After ten years of business working with dozens of startups we have found a similar pattern in the ones that fail. Here are nine items to review before you launch your business to avoid a startup fail:
- Idea: Are you starting your startup for wrong reasons? The best startup ideas have three things in common; they’re something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing. Is your idea derivative? Does your idea lacks in serving the market need? Is your product or service something people truly need?Research your idea and see if there’s a demand. A focus group or survey can be a great way to find out before you invest tons of money. Is your product/service different and better then your competition? It is vital that you are aware of your competitors and have a strong case of why your product/service is better.
- Planning: Do you have a business plan? A business plan includes your goals, reasons they are attainable, and plans for reaching them, as well as background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals. A business plan will help you clarify your direction and plan your future. It will help you to find financing and team members as well as organizing and managing your company. Take our word for it: Time spent putting together a solid business plan is time well spent. In fact, the more time you spend, the better prepared you’ll be. Keep in mind it’s easy to come up with new ideas, the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out of date. You have to have the ability to pivot, change your plan or even start from scratch.
- Leadership: All good leaders have good mentors. Find someone that has experience in your field and is willing to share their story. Make sure your investors, founders and team members get along and have the same vision. Choosing the right partner is critical. Make sure you hire the right team, one that will be invested in your company and want you to succeed, not just someone looking for a paycheck. A good team will help you stay productive. A leader is the one who can outline the broad vision and direction, and say here’s where we are going to go, here’s why we need to go there, and here’s how we are going to get there.
- Finance: Finance related issues which can hamper the success of any startup. Do you have any cash to get started? Many business don’t make any revenue for the first couple years, make sure you have enough capital from your investors. However you don’t want to overemphasis on raising money, while securing your finances is important make sure you see the big picture and know it’s not all about raising money. Keep track of your numbers. Automating some of your finances can be incredibly convenient and is a great way to save time, but automating everything makes it too easy to go on autopilot and forget to pay attention to your personal finances. If you start a business without financial backing you will likely fail. It takes money to make money.
- Marketing: Poor marketing, will cost you. Taking the cheap way out and doing it all yourself or purchasing cheap templates/stock for your website and brand identity will cost you a lot more in the long wrong. If you want people to take you seriously your marketing materials must look professional. Having a generic outdated website will cost you many sales. Invest in marketing and hire a professional company that will make sure you stand out from your competition. Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell. A professional creative agency will help you tell your story in your marketing materials and website in a way that sets you a part from your competition and get attention. Professional marketers understand your target audience and how to sell to them. A well designed and unique brand identity will make your company stand out from the competition and create a lasting impact. Learn more about creating a successful brand identity: dreambigcreative.net/brand-identiy/5-steps-to-a-successful-brand-strategy
- Operations Management: Having the right operation structure is a must. Make sure you focus on your customers and their feedback not just profits. Don’t be too eager to expand your operation until your business has been functioning successfully for several years. A well functioning website is a must. Consistent alignment of capabilities and internal processes with the customer value proposition is the core of any strategy execution.