People start their own businesses because their passion outweighs all the other areas in life. It outweighs their financial needs, their worries about whether they are going to be successful, and most of all — it outweighs all the judgmental comments out there.
Initially, you have a vision. What poses a hurdle is translating that rough idea into an actionable plan.
- What are the starting steps?
- How am I going to get my idea out there?
- Where will I get the funding from?
Research shows that about 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of operation, 45% during the first five years, and approximately 65% during the first 10 years. Only about 25% of businesses make it to 15 years or more.
What sets the latter group apart from the rest is research, planning, and application. We did all the hard work, so you don’t have to! Keep on reading to find out everything you need to launch your own startup company, from starting steps on how to start a tech company to simple tips and tricks.
A Business Plan
A business plan is a document that contains information regarding your business model to provide clarity. In short, it breaks down the steps into milestones that you can focus on— one goal at a time.
Here are a few reasons to start planning today! A good business plan will
- give your business the right direction.
- help you identify your potential customers and competitors.
- create a roadmap of your short- and long-term goals.
- help you come up with marketing strategies.
- help you analyze expenses, revenues, and profits.
- help you attract the right investors and new hires.
Hiring professionals is always a great idea because they come with experience that you don’t have as a beginner. Every step of the way, remember that you know what you want better than anybody else. Hence, stay as involved in the process as you possibly can.
If you intend to create the business plan yourself, here is a short guide on things that you should be focused on.
- Executive Summary: Mention your company’s unique value propositions.
- Company Overview: Summarize your business’s history, leadership team, and location.
- Market Analysis: Perform a SWOT analysis, mention your industry and your competitors, and talk about how your startup company stands out from those competitors.
- Business Organizations: Describe your startup’s legal structure and introduce key members.
- Products and Services: Highlight your product/service. Mention details regarding your pricing model.
- Marketing Plans: Showcase how you plan to get and retain customers.
- Financial Plans: Highlight approximately three years of financial projections.
- Contingency Plan: Share your plan devised for uncertain circumstances.
Know Your Funding Options!
Let’s be honest; it doesn’t matter if you have a splendid idea or something simple that would be beneficial for the customers. At every stage, you need funds to bring an idea to life.
It is important to note that many startups fail due to financial issues. School yourself on ways to keep funds flowing so that finances aren’t a possibility for a crisis.
If you have studied finance, you are probably familiar with the quote, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Thus, think about combining different ways to secure funding. To create a mix that works for you, here are some of the sources of funding you should look into:
Probably the easiest and the most chosen option, it requires your funding only. Depending on the amount of money you are willing to invest, you can hire employees, do some marketing for your new business, and find a consultant who can provide helpful advice.
The most significant advantage of bootstrapping is that nobody will be able to influence your startup company. However, the biggest drawback is that you probably won’t have enough funding to handle everything. If you intend to go in on a big scale, this shouldn’t be the only source you depend on.
Crowdfunding includes raising funds with donations from people through different platforms. It works for some startups with unique ideas but may not work for all.
However, it works great for tech startups or projects that are for charity or run by influential people. For instance, if you know how to start a tech company but don’t have sufficient funds for it, crowdfunding is a great way to get started. If it does well on a small scale, you’ll automatically start attracting other investors. Here are a few great platforms for crowdfunding to get you started:
An angel investor is a wealthy and, in most cases, influential person who will financially support your startup company in exchange for some equity.
Collaboration with angel investors has worked wonders for many startup business owners because not only will they provide you with funding but also invaluable advice regarding your business idea and pitch.
You can find an angel investor through many online platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, AngelList, or just simply Google “angel investors in [your location].”
Build a Website For Your Business
With more than 4.4 billion of the population using the internet, it is more important than ever for you to create a website for your business. It is an essential step; otherwise, you will miss out on sales.
Considering the competitive market nowadays, you need to reach out to the people through your website as it will help you in customer acquisition and customer retention.
Other than that, a website is also a platform where you can showcase your products/services and your unique selling point.
There are various ways of creating a website; here are some of the things you can do to create your very own:
- Hire a web developer: A web developer will build you a website according to your demands and budget.
- Coding: You can ask your developer to develop a code for your custom website. Ensure that the developer has the right skillset.
- Use CMS: CMS is perhaps the simplest way to build a website. However, you will require some experience on the CMS you end up choosing.
