Tips For Launching Your First Startup
Are you launching your first startup? This is a strange time as you are sure to feel a great deal of excitement, but you are also likely to feel stressed, anxious, and overworked. Launching a startup takes a tremendous amount of work, and you will want to find success early on particularly when you hear of so many startups failing shortly after launching. In addition to having a good business idea, there are a few steps to take, which should help you to find success early on and pave the way for a bright future. Read on to find out what these are.
Carry Out Detailed Market Research
First, you need to make sure that you have carried out detailed market research as this will be vital for determining whether or not it is a smart business idea. This market research will help you to determine:
- The current state of the market
- Current trends
- Who your competitors are (along with strengths and weaknesses)
- Who your target audience is
- What your USP is
Create A Business Plan
The business plan will be the blueprint that you use and can guide you throughout the early stages of the business. In addition to helping you to stay on the right path, a business plan is also crucial for showing to potential investors that it could be a profitable business venture.
Secure Enough Funding
Following this, you need to make sure that you have figured out exactly how much funding you need to get the operation up and running to a high standard. These costs might include:
- Business premises
There are numerous ways that you can secure funding so you should be able to get the money that you need. A few of the best places include:
- Business loans
- Personal savings
- Angel investors
- Venture capitalists
Keep The Setup Basic
When you picture yourself running the business, it is likely that you imagine it being in an expensive office, but when you first start out, you need to keep the operation as basic as possible in order to improve your bottom line. You can then look to upgrade when the business starts earning enough money. Therefore, you should keep everything as basic as possible initially, which might involve:
- Remote working
- Using second-hand equipment and furniture
- Open-source software
- Outsourcing work instead of hiring staff
Create A Memorable Brand
You should not overlook the importance of branding especially if you are operating in a competitive industry. This is how you stand out from the crowd, stick in the mind of your target customer, and reveal your brand personality. In addition to the company name, logo, and slogan, this branding will also involve the general personality of your company and how you interact with the world. For inspiration, look at some of the more notable brands from around the world and think about why it is so effective.
Have Your Website Designed By A Professional
There is no asset more important than the company website; this is how you present your brand to the world in today’s digital marketplace. The website should be attractive, modern, and functional with detailed information about your brand and why the consumer should choose you over the competition. Nothing will deter a visitor quicker than a poorly designed website, so it is worth using the services of a professional website designer.
Use A Digital Marketing Agency
You will want to make your company website as visible as possible, which means that you need to use digital marketing. This is a highly complex, technical area and also one which can be time-consuming. Outsourcing this to an experienced digital marketing agency is a smart idea and will help to create brand awareness from the launch. Making people aware of your brand is one of the biggest challenges, and one of the main reasons that new businesses fail, so this is a crucial area.
Use Social Media Positively
Following this, you also need to make sure that you are using social media in a positive manner. Most businesses have a presence on social media but do not use it to their advantage. When used correctly, it is an incredibly powerful tool for increasing brand awareness, developing a positive reputation, and showing your expertise. Positive social media usage involves:
- Creating and sharing valuable content for your target audience
- Growing your network
- Engaging with your target customer
- Responding to comments quickly and professionally
- Directing people to your company website
- Not posting anything controversial
Develop Your Skills & Knowledge
The great business owners have a thirst for knowledge and will always be looking to learn and improve. One of the most effective ways to do this is with an MBA which will teach you leadership skills, strategic thinking, financial management and much, much more which should help to improve your performance as a business owner. An online distance learning MBA allows you to study for this respected qualification online, which will enable you to continue to run the business while you learn new skills.
Surround Yourself With Talent
Understandably, you will want to handle all aspects of the business, but a smart business owner knows their limitations and that they sometimes need to take a step back. You should surround yourself with talent and those that have different skills and experience to your own so that all ground is covered. This can also help to lighten your own workload so that you can reduce stress and focus more on the “big picture.”
Similarly, you need to have some flexibility in your approach when first starting. You are likely to have strong ideas about how the business will function, but sometimes this will not be the best approach, and you will not realize this until you are up and running. Being flexible and able to make changes on the fly is the sign of a great entrepreneur and could help you to steady the ship early on.
Hopefully, the information in this guide should help those launching their first startup to do so with confidence and to hit the ground running.