Give Your Startup the Best Chance for Success
Did you know that there are more 30 million small businesses in the United States? Running a small business gives you the chance to steer your ship. It is infinitely challenging and even more rewarding.
Unfortunately, the statistics for startups are rather bleak. Approximately half of startups will close their doors within 5 years. Should this stop you from pursuing your dreams?
Your new startup will have a much better chance for success when you lay a solid foundation for it to stand on. These are the essential steps that require your attention first:
Research Your Idea Thoroughly
Many new businesses are founded on an amazing, novel idea for a product or service. Others are rooted in the idea that the entrepreneur can offer a better version of the product or service. Before you run full-steam ahead, carefully research your business idea.
Who will your customers be?
Do they have a solid need for your product or service? Otherwise, how will it improve their lives?
How could you get your product or service to your customers?
Create a Business Plan
Some entrepreneurs gloss over this step, but your business plan is a mission-critical document. There are many factors to consider related to marketing, competition research, finances, operations and more that must be carefully analyzed and planned for up-front. Through the creation of a detailed business plan, you are also creating a timeline for major milestones. In this way, your business plan will guide your actions for at least your first year or two in business.
This is the stage when you should select your business name. You should also open your business bank account, set up your business insurance policy and apply for any required licenses and permits.
Create a Prototype
By creating a detailed business plan, you can more easily determine if you have a viable model to move forward with. If your business concept involves creating a prototype, now is the time to do so. This usually begins with a sketch, and it may transition to a digital rendering.
A specialized manufacturing firm can then develop the actual product on your behalf. Consider revising your business plan after you have the prototype in hand and after you’ve researched manufacturing and shipping processes.
If you are opening a service-based business, determine all of the training, tools and other resources that may be needed. Now is the time to pull them together so that you are ready to hit the ground running.
Analyze Your Finances
Before you move further, you need to carefully analyze your finances. Your business plan may have included a cursory financial projection, but now is the time to firm up numbers. You also should prepare your accounting system.
FreshBooks is a cloud-based application that helps with expense tracking, invoicing, creating professional estimates and more. The ability to consolidate aspects of your operation that would otherwise be labor-intensive is critical when you are starting a new business. The subscription plans for FreshBooks are remarkably affordable, so this is an ideal solution for a startup with tight finances.
Seek Startup Capital
More than half of all startups are launched at home. While this can dramatically reduce overhead, you may still need capital to successfully launch your business. A healthy marketing budget is essential for most business types, and this is only one of many expenses that you do not want to skimp on.
Your business plan may be reviewed carefully by potential investors and lenders. Ensure that all of your I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed so that your venture is given proper consideration.
Design Your Website and Marketing Materials
You could hire a website designer and a marketing consultant to cover this aspect of the prep work. However, conserving funds is essential, and there are numerous tools available for you to produce professional-grade results.
For example, if you are launching an e-commerce business, Weebly has a user-friendly interface and tons of professional designs to choose from. You can even purchase your domain through the website.
Through OptinMonster, you can take advantage of truly advanced features with the ease of drag-and-drop installation. There is no need to learn code. Its features include a countdown timer for promotions, an inactivity sensor, an exit-intent popup and other essentials.
There are various online resources that enable you to create your own business logo, brochures and other marketing materials, such as Canva.com.
Remember that your content on marketing material should be concise, audience-centric and free of grammatical errors. Scribendi offers professional proofreading and editing services with fast results.
An alternative is to use Grammarly. Grammarly has free basic tools that can find spelling and grammar mistakes. Professional plans are available that assist with tone, word choice, conciseness and many other factors that influence the quality of the text that you put out into the world.
Prepare Your Home Office Space
Before your business goes live, your office space should be outfitted with all of the equipment and supplies that you will need on any given day. This includes everything from printer paper to envelopes, labels, price tags and more. Because this will likely be a large order, stretch your dollar by taking advantage of savings through Deluxe.
If you are launching a home-based business, your office should ideally be removed from the rest of the home. Setting up your desk area on the kitchen table will likely create stress for everyone in the home.
Identify Consultants and Contractors
You may not need to hire consultants and contractors to wear different hats right away, but you need to know who you will use when the need arises. If you don’t plan to use FreshBooks or another platform, you should identify an accountant who specializes in small businesses. You may also need to hire consultants for social media marketing, freelance writing, legal assistance and more.
You can see that starting a new business is a lot of work. The last thing that you want is to be stressed out about loose ends after the launch. By focusing on these factors today, you will be well-organized and have a solid strategy rooted in success.