Whether your offering a product or a service, getting your startup off the ground is no easy task. You may have a strong idea and a strategic business plan but may be cloudy on how to start generating profits. We explore 12 areas of your business where you should begin focusing your efforts.
For your business to get off the ground, you need to have capital behind you. There are two factors related to capital that you need to identify:
- How long will it take to raise capital?
- What steps should you take to connect with investors?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to these two issues. It varies based on industry, your experience, your business model, and other factors. Start by looking at other startups in your sector. Determine how long it took them to garner capital and apply that rough standard to your timeline. If you already have startup investors, identify how long it took you to convince them to invest and use that timing as a benchmark for future investment.
Form A Legal Entity
As soon as you’ve decided to start your business, you should seek legal guidance to ensure that you are taking all the necessary steps to shield yourself from legal liability. But what type of legal entity should your business be? Determining whether your new company should be a C-Corp, S-Corp, or LLC (Limited Liability Company) is an essential first step. Under federal income tax laws, each has specific guidelines, so knowing which is right for you will be crucial to how you set up your business finances.
Establish A Strong Leadership Team
You need a strong team of leaders, both in your early startup phase and as you grow. Consider your company’s needs. Do you have a strong captain at the helm of the ship? Do you need a strong CTO that can innovate your technology? Typically, if you are the startup founder, you possess sales skills or are a strong technologist. Depending on which you are, you will need someone to compliment you in the other category. If you have solid sales and technology leadership from day one, you should be in good shape to launch your business.
Invest In Marketing
You will need to generate leads and establish your product or service right from the start. Investing in the right marketing strategy and resources will help you with this. You are going to need customers that will write checks and refer business to you as you launch. Outsourcing your initial marketing is an excellent way to get the ball rolling on this while focusing on ramping up your business.
Join Your Community
Whether you are just starting your business or growing a company that has been around for years, building relationships with people in the community is always a good idea. You've heard the phrase, "It's all about who you know.” Connecting with other entrepreneurs, potential investors, future customers, even competitors can provide you with everything from insight and advice to future partnership and referral opportunities. Market yourself and your business to your community and begin building valuable relationships.
Develop A Financial Strategy
Ultimately, you must have a solid financial strategy to back you up for your startup to be successful. Consult your leadership team for their input on your financial decisions. Another alternative is partnering with a financial advisor for startups to help your business move forward and strategically manage your capital deployment. They have the time and expertise to manage your finances, and you will have more time to plan for growth.
Consider Your Short-Term And Long-Term Goals
Do you have a business plan in place based on your short-term and long-term business goals? By establishing these goals, you can strategically plan your resource allocation and spend the money best to meet these goals.
Your goals should be focused and tactical. Things like “getting two customers” or “having minimal viable product numbers by a certain date” will give you something clearly defined to focus on. Once these goals have been determined at the leadership level, communicate them to your entire team so that everyone is on board with achieving them.
Launch A Website
We talk to a lot of entrepreneurs and startup leaders every week. Many of them are just beginning to build their business. One of the first things we look for before any call or meeting is a website. Even if you aren't ready to release your product or service, a well-executed website can speak volumes about the company you are building.
A one-page site that "teases" your product or service can provide an opportunity for people to connect with your business, join an email list to be "in-the-know", highlight your leadership team and their credentials, and even start to earn you some ranking goodwill with a little SEO implementation.
Engage Your Audience And Build Anticipation
Think about a really great movie. One that has you on the edge of your seat, excited to see what will happen next. This happens when you have a great story that engages an audience. It doesn't matter what business you are building; there is a story to be told. What made you decide to start this business? What trials and tribulations did you have to face? How will you change the world? Or at least the space your product or service is in? Your story will have the audience excited to see what comes next.
As the startup owner, you never know what the future holds for your business from one day to the next. Things may not always go as planned, or you may find a market that better suits your product or service. You should expect changes like these. Be ready to adjust your strategy, alter your goals, and continue moving forward to avoid common startup mistakes. Be prepared to pivot. You will get a lot of feedback once you launch, so your product and company’s ability to pivot based on this feedback could be the difference between success and failure.
Embrace Feedback And Criticism
For many startup owners, their business is their brainchild, making it hard to hear criticism. However, being open to feedback is the best way to evolve and improve your operations. You want to provide customers and prospects with the best product or service, and listening to their feedback is key to making that happen. It will also lead to appreciation from customers, resulting in long-term loyalty.
Establish Yourself As A Thought Leader/Innovator
Chances are, you have some excellent ideas and thoughts about the community space your company fits into. Share your thoughts! Publish a blog to your website or LinkedIn where you share valuable and educational information.
Want to learn more about developing the right financial plan to help your startup grow? Schedule your free consultation now.