How to Get your Startup Off the Ground? 10 Actionable Steps!
Once you've came with a good business idea, it is time to start building and planning the launch so as to get your startup off the ground. We've came with 10 actionable steps (that we have personally used for this website) to create some buzz around your business.
Deciding to start your own venture is a big step forward. Many entrepreneurs hesitate to make that step because both starting and running a business is a difficult endeavor. Being an entrepreneur these days is challenging and ensuring your business success is even more challenging. The fact of the matter is that the market nowadays is quite crowded and highly competitive. In addition, business failure is quite common as 71% of businesses fail within 10 years.
However, just because there are various obstacles and challenges in the entrepreneurship world, it doesn't mean your startup is bound to fail. The important thing is to avoid making mistakes that have the potential to ruin your business entirely. There are ways to ensure a successful business launch for your startup but you must ensure it remains afloat after the launch as well. With that in mind, here are a few ways to take your startup off the ground.
1. Research your idea
Before you start building a business, you must take the time to consider your options and research the market. Getting informed before the very beginning will help you understand how things work in the business world. It's always better to back your decisions with information and valid data than it is to follow your gut and improvise. Market research can help you determine if your business idea is good or not.
Many entrepreneurs neglect this step only to end up in serious problems with their business. For example, many startup businesses faildue to lack of market knowledge. That can easily be avoided by simple, yet thorough market research. It'd be a real shame to invest time and money into a business that will inevitably fail because there's no need for your products or services. The more research you conduct, the more strategic decisions you'll be able to make and strategic decision making can help your startup off the ground.
2. Consider other possibilities
The truth is that coming up with a unique business idea may be more difficult than it sounds. As mentioned before, the market is overcrowded and highly competitive, which means that someone somewhere is already using your idea for a business in one way or another. However, that shouldn't discourage you from going along with your idea regardless. You can always consider other possibilities to help adjust your idea and make it successful.
For example, if the odds of starting your own startup don't look good, you can always consider a franchise. Franchises are one of the best business model ideasthat are more likely to succeed, due to them being supported by brands or trademarks. Moreover, consider adjusting your business idea to suit the needs of a niche market. Niche consumers have specific problems they need to address but oftentimes lack a proper solution. In other words, there is always a way to make your business idea adjust to the market demands and help your startup business of the ground.
3. Conduct a competitive analysis
Researching your business idea is very important. But, if you're going to drive your business towards success, you have to determine against whom you're competing. That's why conducting a competitive analysis is of the utmost importance. This analysis isn't solely meant for you to spy a bit on your main competitors but also to give you an insight into best ways to lift your startup of the ground.
It's vital to keep in mind that you're not supposed to copy your competition's strategies, but instead learn from them and determine ways you can improve your own strategies. For example, determining your competitors' strengths and weaknesses will help you understand how to compete in the first place. Even though a competitor might be better-funded or well-developed, there's always a gap you can exploit.
That's why you have to take a look at how they interact with customers, the level of customer service and support they provide, the marketing strategies they use and so on. The key takeaway is to learn from their mistakes and avoid trying to outrun them at their strongest points, of course, unless you're absolutely certain that you can do so.
As you may already know, a business without a website in today's digital age is a disaster waiting to happen. Without a website, it's like your business doesn't exist at all. Even if your startup is in the earliest stages of development, you'll still need a websiteto begin with, if nothing else, then to provide consumers with basic information about your company.
Keep in mind that your website will develop and grow further alongside your business. That's why it's important to design it right from the start. As an example, have your customers' best interest in mind when creating a website. The majority of consumers have common expectations which include fast loading pages, a seamless experience, mobile-friendliness, responsiveness, security and so on.
With that in mind, make sure your website is highly functional from the moment you start developing it. As for the design itself, you'll add features, such as visuals, content, additional pages etc. as you go. Still, make sure that everything you add is in accordance with your target audience's preferences. This may not be a planned investment from the start, but the sooner you develop a website the easier it will be to grow your business later on.
5. Always have a plan
You can't really get your startup off the ground if you don't know where you're going with it. A solid business plan can help you achieve that. Simply put, a business planoutlines your company's activities for the next three to five years. As an example, a business plan includes business goals, strategies for reaching those goals, financial forecasts, marketing strategies, growth opportunities and so on.
It also helps you decide how to promote your company, as well as your products or services, whether or not to hire employees and when is the best time to do so, how to ensure financial stability and so on. According to Foundr, in addition to just having a business plan, you should have a plan for its monetization - otherwise, it's very challenging to grow the income from your business. In other words, planning helps you get from where you are now to where you want to be with your business. Without a business plan, you're aiming carelessly and improvising at best, which means you're more likely to make a mistake that can cost you more than you've bargained for.
