The successful Chilean companies in the food sector, Living Juice, and Niu Sushi began their ventures with a novel idea: to offer different food alternatives. However, along the way, they suffered setbacks and difficulties, but they also learned from their mistakes. Today, they are a successful consolidated business.
What was the key to your success?
We asked Living Juice co-founder Francisco Leyton and Niu Sushi Innovation and New Business Partner and Manager Paul Kisiliuk to share their top tips for making a startup more likely to succeed.
We present them below, from the most basic to the most complex.
Avoid Falling In Love With Your Idea
It is one of the oldest pieces of advice for entrepreneurs in the world and it is still valid because it is not enough that the idea is good. It will be your execution that determines the success or failure of the business.
Share Your Idea
Keeping the idea under lock and key for fear that someone else will steal it from you can end up drowning the business. The more feedback you get, the more you comment on it, and expose your early prototypes to a critical evaluation, the faster you’ll understand if you’re on the right track or need to tweak your plan.
Save Before Starting
Any initial investment is complex, especially if there is not enough capital. For this reason, it is important that the entrepreneur has his own financial cushion that allows him to have room to maneuver. As Francisco explains, “then you start worrying about mitigating risks and finding a way to generate resources as quickly as possible, with less risk of making mistakes and losing money that you can’t afford to lose.”
Plan Every Detail
In the case of Living Juice, both Francisco and his co-partner and wife, Florencia, were clear that in order to function they had to access technology that allowed juices to be preserved for 30 days, instead of three.
However, opting for this solution was far from his pocket at first. To achieve this, they planned the entire business development strategy to have that instrument. “It was the main challenge and for this, we worked on a lateral strategy to scale. Through which we created a parallel company that provides services on how to use this technology.”
Think Long Term
Working hard is not enough for entrepreneurship to work. All that effort goes to waste if business leaders don’t have a long-term vision to guide them along the way.
Imagining themselves in five and ten years allows Francisco. And Florencia to react in time to unforeseen events, new projects, and difficult decisions. “We don’t always ask the question and we always have an answer, although it can change over time. That consistency has allowed us to get customers to trust our quality and believe in our brand.”
Avoid Saying Yes To Everything
Many times a business is tempted to say yes to many things to attract more customers, generate more sales or grow fast. Especially during their incubation and development cycles.
However, this strategy is unsustainable. Leaders must make decisions that make sense with the business plan and that strengthen both the present and the future of the product or service in question.
Test Your Business
No entrepreneur wants to hear that their idea is not good. Therefore, asking a third party to evaluate the integrity of this is a difficult decision. But necessary.
And what better than this evaluator being a recognized entity and in charge of promoting. The ecosystem of Chilean entrepreneurship such as Corfo.
According to Francisco from Living Juice, applying for a line of financing from this government agency is an important filter, especially because it requires entrepreneurs to structure their business plan and present it efficiently.
“Apply, even if Corfo tells you no. If so, it’s for a reason, because he’s been at this for years. Possibly they reject a venture because there is a lame leg, and this works even if you intend to undertake only with your savings; It can help you avoid losing that money.”
Do The Math
Total Income is one of the basic indicators used by companies in their accounting. It is also the most drastic metric to show if the business is working or not.
If the figure is low, it means that the scenario is not the best or the model does not perform. “You have to do this math every time. Even if you think your idea is the best”, says Paul from Niu sushi.
Commit To Diversity
The key to Niu Sushi’s success lies in its diversity: from the novelties that always appear on its menu to how it manages its more than a thousand workers throughout Chile.
Constantly testing and experimenting with new ideas allows you to be in continuous improvement.
“We tried many solutions. We constantly pilot different projects. We bring ideas in all areas to a meeting, discuss them and give you the opportunity to test them quickly and cheaply. We experiment quite a bit. Avoid letting ourselves be, ”adds Paul.
Conflict is inevitable in a venture that has more than one partner. This is normal and expected. However, for this relationship to work beyond individual differences, there must be absolute trust in what the other is doing.
The key is to avoid piling up problems and openly discuss them early. As if it were a relationship.
Both Living Juice and Niu Sushi started out as startups. Each suffered its own difficulties and missteps in its beginnings. In both cases, their partners knew how to react in time, took note of their mistakes, learned their lesson, and stayed the course.
Today, they are consolidated businesses with a story worth telling and sharing in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
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