Launching a startup isn’t easy, but if you’ve been dreaming about that great idea and are considering going ahead with it, these 10 tips will help you get started on that road to entrepreneurial success:
1. Follow through
A large majority of people come up with great ideas but then convince themselves that it’s not worth the effort to start working on them or that they don’t have the skills to see it through. No matter how big your vision is, success begins at the starting line. Don’t overanalyze, focus on what you know, and take baby steps forward.
2. Create something you’re passionate about
By creating something you are passionate about, you’ll have much more motivation to keep going and the temptation to bail won’t be as high. Your startup has to be something you’re willing to work on around the clock and dedicate most of your time to.
3. Choose your target audience
Your startup should always have a target audience, and the goods or services you offer must solve some kind of problem for your audience in order to take off. Aim to create something that makes a small group of users very happy, rather than just satisfy some of the needs of a larger user group.
4. Have a business plan
A good business plan is key to startup success and should act as both a guide and a springboard. Business plans are essential for mapping out the future, supporting growth and securing funding, developing and communicating your course of action, managing cash flow, and supporting a strategic exit. Business plans will also keep you focused if you start dealing with aggressive growth.
5. Don’t do it alone
Starting a company by yourself will most often put you at a direct disadvantage. Cofounders can provide you with the skills you lack, serve as a support system and take both you and your startup further. VCs are also most likely to invest in a startup that has a founding team, rather than a founding individual.
6. Perfect your Pitch
As you start to plan and launch your business, you’ll need to be able to convey your idea to people in a concise and clear manner. If you can develop an elevator pitch that will intrigue people and show them that your idea has potential, they’ll most likely give you more of their time and consideration.
7. Market yourself
Marketing is one of the most important things that you can do for your business and is worth investing in. When you market your product or service, you are exposing it to potential customers. For example, marketing through social media, contacting blogs, and telling everyone willing to listen about your new venture are all great ways to promote your startup.
8. Customers Come First
Keep the customer in mind with every decision you make, and you’ll build a product or service they can get excited about. Good customer service should be at the top of your priorities as it engages users and helps you learn about them and from them. Apart from making purchases, customers help you to improve your products and services so that your business can thrive.
9. Raise the Right Amount of Capital
In order to keep your bills paid and dreams afloat, you’ll need to find funding at some point. Seeking out investors is always a good idea in the beginning stages and equity crowd-funding can also be a profitable option for your startup. Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business and essential to feed bottom-line profits.
Make use of the power of social media to connect with potential employees, partners, clients, providers, or people that can promote your product or service. Don’t forget offline opportunities though as the connection you can make with a person face-to-face is naturally stronger than one mediated between screens. Every new connection is an opportunity to be introduced to an investor, advisor or supportive peer, so develop a wide network of connections and make sure you’ve perfected your elevator pitch.