An Ultimate Guide for StartupsMaaz Habib
Do you wish to become an entrepreneur?
Want your startup to be successful?
We’ve got you covered!
Although the world has advanced technologically, launching a startup still requires us to deal with a number of issues. The entire journey of launching a startup is a roller coaster of emotions, risk and hard work. Startups promote innovation across the world and play a major role in a country’s economy. However, your dream of becoming an entrepreneur and launching a successful startup will not become true overnight. You need to put in a lot of efforts and hard work but it is completely up to you how you want to establish, define your business, and make it grow.
The basic ingredients of the “startup soup” are validated ideas, an ample amount of funding, and a customer base. However, first, it is important for you to know the definition of a startup.
What is a Startup?
In layman terms, a startup is defined as the process of setting something up. In business terms, a startup is a business that is formulated in order to solve a specific problem for the targeted audience. It is an entrepreneurial venture that is funded by venture capital with the help of bootstrapping and other ways. There are different phases of a business. The first stage is usually known as “early-stage startup” because the product or service offered by the business is still in the testing phase. In the early stages, the business might not be able to pay their employees because they are still in the process of fundraising where the funds are being taken out from personal and professional mediums.
Mainly there are 6 basic types of startups which are as follows;
- Small-Scale Startups; usually are owned and run by a family
- Lifestyle Startups; people who teach lessons to make their own living out of it. For example, surfers or divers
- Social Startups; charitable foundations and NGOs
- Large Company Startups; companies offering new technologies (Like Google)
- Scalable Startups; a combination of 6 types of startups
- Acquirable Startups; businesses formed with the intention or idea of being bought in future
Now that we know what startup is and its different types, let’s talk about the important guidelines which are crucial for all startups and their success. The process of launching a startup is not at all a linear process. The following are some of guidelines and tips you need to keep in mind before setting up a startup
1. Strong Business Plan
Before launching a startup, you always have an idea or thought in mind. When you document your idea and conduct a feasibility analysis on it, it becomes a business plan. Having an idea is one thing and having a strong business is another thing. If you have a proper well-documented business plan, there are greater chances of securing a loan, receiving capital investment and expanding business. Developing a business plan that outlines the goals of the company and its future plan provides a significant advantage. Talk to your potential customers, understand their needs and try to incorporate those needs in your product or service.
2. Conduct Market Research
One of the most critical components of this guide is market research. Without researching the customer needs, market needs, market size, and other factors, it is impossible for you to run a business. Even if you run a business without conducting proper research, it will be short-lived. It is important for you to target a customer’s problem and create a solution for it in the form of your product or services. Develop your business’s mission and vision statement. Conduct analysis on your competitors, the analysis of your customers and industry. It is not a good idea to step into an already saturated market. Always come with a new and innovative idea that will attract your target customers.
3. Obtain Funding
Without funding, you cannot launch a startup. Hence, you need to secure funding from different sources to set up your startup. The establishment of your startup needs a sufficient amount of funding, however, the costs will vary with respect to the industry you plan to enter. Small scale startups required less amount of funding, whereas there are startups which may cost in millions. Majority of the people fund their startups with the help of their personal investments and by taking a loan from friends and family. Your business plan also includes a financial plan which consists of a sales forecast, income statement, balance sheet and cash-flow statements. You need to have a financial plan in order to determine the amount of funding required.
Once you are able to obtain funding for your startup, you can move on to the next step.
4. Hire a Diverse Management Team
Surrounding yourself with the right people and team is very important. During this journey, you’ll meet various kinds of people who are going to let you down, but the key is to keep moving and working hard. You definitely need a team with a diverse skillset depending on the type of startup and industry. You would definitely need to consult a financial advisor, a lawyer, and an accountant when starting your business. Your finances should be documented properly and other things such as product development, business strategy, and market analysis should be conducted efficiently by the team. You alone are not sufficient for the business; you always need a good team at your back.
5. Expand your Customer Base
Once your business has successfully targeted the audience, you need to work on strategies that will help you grow your customer base. The business needs to implement low-cost innovative strategies to achieve exponential growth of customers. Build an attractive website which is user friendly and customized according to the needs of the customers. Your customers, investors and partners are always going to check your website first upon hearing the name of your business. Make sure the website is search engine optimized and is showing in SERPs. Moreover, make use of content marketing, SEO strategies and social media marketing in order to expand your customer base organically.
Again, it is not easy! Regardless, of what stage of startup you are at, just keep on going and use this as a guide.