Over the years we have seen growth in number of start-ups that are successful, some may have had a brilliant idea but failed due to multiple reasons, few are in early stage companies and bound to grow large any small start-up or a business. All the start-ups contribute to the network and a lot can be learned from them, no matter successful or a failure. Here we will revisit some basics for starting your own business; few elementary level insights.
There are some business basics that should persist in any company, new or old. While established companies may have found a way to tweak around with these, for a new business owner or entrepreneur company it becomes essential to nurture it like a tree (maybe that’s why the first financial stage is called “Seed”).
Business by definition means trading goods, services or both in a commercially viable and profitable way. On the other hand, a startup is a company or a “stage of business” which is designed for accelerated growth. A company need not be a newly founded for it to be a startup. The most important and the only virtue of a startup is growth, nothing else.
Consider a scenario. You are discussing with a friend on a topic and decide to start a business around your discussion because it “potentially has potential”. What do you do next? Let us have a look at some of basics that I learned from my experience at startups and talking with a lot of startup owners, some successful and some failures.
Basics of starting any business : Online or Offline
It doesn’t matter if you are starting online or offline, there are few business basics that everyone should follow religiously. Being associated with a start-up company, I could outline some of the most important aspect of starting a business. Below, I’m outlining some of the points, that you need to work on before starting your own company. If you are a blogger, you should read:
- 8 Important business to check before starting online business
- Simple and effective business plan for bloggers
Idea and Concept
Look at any large company. Look at their products. These companies did not start big. Rather, started small and focused on their “idea”. They identified a problem and made solutions for that problem. In the process, they made a market for themselves by just focusing on the problem they were solving. Why did ICQ messenger, started in 1996, become popular very quickly? Because Arik Vardi identified an opportunity to connect friends over a simple chat client. The idea was different, focused on chatting (following collaboration as a natural human instinct) and solved the problem of instant connectivity.
Everything needs to be documented. Products / services you want to sell, cost of making these products / services useful (opex), cost of a setup (capex), marketing expense. Break these down to the minimal and start bottom up. Use a project management tool or use excel sheet to maintain records of all the work and parameters of business that you will need to start.
Setting up a new office? Document and write what you need. When we start writing these things down, it helps us identify our needs (not wants), remove clutter thus stay focused. Documenting will help you setup a business plan with much lesser mistakes than if you were to jump writing a plan yourself. If you are not sure about how to go about documenting your requirements or a business plan, drop me a mail. I could help you with that anytime.
Connect with your market
Most of the startups that have grown successful, have identified a problem, made a solution and reached out to specific people with that problem ad solution. The key to a good idea is a niche market / consumer base. Why? Simply because these are users who need your product more than anyone else. Their word of mouth will go a long way because of the credibility they have (being the first hand users of the solution). Early adopters and Innovators help you spread the word the most because these are users and people to whom, your solution matter and who will help you at every stage of your business. Identifying your niche market will be one of the key stages and phases.
Simply put, a marketing plan shall include all the things you need to do in order to sell your product to your target market. This will also include your branding process. What do you do to market your products? Build a complete portfolio of marketing activities depending on your product. Industry. For example, advertising around a popular traffic jam “spot” or radio could be very useful for a nutritional company trying to sell anti-stress multi vitamins or joining communities on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and follow your trends of your consumers. This will serve as your feedback and reengagement channel once you have launched your product or service.
Your brand / product / service name is like your face. It does a lot of talking when meeting new people. Develop something that reflects on your company and defines your goal graphically. A true branding experience will be felt at all levels. It is so intuitive. When you starting a company or a new business, spend quality time on planning out branding strategy for your brand. Do remember, by the end of the day brand name is one of the biggest selling point for any product.
While these parameters play a significant role in development of a company and idea, the total experience of running a startup and growing it bigger will be an overall factor driving the company itself. Its like developing a super bike. If you put all the parts right, you surely have a beast. For getting the parts rights, you make a list of things. That’s a business plan itself. Does it not make the job easier?