With so many factors at play and research indicating up to 90 percent of technology startups fail, creating a startup is hard work and not a child’s play.
Sure, you’ve got a great idea, but have you done the research and identified an actual need in the marketplace?
How do you plan to make your product penetrate into the market?
How do you make it work?
To become a successful entrepreneur, it is not necessary to have a university degree, a huge amount of money stored up in a bank, however, you need to have a strong business plan as well as a drive to see you through, for your business to become the next major success. Below is a step-by-step guide to own a startup.
- Examine Yourself
Ask yourself some pertinent questions like: why do you want to start this business? Is this something you are passionate about? Is there a strong drive? Do you want it to grow real big, or you just want it as a side hustle? Be sure you are answering these questions with all sincerity of heart, as this will serve as a foundation upon which your business would stand, making it either successful or becoming a failed plan.
You could furthermore ask yourself if you are ready to be an entrepreneur. Are you ready to take risks? Are you ready to see your dream through to the finish? Do you possess certain skills to achieve this? Where does your passion lie? How much capital do you need to make your business work? How much are you willing to invest, spend or put in? Once you’ve answered these basic questions, you can move to the next stage.
- Develop a Business Idea
Note that, there is never a business without a business idea. Start by brainstorming for an idea; go out and check your environment, what seems to be lacking, missing or not in place? Is there a need that needs to be met? Meet people, talk to friends, ask questions and seek advice from other entrepreneurs, move with people that are business-minded or make research on business ideas online. Ensure you’re always with a notepad and a pen, because an idea can pop-up at anytime, it could be on the road, while you’re driving, in the restroom, the market or even while gisting and chilling with friends.
- Research the Market
Many a times, there will be people already into the business you are trying to go into, hence, the need for you to research the market, make research on your potential rivals within the market. Also, it would be best if you research on your potential consumers and customers. To achieve this, you can choose to conduct a survey via the use of questionnaire or interview (face-to-face, telephone or online interview). Ask them about factors they consider when purchasing the product or service you’re aspiring to establish and request for suggestions on ways they feel such products or services could be improved upon.
- Recieve and Review Feedback
Get feedback from people who buys, benefits or tests the prototype of your product or enjoyed the first service you provided. Let them interact with your product or service and point out a problem you missed, this way you can improve before you push out the next set of your product or service. In addition, this people can become your first brand ambassadors, especially if you listen to their input and work on it, but remember that some of the ideas whether asked for or not, could be good for you to put into consideration, while others may be bad for you to implement.
- Register your Business
It is essential to register your business or organisation, thereby making it official. By so doing, you can avoid another person stealing your idea; it could also save you from partners who might want to get you into trouble or sue you for an issue you never saw coming. In this stage, it is best to seek legal advice and consult with a business lawyer, that way, you can be sure you’ve covered every necessary aspects legally.
- Pen Down your Business Plan
One major step that cannot be overlooked is penning down your business plan, as this gives you a written description of how your business will develop and evolve right from when it starts to the finished product. Your business plan should contain: Business Name; Executive Summary which comprises the company’s description and problem the business seeks to solve; also, it contains the business description; market strategies; competitive analysis (weakness and strengths) of your competitors and how you’ll beat them); finance factors; operations and management plan; and your design and development plan.
- Raise Funds for your Business
Raising funds to finance your startup should be the next thing and this can be very challenging. However, there are a number of ways through which you can raise funds for your startup. You can choose to bootstrap your business, by making use of your own money, although this might take longer to raise, but one good thing about bootstrapping is that you get to control your own business; other ways to raise funds include: requesting for a small-business grant, seek a bank loan or get an investor.
- Develop your Product or Services
The next major step is to develop your product or service and see it come to life. In this stage, you might need to team up with a manufacturer or another firm, but always be at alert to retain control of your product and learn constantly, because if you leave the development up to someone else or another firm without proper supervision you might not get exactly what you envisioned. Also, implement checks from time to time especially when hiring or working with a freelancer, another thing is the need for you to work with a specialist in that field, not a generalist.
Furthermore, as you work on developing your product, also work on generating sales, as no business is ever successful if there are no sales and revenue. You can get sales by setting and identifying targets who want your product or service, advertise your business, grow your customer base and improve on your customer service.
- Build Up a Productive Team
A great idea encourages things to get in motion, but at the end of the day, it’s the team you hire who will ultimately determine the success, or failure, of the company. As your business grows, there is need to get and build up a productive team, whom you can hand off some responsibilities to. While building up a team, you need to state your goals clearly, ensure every team member understands and is ready to work towards achieving the vision and mission of your business. Also, ask the right questions when hiring people to make up your team.
- Grow your Startup Business
To grow and expand your Startup business, you need to market yourself and your brand, this could be done through the effective use of the social media (influencers or paid campaigns and adverts). Invest and improve your customer service, keep researching the market and hire good people who would be able to come up with strategic ways of retaining a new customer and follow up on existing customers, who have already tested what you have to offer.
With all these steps followed, you can be sure of establishing and building up a startup that will be able to stand the test of time.