By Stuart Jolley, founder of Wingman

Starting up a new business can seem a daunting task at the best of times. The market is swollen with ideas and keeping your head above the choppy waters can seem like an impossible mission.

Every existing business appears to have a wealth of experience; contacts, and nous, so just getting started is a huge obstacle. What’s important is to shut out the noise and focus on what you want to achieve.

The next step is to get your head down and work hard at reaching your goals. However, hard work of course will only get you so far. You need innovation and importantly, you need to know your market.

You also need good timing as choosing when to launch is key. This can be hard, especially if funds are low and you are gagging to get stuck in. Launching a summer product in the winter won’t get you anywhere and may lose you investor’s confidence.

Even if your product is unique and its market entry timed to a tee, there are still other factors to consider. You can be too ambitious, or not ambitious enough.

Being a startup does have its advantages though. New businesses can often be braver and try things that larger, more established companies can’t. Take viral adverts for example, which can potentially be a risk. Your relative anonymity can also allow you to test the waters of your markets to see how they respond in advance of a main product release.

Maybe, for example, the small size of your business will make it more attractive to a certain crowd where being unknown is the ‘in’ thing. Think how many bands are popular because people get respect for having ‘found’ them. At the start, being underground can be cool and even buy you a ticket to a bigger stage.

As the start your brands image is a flexible concept. You can almost mold it at will.

Being out of the business spotlight can be attractive to investors too as they might see potential for a low price, offering expertise for a stake in your company. This, however, is an area for caution and finding the right partner is essential. You want people willing to put in their money but you don’t want to change your original idea so much you no longer recognise it as your own.

This may seem like overconfidence, after all shouldn’t the newbie listen to those that have been there, done that and got the t-shirt? Some will say they should, but bear in mind a compromise may lead to your horse being turned into a camel at committee, which is fine if you want to cross the Sahara, but no good if your dream was to win the Grand National.

A mentor who believes in you and your idea, not just in his own abilities can be of vital assistance. A real mentor will use his experience to help you achieve your targets without hijacking the project altogether.

Belief is key. You have to believe that your idea can make it, and you have to be headstrong enough to keep your dream alive, yet willing to listen. The confidence to know which advice to accept and which to reject is crucial.

Finally, don’t let the daunting nature of the task get in the way. You may not be able to take everything in your stride but perhaps your lack of boundaries could help you develop a new idea. There is a wealth of experience out there, but choosing to listen to yourself and recognising those in business that you can trust can never be overestimated.

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