisions from different perspectives. Choosing a co-founder who is from a circle of people you trust is the best way to go. Trust and reliability between the co-founders play a key role in the success of the business.

Starting a business is no walk in the park. Running one is even harder and more stressful. Having a co-founder offers moral and emotional support, division of responsibility and risk mitigation.

Investors also generally prefer to put their cash into those brands that are run by a team rather than an individual. The founder is the most important person of the company and if they exit for any reason, the company can die. Having more than one founder provides more stability and peace of mind to the investors.

Have a bootstrap mentality

Bootstrap mentality is doing more with less, relying on your own resources and skills than being dependent on external support.

It can look like having to manage the finances of the business very closely and only spending when you know the business can afford it. It’s the “can do” attitude, agility, and conviction that a start-up requires to be successful on its own.

Even when externally funded, the bootstrap mentality helps businesses curtail expenses and spend where it is necessary. When expanding the business, the bootstrap mentality saves you from overspending and staying focused on the bottom line.

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