In the blink of an eye your great idea has turned into a solid business plan, a need that you saw in a niche market has turned into an eager, anticipating audience and the dream of starting up your own business has become a reality…but wait a minute!
Despite how eager you are to get your startup up and running, there are still some very important preliminary steps that you would be wise not to rush through. Enhance your chances of success by reading on and discovering the 5 simple yet necessary steps to getting your startup ducks all in a row.
Have an Angle
It’s easy as a startup entrepreneur to get caught up in your own cause; however a narrow perspective could position you for failure. Be sure to conduct as much preliminary research as possible on your competitors. Ask yourself: what are they doing and how can I offer something better?
Take some time to assess your industry at large and be aware of the most prevalent challenges and issues it’s currently facing. How are you prepared to overcome these common obstacles? As ambitious as you are, it’s important to ground your focus and clarify your business goals within the reality of your industry’s environment.
Reach Out to Winners
Unfortunately, startup budgets don’t tend to have room for a board of directors; still, that doesn’t mean you can’t get guidance and advice on your most important issues. Make an effort before your launch to seek out people within your industry that have been in your startup shoes. Have your powerhouse questions ready and take a lesson from their lived experiences.
An in-person, coffee house setting is not necessary to make this happen. Sites like LinkedIn can virtually connect you with the educated and experienced mentors that you seek. Also, there are plenty of low-cost mentorship programs that you can find online (some of which are even free).
In life you may only have one chance to make a first impression, but thankfully in business that line can be a little blurred. Take advantage of the concept of a soft open where you quietly release an aspect of your business (your website, your product) to a limited audience. An opportunity like this will allow you to catch any errors and fine tune some tweaks.
Ask any leader of a failed startup, chances are most of them will tell you they wish they had a chance to press reset and try again. While on the brink of launching your startup you have a limited window to do just that, take advantage of the forgiving opportunity to “fail” and fix things while you still have a chance.
You best bet is to fund your startup by your bootstraps, no one wants to be in debt before they ever get off the ground. However, while you may have accounted for capital in your launching stage, it’s important to consider funding for the long term. In short, don’t allow yourself to get through those grueling first years to then only crumble at the sight of a cash flow crisis.
It’s never too early to plan for- and educate yourself on the funding options available to you. From personal asset assessment to crowd sourcing and alternative lending, it’s important to have flexible capital plans in place that can cover you if and when the unexpected pops up.
Plan for Sanity
It only makes sense that as an entrepreneur you’re determined to pour your energy and focus into your startup. However small business owners before you will urge you to remember the importance of creating boundaries while striving for work/life balance.
Whether it’s not working weekends or carving out solid time for family and friends, you’ve got to commit to some form of recreation and leisure outside of your startup. There will always be work to be done; however, if you truly are in this for the long haul, then you’ve got to find ways in which you can keep your sanity; plan for breaks and pace yourself.
What startup advice can you add into the mix?