Starting a new business can be daunting, and with so much to decide and finalise before going public you might find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect. However, if you work through these tips you should be on your way to startup success.
1. Start small
You don’t have to be one hundred percent prepared to launch a business. The real world rewards those who get stuff done. Get to work as soon as you can. Start as small as possible, giving a minimum viable product to early users, and let them test it out. Then a few more people.
When you try to do something massive at launch, you make it less likely that you’ll actually start, and you’ll take forever to launch, and you’ll build yourself up for failure, and you’re building something massive without any idea of whether it works or if people like it. Take action, one step at a time.
Launch is just one moment in the lifespan of a successful business, and it’s not even one of the most important moments. The real challenge isn’t getting started but staying in business.
2. Find more funds
Whatever you’ve saved up to start your business probably isn’t going to be enough. There will be lots of costs you didn’t account for cropping up so it’s a good idea to have a back up plan when it comes to cash – whether this means borrowing from someone or taking out a business loan. Make plans to keep yourself in business before it’s too late.
3. Location matters
If you plan on opening a physical store, location is key. Even though most businesses see most of their sales occurring online, it’s important to still consider your location, especially if you want to be known locally. A town centre location will always be the best option – although also the most expensive – as it will usually be close to the train and bus station where clients and business partners can travel to when visiting.
4. Choose who you employ carefully
Your employees are important. They represent your brand and product and are what customers come into contact with first when buying from you, therefore you need to find confident, respectful individuals who are going to take things as seriously as you. Get references and do checks on their social media to get a feel for who they are as a person; you don’t want to employ someone who seems amazing but turns out to be lazy and rude.
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5. Don’t shy away from the stationery and marketing materials
When you first start out you need to get your brand out there in front of people, branded stationery makes you look professional and is great for dropping off around local businesses and at trade events. Don’t go overboard though – a box of pens from Helloprint and some business cards are enough for a startup business.
6. Have strong principles in place
A business needs to know what it wants to achieve, what its ethics are and who it is aiming itself at. Customer service and happiness in the workplace need to be of utmost importance but the rest falls down to you. Think about what you want from your startup (and lots of money is great but shouldn’t be the sole reason you’re setting up).
7. Know who your customer is
Your demographic is important to your business and there needs to be a clear niche, you can’t aim a product at ‘everyone’. Try creating three personas for your brand, these are fictional people you think would be interested in what you have to offer.
A men’s footwear brand, for example, could include a young fashionable male persona, a middle-aged father who is getting back into fashion again and a young woman buying shoes for her partner. These will determine how you market your product and write content for blog posts and on social media.
8. Check your business name is available
No one wants a law suit on their hands a year down the line when another company comes along and claims you stole their name. Do your research before settling on something, a simple Google search or using a checker, might cause some disappointment when you realise what you wanted is taken but it will save you stress (and lots of money) later.