Launching a new business can be a tough ordeal. There’s a lot of planning, brainstorming and risks involved. And not just planning, but re-planning and then re-planning again. Launching a new business is one thing that hardly ever goes according to plan.
Circumstances can change on a day by day basis. Some of your promised funding might get pulled, your projections might need readjusting, and it may turn out that all the resources you thought you needed simply aren’t enough.
However, there are a few basics involved when it comes to successfully launching a business. And even after you’ve launched a business, you have to be on top of your game just to survive against the competition.
Get these basics right and you’ll have more chances of getting your business off to a good start. Relatively.
1. Secure a Domain and Working Website.
Some entrepreneurs take great pleasure in coming up with the brand name of their new business before it’s even in the planning phase. If you’re sure about the brand name and messaging, go ahead and purchase a domain name and build a website.
At this stage, it’s best to conserve your cash reserves. WordPress makes it extremely easy to setup an attractive, working website in a matter of days. Elementor and Divi are solid examples of WordPress plugins which can be used by anyone to create a professional website.
Don’t go all out on marketing at this stage. Rather, the website is a way of establishing your digital presence early on. You’ll learn the importance of this as your business forms and you find the website to be a focal point of all marketing efforts.
2. Get Creative With Your Business Planning.
Planning for a business isn’t just limited to methods you can read in a stuff. In fact, a lot of planning should come based off acquired experience. But how can you acquire experience in an industry in which you have yet to start a business?
Well, before launching your business, you can actually get experience in the same industry by working for a firm in the same industry. This gives you direct industry experience, even if you only work a year or a couple of years. This is certainly the long way to plan for your business, but it’s worth it.
If you want to take a short cut and don’t want to acquire experience directly, you can hire someone who has previous industry experience onto your team. These people should be experts in the industry and should have in-depth knowledge about businesses.
There is another way of planning, and it involves testing your business model rapidly and refining it at minimal cost. This is just the jist of it, you’ll have to figure out the rest.
And it goes without saying, but don’t launch a business until you’ve done ample due diligence and preplanning. You should know the tricks of the trade. Imagine playing a high-stakes game of poker without actually know how to play poker.
Would you do it?
3. Test Your Idea.
Most businesses fail within a few years of launching. And the prevalent reason for that is people rushing to start a business without really validating the idea behind it. Not taking the proper time to research your idea and testing its worth in the market is a fatal mistake.
Quite a lot of research can be done from behind a computer screen through Google, but for a business it’s not quite enough. Talk to people who’re already in the same business. Talk to people who you think will be your ideal customers, and get their views and opinions.
If you want your business to be a long term entity, you’ll have to spend some time testing your ideas. Don’t rush it. It can take years of planning to launch a successful business.
To validate your business ideas, you can use an online service like Helpfull.com. It is an online tool that you can set up to receive an instant, unbiased and insightful public opinion about any question you pose. Entrepreneurs use this tool to validate business ideas while they’re still in their infancy.
Remember, this is a high stakes endeavor, so keep testing and refining your idea until you’re sure it’s ready for the market.
4. Market Research.
You can’t sell something to customers who you don’t know anything about. It’s great to brainstorm and conceptualize an ideal customer and their needs and wants. But it’s another thing to actually go out in the field and verify your findings from real people.
And it’s not just ideal customers you should be doing research on, you should reach out to key suppliers and distributors to get an insider’s view of the market. They’ll be able to give you good estimates about demand and supply of your product / service in the current market.
And of course, no market research is complete without a thorough analysis of competitors. It would be foolish to offer the same thing which another established name is already providing. Identify your unique selling proposition (USP) and see how it compares to your competitor’s.
The best businesses are founded by people who worked years in the same industry before going on to launch their own businesses. Working in the industry allows you to know the ins-and-outs without putting your own money at risk.
5. Understand Your Ideal Customer.
Who is going to be your ideal and most profitable customer? Do you have multiple customer profiles to tailor your products / services to? A business plan should include a detailed description of potential customers and how they come about to make purchasing decisions.
Even if you have the most revolutionary idea of the century, without customers your business will fail. It’s that simple. To avoid this, you need to understand the needs and wants of your potential customers. Under what circumstances will they decide to research for a product/service like yours? What are their aspirations? What are their expectations? This will not only help you make your product/service better, but execute a better marketing campaign as well.
6. Get Funding.
How are you going to secure the cash required to launch your business? You can’t launch a business without having adequate cash reserves. Some startups do rely on the owner’s bank account, but smart entrepreneurs look for investors.
You may even reach out to friends, family members and colleagues for funding. Nothing is off limits when it comes to launching a business.
You’ll also need to think about operating expenses ahead of time. For example, running a website for your business is going to cost $9.95 / month in hosting alone. There are a host of other expenses related to running a website, and you have to look at the whole business!
It’s wise to approach your business launch with a mix of optimism and realistic expectations. Don’t take a long-term lease, don’t finance a company car – you don’t want to get stuck in long term commitments in case your business doesn’t take off.