Startup success is dependent on high-quality information from reliable sources. Startup blogs are chock full of regurgitated content, but you don’t have time for so much redundancy. You need information beyond the superficial. You already know you need competent employees and a solid marketing plan, but where’s the advice on researching payment processors and web developers? The following is what they don’t tell you about starting a new business, but you’ll need this information if you want to stand apart from the competition.
You Need a Reliable Payment Processor
You need online processing solutions, but choosing from the myriad of merchant account providers is difficult, especially when you’re just starting out and know little about the field. Basically, a payment processor makes it easy for startup companies to accept domestic and international payments. A reputable and worthy global payment processor should include the following services for ecommerce, international, and B2B businesses:
- Debit and credit card processing
- Multi-currency support
- Recurring billing
- Hosted checkout pages
- Online shopping cart integration
- API integration
- And, fraud and prevention security
Set a budget for this area, and look for service solutions that offer the most services at a price you can afford. In general, these companies offer two ways to pay: variable fees, which are calculated based on the number of transactions per period and flat rates. If you find yourself overpaying, don’t be afraid to transition to a new merchant services solution.
It’s Okay to Fire Web Developers
Just like you’ve carved out a niche, so should your web developer. The most qualified developer will have worked with companies like yours. They should understand your products and services and be able to effectively showcase your innate characteristics. Entrepreneur recommends that you try developers on small “non-critical” projects, so you can observe them in action. Don’t be afraid to take your time during the hiring process and fire someone as soon as they prove incapable of living up to your standards. “An ineffective web developer can be disruptive to the entire team and potentially the entire project,” so hire slow and fire fast.
Advertising Isn’t as High-Priority as They Say
Although advertising is necessary, it’s not something you should pump money into prematurely. Harry Whitehouse, the co-founder and chief tech officer for Endicia, reports “When Endicia debuted, it had a handful of competitors all backed by VCs and just as eager as we were to emerge as the market leader in ecommerce shipping. These companies outshone us in every regard, whether by purchasing the largest booth at trade shows or by shelling out $50 million just to be on AOL’s front page. But, while other companies were using their money to promote their products, we were using ours to perfect our technology… When the dot-com crash came and went, our business was the one left standing, mainly because we hadn’t wasted all our resources on flashy promotions.”
Development is Your Top Priority
Your product or service isn’t perfect. Your customers will have feedback, and you need to integrate that feedback into developing something better. Never stop innovating. You’re going to want to invest in a development process tool. Tanya Prive, founder of CoFoundersLab.com, recommends Jira. Jira is a relatively inexpensive development process tool that tracks statistics, popularity of models, and feedback. It basically captures data, so you have greater insight into how to improve the marketability of your products and services.
You Should Be Your First Customer
Lifehacker asks, “If you don’t use your own products or services, why should anybody else?” Using your own products/services allows you to thoroughly vet them ensuring that your next developments are improved. This is a facet of development, and it also makes you a walking billboard for your company.
It’s all about effort when it comes to starting up. Put the effort into all the finer details. Yes, you should still subscribe to the universal advice everyone gives, such as how to hire better employees, but you should also be well-prepared for these more nuanced and finer details.