So, you’re fed up with your 9-to-5 job, working for somebody else and you have a great business idea?
It’s time to launch your own startup and unleash your entrepreneurial spirit. But before you embark on this exciting and challenging journey, you need to be 101% certain that it’s exactly what you want. There will be a lot of obstacles and hard times on your road to success, which shouldn’t discourage you from walking your own path and trying to achieve the goals you set.
Check out these 6 tips to help you with your first startup steps:
1. Do Your Research
Studies have shown that 42% of startups fail because of ‘the lack of a market need’ for their product. In other words, you need to find a good solution to a big problem which bothers a specific audience. And for that, you need to do your research, identify a gap in the market and build your product or service based on these findings.
Diving into such a big adventure without a well-researched strategy is a recipe for disaster. You can’t predict and plan everything but you must be on solid ground when it comes to product/market fit.
2. Create a Detailed Business Plan
Having a well thought out business plan is a must, and it can ensure your success on several levels.
First of all, you need to establish all the goals your startup has to achieve in terms of business development, setting priorities, tracking metrics, cash management, strategic alignment, managing changes, and a strategic focus, among other things.
A sound business plan allows you to create your budget and avoid the pitfalls of poor cash management, which is the reason why 82% of startups go under. Besides that, a reliable, detailed plan is essential if you want to attract investors ready to pour their money into your business.
3. Understand the Process of Setting Up Your Business
As an entrepreneur, you’ll be responsible and accountable for all aspects of your business venture. This includes knowing the process of how to register a company and understanding the nitty-gritty of this process. It’s important to know what licenses and permits you need to obtain, as otherwise, you might face tax penalties and other fines.
To put it in a nutshell, you’ll have to decide on your business structure, check the availability of your chosen business name, register your business name, and register your website domain name. If this sounds like too much paperwork for you, it’s best to hire a professional to deal with it.
4. Know Your Competition
A competitive analysis is crucial for any business.
You need to know who your competitors are and what they do if you want to outperform them. You can’t develop your product unless you know what other companies from your industry sell and what features their products have. They have set the bar and it’s up to you to jump over it.
By keeping a close eye on your competition, you’ll be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses and learn from them. It’s particularly important to turn to your competitors when it comes to establishing your price structure, marketing efforts and sales performance.
Don’t forget that you’re competing for the same audience, so by spying on your competition, you can also learn a lot about your potential customers, as well as their needs and preferences.
5. Don’t Insist on Your Product but on its Benefits
Ben Feldman, one of the world’s greatest salespeople, said…
“Don’t sell life insurance. Sell what life insurance can do.”
This is exactly the approach you should take when it comes to promoting your products. Your customers won’t care about any of your product’s features if you don’t align them with the benefits they provide. So, instead of focusing on technical details, highlight what your product can help people with – boost their productivity, save their time or increase their profit.
6. Spread the Word
Many inexperienced entrepreneurs naively believe that it’s the quality of their product that will distinguish them from the others and bring them a steady stream of customers. But if you look around, you’ll see hundreds of similar startups, which operate in the same niche. You need to find a way to be heard through that white noise.
That’s why you need to invest in marketing and advertising. This will showcase your products and explain why they’re unique. It’s true that many startups are usually run on a shoestring budget, which leaves very little money to spend on promotional efforts. However, social media marketing and guerilla marketing can help you effectively reach out to your audience without breaking the bank. Make the most of these two strategies until you can invest more in your marketing.
These straightforward tips can help you navigate through the entrepreneurial maze and grow your startup from scratch.