You’ve got this awesome product or service concept and see it making a difference for people. You’re so excited about and confident in your idea that you’re ready to launch a real startup. This initial enthusiasm can make you feel like diving right in.
But hold on. If you really want your startup to flourish, spending ample time in the preparation stage is crucial. It makes for fewer bumps when you launch, and when you do encounter a challenge, you already have a plan in place to navigate it.
Consider these 10 things when preparing to launch your startup.
1. Launching and Growing a Startup is Time-Consuming
Your startup shouldn’t be your whole life, but your days of having a whole lot of free time and flexibility will be few and far between as you work to launch your startup. You must ensure you’re ready to dedicate most of your time to your startup.
Think about all that owning a startup entails and be honest about whether you’re ready to take it all on. You also want to prepare your family and friends for how time-consuming launching and growing at a startup will be. The more prepared for the change they are, the easier it’ll be to sink into it.
2. Beware of Common Mistakes New Business Owners Make
Reviewing common mistakes new business owners make should be on your list. This is because making these mistakes could set your launch and business back.
If you understand how to avoid them from the beginning and put a plan in place to do so, you’ll be less likely to experience setbacks. For example, one of the most common mistakes people make when starting a startup is underestimating costs.
Underestimating your startup costs leads to an inaccurate budget. You end up not having what you need to operate every month and cover other expenses that arise. And down goes your startup. Knowing that new startup owners make this mistake often, you can prepare for it by thoroughly researching the costs to start your business and maintain it every month.
3. Don’t Skip the Business Plan
Another mistake people make when launching a startup is skipping the business plan. A comprehensive business plan helps you organize the details of your startup.
You can approach writing your business plan in a couple of ways. You can download a traditional business plan template from SBA.gov or another reputable source. Or, create a business plan from scratch using what you’ve learned about what to include in a comprehensive business plan.
4. Overprepare Your Finances
As mentioned above, one of the most common mistakes new startup owners make is underestimating costs. Many also neglect to prepare a business budget and examine their personal finances to prepare them for the transition to startup ownership.
Take some time to detail all costs associated with launching and running your startup. Think fixed and variable costs. Also, think about the money you’ll need to set aside for taxes and savings. Get all of these financial details down in a budget. And keep that budget and any other financial documents organized in a central system.
Take the same journey with your personal finances. Create a budget that ensures you’re able to survive the beginning stages of your startup.
5. Understand Your Customers Inside and Out
Simply put, your startup won’t survive if you don’t understand your customers. Understanding their pain points, needs, demographics, behaviors and lifestyle is critical.
You also want to understand consumers’ mindsets. When you comprehend how they think and what convinces them to make purchasing decisions, you can guide them to your startup in a way that’s natural and effective.
For example, many consumers want an experience instead of just a purchase. They want to be greeted by smiling employees. After that, they want to take pictures in Instagram-worthy spots in the store. Then, they’ll shop and buy.
Internet research, competitors’ case studies, and conversations with potential customers will help you understand your customers inside and out.
6. Providing an Exceptional Customer Experience Is a Must
It isn’t just about creating an amazing product or service. All startups think they’ve got that. You’ll set yourself apart by creating an overall memorable, positive customer experience.
Before you launch your startup, have a plan for how you will provide a great customer experience. Understanding and creating a customer journey map is a good first step. You can identify friction points and mend them with the proper adjustments.
You’ll also need to build a strong employee experience, facilitate cross-departmental collaboration, solicit customer feedback and watch specific customer experience metrics to provide an exceptional experience.
7. Marketing Will Be Huge
The proper marketing techniques, channels and tactics will help you build genuine relationships with your customers and promote your products and services effectively to them.
You’ll need to consider a marketing strategy for your launch and a separate ongoing strategy for your startup. Both strategies must cover the following details:
- What kind of content you will create
- A publishing schedule for each channel
- What marketing channels you’ll use
- Who’s involved in creating and launching your strategies
- Overall goals for your strategy and goals specific to each channel
8. There Will Be Plenty of “Down” Times
From being denied funding to lacking marketing results to family and friends complaining about not getting any time with you, you must do your best to prepare for the not-so-fun times of startup ownership.
Our advice is to take them in stride and be solution-oriented rather than getting down on yourself.
9. Be Ready for Growth and Success
Many people launch their startups without any experience. As a result, they don’t plan for growth. So, when they start to generate real profit, they don’t know what to do with it. And their success fizzles out quickly.
Before you launch your startup, prepare for growth. Put together at least a loose plan for what you would do at specific growth checkpoints, like after you’ve made a profit consistently for six months. Or what you will do when your business breaks a million dollars in sales.
10. You Can’t Do It All by Yourself
You may start as a one-person operation, but you can’t sustain a successful startup all by yourself. If you have a partner willing to embark on your startup journey with you from the beginning, great.
Even if you don’t have a partner, you still need to focus on developing relationships with people who can take your business to the next level, whether they’re other startup owners, potential employees or volunteers.
The SuN Takeaway
The success of your startup depends largely on what you do to prepare before its launch. Proper preparation ensures you don’t make the same mistakes as other startup owners, thus making the launch and continued operation of your startup much more seamless. Start with the 10 considerations above to prepare for the launch of your startup effectively.