Starting your own business may be relatively simple, but making sure that it reaches success after the starting point is a completely different story. Unfortunately, around 50% of startups fail in the first 5 years. In order to aim for true long-term success, you need to devise a thorough plan and make sure to follow through. Your goal at first should be to get your startup off the ground and the following points can help you do precisely that.
1. Create a Business Plan
A business plan is not the same as an idea. You can’t go to potential investors and partners with a rough idea for your startup or build a customer base that way. It’s crucial that you develop a detailed plan that clearly describes your goals and strategies for at least the first three years of your startup business. Not only is this crucial for obtaining adequate funding and partnerships, but it’s also absolutely essential for staying on the right course to success consistently.
2. Consider Your Finances
Keep in mind that cash flow will be tight in the initial stages of your startup. So, to get it off the ground you need to secure the finances. Aside from the capital you should invest yourself, the mentioned investors and partners might be able to help. Asking a bank for a loan is also an option but you have to be aware of the interest rate. A venture capitalist might prove to be a better solution, but you still have to review all of your options in order to choose the best one for your business plan.
3. An Ideal Location
If you operate locally, with actual office space, it’s crucial that you organize this place to make it attractive for both your customers and your employees. And you’ll still need a well-designed website to match. Of course, if you’re a completely online business, your website is an absolute must-have! It’s crucial that you design it well so that it provides value, meaning, and information to the visitors, loads fast, and feature user-friendly and responsive design. It’s possible to achieve this even with many product offers. Take a look at Modadesign.com; they make use of dropdown menus perfectly. Your website will be your digital business card and it has to reflect your brand. Both your online and physical locations have to cater to your target market right from the start.
4. Hire the Right People
You simply cannot get your startup off the ground on your own. It’s imperative to find valuable help, even if it’s just one employee in the beginning. That said, make sure to choose business areas that you need professional help with ASAP. This can be accounting or maybe even manufacturing. It’s also possible to outsource different tasks to save money on hiring full-time employees. Web designers and developers, digital marketing specialists, and so on can all be employed on a freelance basis. And when you do hire for in-house positions, make sure to choose people who have a mindset similar to your own and an ability to visualize future success. After all, you need to surround yourself with people who believe in your startup idea and are willing to do their best to make it bloom.
5. Devise a Solid Marketing Plan
In this day and age, marketing is everything. This is how you can successfully differentiate yourself from the competition. And there are plenty of digital marketing channels that you can utilize in a rather cost-effective manner. As mentioned, you can hire a marketing specialist to devise the best strategies for your particular startup. PPC ads, email marketing, and social media marketing make for some of the most effective ways to build a reputable brand and attract your target audience.
6. Offer Great Customer Service
At the initial stages of your startup, you won’t have too many customers. Use this seemingly negative thing to your own advantage. A smaller number of customers also means that you can put more effort into personalizing their orders in various ways and improving their customer experience overall. You can also offer them direct support via phone, email, or social media without delays. These days, people are more than ready to support small businesses as long as they provide good customer service and try to make a difference in the market. This can be your chance to shine and build your brand from the get-go.
Whatever you do and no matter how well crafted your business plan is, the undeniable truth is that there will always be some unforeseen situations. This is why it’s important to be prepared for these less than favorable moments with a proper backup plan and a strong mindset that won’t allow you to just give up at the first obstacle. The only way to get your startup off the ground is to use the mistakes as a learning curve.