The months leading up to launching your own business can be a very exciting time. You and your team have developed an idea for a product or service, you’ve done some competitive research and you’re ready to move ahead into an actual start date.
Unfortunately, many startups fail to do the vital planning needed in these early stages, and the result is botched execution, confused investors (if any), poor profits, dissatisfied customers and possible eventual failure. What went wrong?
Here are five important steps that serve as a checklist for aspiring entrepreneurs pursuing their business dreams.
Determine the scope of your business idea and the work involved. Evaluate if your talents and skills complement this type of work or if you will need to hire experts to help you get started.For example, you want to open a restaurant and know how to run the front of the house but you don’t know how to cook and have never prepared a menu. Find an executive chef to work with, so you have all bases covered.
Also, would you open a restaurant even without pay involved?How confident are you that you will succeed? Asking yourself these questions will help determine your business passion behind an idea. A crucial look within yourself is a necessary first step.
Have a Plan
Make sure you have a solid business plan in place. Lack of preparation can kill any well-intentioned business. Make sure the plan lays out particulars about the product or service you’ll be selling, at what cost, and what incremental goals you need to hit to advance to the next level.The U.S. Small Business Administration says the business plan is a living document that projects 3-5 years ahead and highlights the intended route a company will take to profit and grow revenues.
Some components of the business plan include an executive summary, company description, market analysis, service or product, marketing plan, funding request, financial responsibilities and projections.
Most startups today use a combination of a professional website, social media and ground-level marketing efforts that include email campaigns and direct mail to alert people to their business. If you’re already working with a web developer on your site, find a good web host and make sure you’ll have access to your site data, email marketing initiatives and more.
Be involved in all aspects of your marketing plan and adjust as technology grows. Look at your audience demographics and put together each year’s plan ahead of time. Save money by creating a voice with your brand on social media platforms and take advantage of the ease of using direct mail services, such as Pitney Bowes online postage.
Know your prices and stick to them. What is your service or product worth? You don’t want to set your prices so high that you lose customers. Yet you deserve a fair profit. A good rule of thumb is to find out the range of prices the competitors normally charge, then aim your initial fees toward the low end of that spectrum. As you grow and people start to like and trust you, there will be time to increase the margins. But don’t start so low that you are losing out. It’s a delicate balance.
Know Your Audience
Have a good idea who will likely be your audience and take steps to grow. If you’re starting an online store selling stylish walking canes, find out what kind of people use canes, what the standard cost is and who will pay for this product.All of these questions will help you to flesh out and expand your potential customer base. Flyingcart.com has different online-store startup packages for any budget.
Increase the chances of long-term success by keeping these tips in mind when starting your new business.