Starting a business is going to be a fight right from the start, and anyone looking to launch in the current climate needs to get their ducks in a row first. Here’s five steps to follow before you lift off:
Do Your Homework
Make sure you know your business and its competitors inside and out. Make sure there’s demand and that the market is ready for you. A mistake entrepreneurs often make with their big idea is they’re not prepared for the slog of having to pull customers out of their comfort zone and into embracing something new. If you’re entering a proven market, make sure you know what makes your business unique and appealing in a way that a competitor isn’t catering for, and how you can keep that edge. Research is the key to a strong start with a new business.
Set Your Goals
Sounds simple, but it’s amazing how many entrepreneurs fail to do this one elementary step. Write down a mission statement setting out clearly the goals you want to achieve with your business. Not one major goal but several small ones that will act as markers to keep you on track of why you started this company in the first place. You’ll be able to clearly see from the start what you want to achieve and visualise how to get there. It’ll also help you prioritise when decisions need to be made about where your business is going and will help you track how you’re actually doing.
Get Your Team In Place
Make sure you hire people who have the skill set needed for your new venture. But they don’t need to be the best in their field, they can learn as they go, what’s more important is a passion for the job they are doing that will carry them through the tough times that a start up is sure to face. If they don’t have the passion, there’s a great chance they’ll bolt when the going gets tough.
Get Your Website Ready Before Launch
Start with a solid design and well edited content then make sure you’ve tested the pages. Then tested it again, and tested it again. Things will still go wrong, there will be bugs you need to fix, but they will be much less catastrophic than the first, second, and third time you tested them. It doesn’t matter if you’re providing a service through the site or the website is just branding for your business, it needs to be as good as it can be right from the start as there is always going to be a million other sites trying to take away your potential customers’ attention.
Keep On Top of Your Finances
Make sure you always know all your incomings and outgoings. Even if you’re employing someone else to do your accounting, you need to have a clear view of where your finances are at. You’ll have many outgoings at the beginning, and you’ll have to spend money before you start making money, but you want to make sure you know exactly where those funds are going and when you can expect a return right from the start. You can be constantly making adjustments to budgets and schedules, just make sure you always have a clear view on your position so there’s no gut punches to knock the wind out of you down the line.
This article does not constitute legal advice.
The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.