Reading a few success stories to learn on the mistakes of others isn’t enough. You should have a strict plan that though flexible enough to handle any surprises that comes on the way. You should have the skills and personal qualities to bring it to life.
Before launching a startup company it’s important to have a clear vision of own goals and risks. Otherwise, it’s not business running but rather gambling. Sure, you can hit a jackpot but the question is how much will you lose till that lucky moment.
Entrepreneurship is constant studying, hard work and aiming for improvement. If you aren’t ready for such a schedule better reevaluate your decision to avoid frustrations and significant time and financial losses. Ambitions are the motivation basis and the future is indefinite but blindly relying on these two statements can be too harmful.
Gone myself through the launch startup challenge I completed a step-by-step guide that unfortunately, I didn’t have when I was implementing my idea.
Step 1: Prepare in head and on the paper
All modern management solutions come with dashboards because their publishers know - any complexity seems simpler once it’s properly visualized. Sure, when your idea is still in the concept form you don’t need real-time charts. But at least an outline of the plan will come in handy. Start creating the one going through:
As a creator, you should be the first one who doubts your brainchild's workability, uniqueness, and relevance. Be customer-oriented from day one on a startup launch timeline. Ensure that your potential product:
- Solves an actual problem that can’t be ignored
- Meets target audience demand and requirements
- Presents an improved or innovative issue solution
- Is worth financial reimbursement for adoption
Really think it through. If you can’t give a clear judgment you should begin with a research part on this stage already. The more compromises, the more risks. That’s why try to put enough confidence under each check mark.
If you passed the survey with four of them it’s a good start but it’s still too early to start working on the implementation practically. Until the time, ensure the security of the concept data not to failing before you’ve even started.
To have the required result the process should be scrupulous and goal-oriented. With the time invested in it, you lower your future financial and emotional expenses. To perform a better job, prepare the questions you should find actual and accurate as possible answers for. Review some examples:
- What’s the current state and status of the problem you plan to solve?
- Who exactly struggles with it and how do they currently deal with the complication?
- What are the existing pro attempts or options for its solution? Their pros and cons?
- What are the customer vision of the issue and its resolving? What do they seek?
- How critical the problem for the scope in general? What’s its impact on its development?
Considering the constantly lowering value of the online content, don’t rely just on Internet browsing. Go through the publications of professional market research, contact industry experts to get the scope insights from the first hands, attend conferences, etc. With such an approach you also start building the network that will be useful in the further stages.
You can always get assistance from launch startup services like consultancies, accelerators, incubators, etc. that will help to determine your possible place on the market and ensure its stability in the long run.
Make sure though that the cooperation in any way won’t affect your company-related physical or intellectual ownership.
First of all, be ready for a rollercoaster ride. There will be wins, there will be draws, there will be losses. Mistakes are inevitable but it doesn’t mean that you should just be ok with it. Any experience is useful but not each one is necessary. In the information era, it's much simpler to act under that motto.
Second of all, make sure that your idea has been shaped up. It’s enough defined, includes objectives, goals and other required details to become the center of your new business. Without your own clear vision, it’s hard to expect understanding from others.
Your product is definitely the main clause on your startup launch list but it’s left enough routine around that you should have an idea of and some competence in. Staffing, accounting, branding, marketing, legal principles, etc.
Sure you don’t and shouldn’t deal with all of that yourself but you should see what your business should embrace to be stable enough to balance on the market waves.
Spent time on the thorough business plan will pay off twice. The result won’t just organize your thoughts and ideas but will be an argumentative testimony of your professionalism and trustworthiness for investors, consultants, banking and other institutions which support or permission you’ll require to act within the scope.
The document will also help to see other startup launch options and their weaknesses, examine from another angle basics and concerns and ergo be more prepared for even unpredicted challenges. If you’ve never completed the one there are lots of templates you can find online. Review the common structure to start gathering the required information.
Executive Summary. Concise introduction of the further statement with data concerning its background, analysis, and derivation. Crucial for decision-makers.
Company Description. Name, structure/management type, brief history, location, purpose, offered products/services, target market, current and future objectives.
Products and Services. Detailed description of what, when and how you’ll bring to the market and why you plan to do that the described way and in general.
Marketing Plan. Description of planned positioning, advertising campaigns, etc.to ensure that the full entry on the market will be completed.
Operational Plan. Presentation of the chosen strategy in objectives, milestones and required conditions as well as its implementation within the defined operational period.
Management & Organization. Specification of the staff and company structure and its influence on the operating model.
Startup launch cost. Planned per-item pricing and the total amount (capitalization) of investments required for the scope entrance.
Financial Plan. May include annual profit & loss and four-year income statement, cash flow and balance sheet projection, break-even analysis, etc.
Appendices. Attachments of relevant additional materials that can help with a better comprehension of the presented information and goals of the about-to-launch startup company.
Take into consideration that the scope you’re entering can add content and formatting specifics to the part. But in any event, you should start at least with a simple draft for your own use.
Step 2: Build the foundation
Once the vision is created it’s time to create for it a stable robust base so its existence wouldn’t constantly be about balancing up on a tightrope.
Sadly, having a disrupting idea isn’t enough. To ensure that it will be steady enough to make to the target audience it should have proper capital basis the approximate amount of which you’ve defined in the previous stage.
The sum of the launch startup fund usually turns out to be not for everyone’s pocket that forces to initiate a quest for financial resources in the form of investments, crowdfunding, venture capital, etc. To attract more attention you should run efficient networking, pitch decks and consider entering support programs.
With pitching, you can’t rely on improvisation. Your audience has neither time nor enough desire to listen to long speeches. Basically, you have less than a minute for persuasion that defines will or won’t you have the opportunity to present the details.
You can do everything yourself is the most common fallacy that clearly is the most popular within the small business sector. Even if you’re planning the tiniest, for instance, hardware startup launch ever you will need experts from the areas that will be involved in its development at least to widen your expertise to raise the odds of successful running.
But for the majority of companies though it’s impossible to avoid building a team. All its members should be connected and strong/qualified enough to overcome the common and peculiar difficulties. Even if you’re entering the IT sector and plan outsourcing the product development there are still too many issues to handle to do it on your own.
Besides even if you opt for collaboration with a tech partner to launch your startup you still have to develop a sophisticated screening process to define the reliable and suitable one. Of course, you have the search area narrowed by your budget but the modern market has a wide range of quality executives with affordable or flexible rates.
The same goes for recruitment. However, in this case, you shouldn’t always aim for the best possible fit right now. If it’s reasonable you can hire developers, engineers, etc. that will professionally and personally grow with the company ensuring its promising future. On the early stages, employee motivation is no less valuable for success than skills.
Surely, you can’t be 100 percent prepared for everything and chasing that goal is a complete waste of time. But you should be trained and armed enough to fight tirelessly for the prosperity of at first your idea and then the product on the constantly changing market.
Serhii Uspenskiy, Managing Partner @Springs