Being the number one software development company in the state of Ohio and Kentucky attracts interest from a wide variety of local, national, and international businesses at every stage of the business development life-cycle. Dealing with startups is one of the most rewarding aspects of working at Zoozler. Startups face a lot of challenges, and we hear the same questions over and over again—which is why we’ve decided to start addressing the most frequently asked questions on the Zoozler blog. Whether you are looking to develop a life-changing mobile application like one of our clients, i11, or a global sensation social tipping platform such as Juble it!, we hope the information that helped these success stories along the way will also bring you on the path to success. So, budding entrepreneurs of the startup community in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, here we go.

If you’re going to succeed, you first need to adopt the right feet-on-the-ground attitude towards your idea and its development. So:

Never think invention. Ask yourself, what is the business opportunity I am addressing?

Unless you’re looking to get ripped off, don’t expect anyone to beat a path to your door. Grab the bull by the horns, get out there, and make it happen!

We’re regularly pitching ideas to companies big and small on behalf of our clients. There can be a reluctance from companies to open doors to entrepreneurs, as they feel they are not on the same wavelength. In your eyes, your idea is your baby, beautiful and one-of-a-kind. However, to a lot of companies you might be pitching your plan to, it’s just another idea—one they think they’ve seen a thousand times before. Take a dose of humble medicine, swallow whatever it is you need to eat, and get on the same wavelength.

Innovation brings rewards, but it carries risks, so make every cent count, always have full control over your costs, and ensure that you limit your exposure.

A typical software development project for Zoozler can run anywhere from 2-3 months to 2 years—depending on the level of complexity involved. For the entrepreneur, the timescale from concept to commercialization is often more and rarely less—so plan carefully, dot the i’s, cross the t’s, and plan everything right down to the nuts and bolts!

Do your homework. Learn continuously, especially about the market and companies you’re targeting. You’ll get lots of conflicting advice along the way. Gather as much information as possible about every facet of your business so you can make informed decisions.

Be as professional as you can in all your dealings. If you think it’s okay to be disorganized because you’re a creative type, you might as well gather all of your money, go to the races, and bet on the horse with three legs to win the Derby.

No matter how highly you rate your abilities, you won’t be able to do everything on your own. Be prepared to be part of a team that collaborates, shares the workload, and distribute the fruits of your labor equitably. Setting up an employee share pool is an excellent way of addressing this. We’ll look into this at a later date.

In the interests of your sanity, give yourself a defined time frame to bring your idea to a set goal. If you’re a first-time entrepreneur, this might be a point where potential licensees, partners, investors, or buyers get involved and give you a healthy return on your investment, allowing you to start something else.

Beyond that point, either back off and leave the licensee to get on with it or, if it’s your own business, forget being an inventor and go full tilt for entrepreneurial success.

Perhaps you’re a seasoned professional, and you want to go after global domination. If you have the experience, idea, drive, and determination to do this—go for it!

No matter how well planned out a business is, it’s inevitable that you will run into difficulty at some stage. Reduce the risk by putting together a well thought out business plan that addresses every possible risk factor. Most entrepreneurs run their business on a shoestring budget with little, if any, margin for error. Whatever you think it will cost to get your business up and running, at least double that amount, if not triple it. This will significantly reduce the financial stress you would experience if you were underfunded. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more now to get the job done right, as opposed to putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound in the future. Limiting your cost and risk is a theme we’ll be returning to again and again, and we cannot overemphasize the importance of it.

Over the next number of weeks, we’re going to address some of the many issues facing the entrepreneurs we have the pleasure of advising on a daily basis. If you have a great idea but need some guidance, dip into our blog posts. If you have a pressing question, feel free to ask us on Twitter or by email, and we’ll get back to you at the earliest possible convenience. You can also contact our Cincinnati office at (513) 384-9799. So…as my father always says, “Never put off ‘til tomorrow what can be done today!”

Article contributed by Donald (Donie) Cronin, Project Manager, Zoozler LLC. Donie is no stranger to the world of startups. The most recent company he started, HerdInsights, developed a cloud based health monitoring system for dairy cows which monitors the health and reproductive in real-time and sends actionable alerts to farm management. Donie was involved in every facet of the business from initial field trials being up to his waist in cow muck to investor negotiations and the assembly of a world-class board. Stay tuned to learn all about Donies journey and that of Zoozlers vastly experienced team over the course of the next number of weeks.