- Use a web builder: Using a web builder will allow you to create your own business. There are many free website-building platforms available on the internet, such as WordPress, Wix, Weebly, and Shopify.
Other than that, you also need to complete the following steps:
Pick your domain: You need to pick a suitable domain for your website that suits your business.
Choose a hosting: Hosting is a service that helps other people see your website on their devices.
Choose the way you want to make your website: Please refer to the four options mentioned above; you can pick any one of the choices mentioned.
Indexing: Indexing your website on different search engines will inform them that your website exists.
Promote Your Business:
One of the best ways to promote a business is to choose the platform(s) your target audience is on. For example, if your product is for Gen Z, you will find them on Instagram and TikTok.
Here are some options to promote your website startup:
- Social Media: Keep your content engaging and relevant. Add pictures, videos, human elements, and humor to keep your target audience intrigued. You can use both organic and paid methods to reach out to potential customers on social media.
- Online Advertisements: Facebook introduced ads in 2007, Instagram in 2013, Twitter in 2010, and Tiktok in 2019. Online advertisements work wonders for a website when used correctly. You can advertise on social media, search engines, and blog sites.
- In-person Promotion: Since there is a lot of clutter on social media, in-person advertisements can be highly effective. In-person advertising involves going out of your way to get your target audience’s attention. You can do this by going door-to-door and letting people know that you have a product that can be useful for them.
- Posters and Brochures: You can post posters in public or give brochures with all necessary details to people.
- Targeted Advertisements: Targeted advertisements include reaching a particular group who may be interested in your product/service instead of targeting the mass. You can target particular people by researching their demographics, geographics, or lifestyles.
- Direct Mail: Direct mail can be very effective; however, in most cases, it is expensive. To promote your startup company, you would have to know who your target audience is and where exactly they live. One of the most significant advantages of direct mail is that you can send them a sample, and if they like it, they know where to find you.
- Influencer Marketing: Influencers are individuals with a massive number of followers on social media. They have the power to influence their followers by simply endorsing a product/service. Many businesses reach out to influencers to try their product or service and then endorse it to their audience. Influencer marketing nowadays can be quite expensive as most influencers demand a price for posts, videos, and stories.
- SEO: SEO is essential for every business, especially website startups. SEO involves including keywords in your content, title, meta descriptions, and tags. These keywords will let search engines know what your website is about.
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Customer First — Always
When you go fishing, it is most helpful to know what kind of fish is in the water. Why? Because you have to bait it. You have to offer the fish something that it will like so that it will bite on to your hook.
Fishing enthusiasts probably know what I’m talking about. They bring different types of bait and hooks and try various methods of catching fish until they start seeing a pattern.
This fishing analogy also applies to marketing – the better you know your customers, the better you can get them engaged through your marketing efforts.
The market nowadays is very competitive, and it is pretty challenging to maintain or create your place. Unless your product is unique and has a market of its own, it is incredibly challenging to penetrate the market. However, superior customer service will always get your business attention and set you apart from the rest.
I’ll go as far as to say that features, aesthetics, and the functionality of the product may be secondary in a lot of cases. What really drives customers to be loyal is the customer service they get.
Simply interacting with your customers will help you build a strong relationship with them. Listen to their feedback and provide them with a solution, even if it means that you have to direct your customer to another source.
One of the ways you can cut through the competition is by building good connections with customers, and the only way you can do that is by establishing a database that contains information about your customers. Once you know them better, you sell what they want.
A Word of Advice!
A good business plan comes with a backup plan. Opening your startup company means having faith in your business idea, but it does require a lot of risk-taking. Always have a safety net prepared. Having a backup plan ready may be the only difference between a success story and another failed one. Your contingency plan should be the following in case a disaster strikes:
- Comprehensive: Be comprehensive! Don’t just assume that the first plan that you come up with will work. You need to have a backup plan no matter how flawless the initial one is. And then, you need a backup plan for your backup plan. When we’re talking about your passion at stake, you can’t be too careful.
- Realistic: Be realistic with your contingency plan. It’s only worth your time if it’s usable when needed.
- Adaptable: Nothing on paper could ever come close to situations that nature or unforeseen forces may throw at you. Do you think most startups would have imagined the pandemic coming and the whole world going into lockdown? No! Your plan should be adaptable. Constantly monitor the situation to avoid unwanted circumstances.