6. Focus on the finances
Capital is one of the most important factors in getting your startup off the ground. It's no secret that starting a business requires a hefty investment but you also need proper funds to make your business operational until it starts to generate good revenue and profits. In other words, you have to fund your business before it can start paying off. A lot of startup owners tend to forget about this little fact and they end up in a lot of financial difficulties. As a matter of fact, 82% of businesses fail due to poor cash management and cash flow issues.
Securing a proper initial capital may help sort things out. For example, your primary source of funding may be your own savings, financial support from friends or family, angel investors or venture capital, crowdfunding, bank loans and so on. Each option has its unique advantages and disadvantages. However, you must also ensure that capital is enough to get your startup off the ground. If not, you must ensure proper funding through effective financial management or alternative sources such as invoice finance before things get out of hand.
7. Don't forget about the legal factors
Many entrepreneurs are very focused on developing their startup businesses and ensuring they'll be able to lift their company off the ground. That's all well and fine, but you mustn't forget your legal obligations. What's more, many entrepreneurs either forget about those important tasks or they neglect them on purpose, in order to save a bit more money for business development. This, however, is a major mistake with potentially disastrous consequences.
The government bureaucracy is something you simply cannot or should not avoid. Otherwise, you may face hefty fines and even lawsuits that may ruin your business entirely. Therefore, in order to meet your legal obligations, you'll have to choose a business structurefor your startup.
A business structure will determine the amount of paperwork, such as licenses, permits, insurances, taxes and so on you'll need, in order for your startup to operate legally. In addition, a business structure will determine the amount of liability for the owner as well. For instance, a sole proprietorship has the highest amount of liability for the owner, whereas a corporate business structure yields the least amount of liability for the owner.
The All-In-One Newsletter for Startup Founders
Every week, I’ll send you Failory’s latest content, curated resources, and updates on how I’m growing the site to $10k/mo. Join +6,000 other startup founders!
8. Kick off marketing early on
You cannot get your business off the ground if no one knows about it. No matter how much you try to perfect your business operations or how well you develop your products or service, you won't get anywhere without marketing. And, the sooner you start with marketing, the better. Startup business owners barely have enough funds to develop and grow their company as it is, let alone fund a large-scale marketing campaign.
However, marketing doesn't have to cost a lot and you most certainly don't have to wait until your financial status improves to begin promoting. For instance, social media marketing can help you promote your business and your products or services even before you actually hit the market. That way, you can establish a relationship with your target audience and have a consumer base already familiar with your business when you finally reach the market.
9. Start networking
Networking might seem like a waste of time, especially when you're knee-deep into trying to develop, as well as grow your startup business. However, you should never underestimate the potential, as well as the benefits of networking. This is especially true for new entrepreneurs who are about to learn the ropes of the industry. Understanding how the industry works, as well as who are the key figures is vital for lifting your startup off the ground.
With that in mind, consider the various opportunities networking can provide for your startup. As an example, attending networking events can help you meet clients and customers, which will also help you learn about their needs, before you start sending off business proposals (e.g. like Qwilr's proposal templates) to potential clients. In addition, you may run into a potential business partner or a mentor who will help you develop your business further.
Most importantly, you can learn a lot about the industry itself and the trends that are currently shaping it from the influential people and experts in the field. Still, too much networking can be potentially harmful, so make sure you don't lose sight of what's important and that's growing your startup business.
10. Get a team in place
Developing a startup business and attempting to lift it off the ground is very difficult. What's more, it's important to understand that you cannot accomplish all of that on your own. It's true that startup owners cannot afford to rent an office or hire full-time employees. However, sooner or later, you'll need some support from others.
That being said, consider hiring the right people for the job. You don't have to bring in everyone right from the start. Instead, start small and hire only a few people you really need. If you cannot afford to pay a full-time salary, consider hiring freelancers or part-time employees. In time, your team will grow alongside your startup business.
Needless to say, you'll have a lot of difficulties trying to grow your business, without the right people at your side to help you do so. Still, if you do in fact decide to hire a full-time team, make sure you have a retention strategy in place. After all, you want your employees to help your business grow and avoid costly turnovers that will undoubtedly hinder your startup's growth.
Also, consider hiring some interns if you are just starting. This will help you reduce costs a lot and validate the idea effectively by receiving some help on different tasks. Here, at Failory, we are currently using Genm to find interns who are helping us on SEO, content marketing and social networks.
Starting and running a business is a difficult task. Entrepreneurs must invest a lot of time, effort, resources and dedication into their business, in order to have a chance of succeeding in the market. However, just because something is difficult, it doesn't mean it's impossible. The key is in informing yourself and allowing yourself to think outside the box.