Startups are like Roller-coasters.
The high of watching your dream take wings is unparallel; while the challenges can keep you up nights on end. Running your own business is exhilarating, once you find the right balance – the balance that comes from meticulous planning and execution. The lure of setting up one’s own business is far more attractive than becoming just another cog of a giant corporate wheel. Entrepreneurship stems from great yet often simple ideas that aim to solve a problem.
A great business idea is the tipping point but that alone does not guarantee success. There are other key elements that need to come together to create a story that customers and investors will buy into. If you are really serious about getting your startup dreams off the ground, these ground-rules will help you make a confident start.
Create a thorough Business plan
Everybody thinks they have a plan until they get punched in the face – Mike “Iron” Tyson
A viable business plan is critical to the successful transformation of your start-up idea to reality. A comprehensive business plan serves as the framework and helps set benchmarks for the business. It’s a roadmap that serves as the guideline for the business. Whether it is drafted for investors or for founders, it should cover essential aspects of the business in detail.
- Business Goals, mission and vision statement
- The product or service offering in detail
- Market size, growth opportunity and competition analysis
- Marketing plans
- Cash flows and revenue forecasts
These are some of the key elements that will provide valuable insight in to the business. Remember it’s a charter that defines the course of the business. Furthermore, the research that goes into preparing the business plan makes you aware of the present market scenario, challenges and ground realities which may not have been taken into account. Once the plan is ready, the next aspect is to ensure it is implemented earnestly.
Hire passionate people
You can do anything but not everything – David Allen
Entrepreneurs often tend to be greedy when it comes to involving others in their start-ups. They believe, although erroneously that they are better off dealing with all the nuances of their start-up than delegating responsibilities. After all who could know more about their idea than themselves? However, this is exactly what experts have cautioned against. For one trying to do too many things could lead one to lose sight of the more important aspect of the business.
Instead, the best option is to hire experts who have the necessary skill set to execute the job. Also, having a team of passionate individuals all striving to achieve a common goal is always better than having to work all alone. After all, nothing succeeds like the collective enthusiasm of a team.
Devise a marketing strategy
Marketing is not about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell – Seth Godin
The product or service you are offering, no matter how good and innovative, will be of little use unless you have a way of reaching out to the customer. This is where an effective marketing strategy comes in. It helps reach out to prospective customers and goes a long way in building the brand for your business.
It starts with choosing the right brand name that your customers will find easy to identify with and creating the right buzz around it. Social media has made marketing more affordable and opened up a whole new avenue to introduce businesses to prospective customers.
Use Technology for Productivity
Technology must be like oxygen: ubiquitous, necessary and invisible – Chris Lehman
Technology has come to the forefront of everything that we do. For a startup where budgets are crunched, technology can prove to be a big boon. As a startup founder you wear many hats and juggle multiple tasks. There are tools and apps that can take the load off your shoulders so you can stay focused on other important aspects of the business.
One of the key concerns for any founder is staying in sync with the voice of customer. There are several social apps that can help you keep you stay close to your business and customer.
We have covered these helpful resources for startups in detail a little while ago. We recommend you bookmark it!
Plan financial resources and budgets
A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of worrying where it went – Dave Ramsey
All business ventures require funding, which is the one aspect that can make or break a business. Whether bootstrapped or investor-funded, the first step is to correctly estimate the budget for your business to start off. The budget should also factor-in risks and contingencies that are par for the course in business.
Another aspect to consider is the gestation period before the investment begins to bear fruit and there is positive cash flow. If you intend to approach external investors, convincing them of future earnings and presenting a healthy financial statement will augur well.
So, there you have it, not an exhaustive list by any means but adherence to these would prepare you better for the ride to come.
Did we check off all the basics on your list? If not, what did we miss? Leave us a comment, we’d be excited to hear from you.