Startup success rates aren’t that great. Not every entrepreneur is able to make their business survive the tough competition out there.
The startup failure stats are quite saddening. In the US alone, 50 percent of startups fail within five years, and 70 percent fail within 10 years. You need to plan the perfect take off to ensure a smoother flight to the top.
It is all about how you take your startup off the ground. So, let’s talk about the main steps involved in the process.
1. Start with a Plan
Sounds like common knowledge, every venture needs a plan. Unfortunately, most startups begin without a proper business plan. All they have is a rough idea of what they want, but they are unable to properly lay out their goals and how they mean to achieve it.
Having a business plan is crucial. It can double your chances of success. With a plan in your pocket, you are more likely to obtain investment capital. It helps you clear your own vision and win the confidence of your investors and partners.
So, start with a plan that covers at least the first three years of your business. It should outline your goals and your strategy.
2. Be Real About Finances
Even if your business idea doesn’t require people or equipment, the cost of establishing and operating it can easily hit $10, 000.
Many startups are funded by the founder. People invest every penny in the business hoping to multiply that investment. It doesn’t always work in their favor. Besides capital, you need to think about cash flow as well. More than 80 percent of business fail because of bad cash flow.
No matter how simple your business structure is, you need to secure proper funding so that you can maintain a seamless cash flow even if they aren’t making a lot of sales initially.
Speaking of funding, banks are less likely to fund a small business. Even if they do, the interest rate can be a real risk for a small business. Consider all of these aspects when making a business plan. If you don’t see a positive picture, go for options that don’t involve interest but profit sharing. Ask your friends and family to partner with you, or choose a venture capitalist.
3. Site or Website
Location, location, location – that is the three golden rules of business success.
For an online business, the site is now the website. Both are extremely important. You need an impressive office or shop location, and if your business is completely online, then you need an impressive website. Your location should be easily accessible, and your website should be fast, simple, and responsive. Baabuk is a great example of a simple and fast loading site that allows for ease of navigation. To the point and functional.
4. Hire the Right People
It takes a crew to ensure a successful take off. It pays to hire the right people for the job. Whether you are hiring an accountant or a web developer. Whether you are finding partners or distributors, keep in mind that people are your most valuable assets. So choose those who can actually bring value to your business.
If you don’t have the money to hire a full-time expert, consider outsourcing some of the secondary tasks to a service provider. Such companies hire high-level experts and let you use their service as required. It also takes a load off your shoulders, and you get more time to focus on the core business activities.
Even when it comes to people you surround yourself, make sure they are the ones who bring support and positivity to the table. The last thing you need is people who can make the environment toxic.
5. Create a Marketing Plan
A solid marketing plan is just as important as a business plan.
Let’s face it. No one will come to you if they don’t even know about your existence. Almost every industry is saturated to the point where every niche has around 10 competitors fighting to survive and win. For two businesses offering the exact same products or services, marketing the sole point of distinction.
You don’t have to spend millions on advertisements. Online marketing is a startup’s best friend. You can PPC and email marketing to your advantage. More importantly, you can leverage the unmatched marketing potential of social media platforms.
Social media marketing can play a key role in building a brand. There are numerous examples of startups that are thriving solely because of their big social media presence.
6. Value Your Customers
Small businesses and startups have a great advantage when it comes to customer services.
Since you don’t have a huge customer base, to begin with, you can give each customer the most personalized service and priority support. Customers really appreciate when they are able to talk directly to someone who is high on the hierarchy. It makes them feel valued and respected.
If you aren’t able to personally talk to every customer, hire someone who can. Let your customers reach you through any channel of their choice. Make it as convenient for them as possible.
Good customer service will help you win new customers and, more importantly, retain the existing ones. The latter can make more money for your business.
The Final Step
No matter how well you plan, there can be many unexpected scenarios. Stay prepared for unforeseen risks and challenges. Stay prepared for the worst-case scenario keep a backup plan at your disposal. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but always learn and improve.
Keep in your mind that starting a business is not easy and the journey is quite predictable. With proper planning, you can remove the uncertainty to a great extent. With the right strategy and your plan, you can not only take your startup off the ground but also overcome all the bumps on the way. Staying prepared is the key to jump-start and sustainable growth.
Erica Silva is a blogger who loves to discover and explore the world around her. She writes on everything from marketing to technology, science and brain health. She enjoys sharing her discoveries and experiences with readers and believes her blogs can make the world a better place. Find her on Twitter: @ericadsilva1