Understanding — really understanding — the work involved in starting a business is essential before launching a startup. You might say, “I’ll never know until I try.” However, when it comes to startups, there are ways to prepare for it, test the idea you have, and improve it before building a company around it.
Workers nowadays find the work environment in startups more flexible and bearable. However, building a startup is challenging. The ideating, planning, researching, and funding — can be a hundred things simultaneously. But, before you get overwhelmed by the outflow of ideas, it’s essential to direct your energy, time, and effort to the right tasks that will prepare you for this new venture.
Below are a few things to know before launching your startup.
Learn about your industry
So you have this brilliant idea for a startup. Great! Having a brilliant idea does not mean it’s unique and original. Chances are, other people have had the same idea. So do your research to see who the major players are and who could be your potential competitors. On the other hand, if you are still at the stage wherein you are considering entrepreneurship, it is best to find an industry where your talents and style fit best.
Know your competition
Do due diligence in getting familiar with the existing players in your industry. For example, say you are planning to open a restaurant. You can start off by listing down the restaurants near you. Check out their menus and offerings — do they have late-night bars? Do they offer valet parking? Take note of the type of diners that find these features appealing — families, young students, young professionals, or older adults. Be their customer and experience their service yourself. Sign up for their newsletter, so you’ll know how they go about their marketing and how they care for their clientele. Understand how they do it so that you can do better.
Know your source of funds
This is one of the first things to consider when launching a startup. What are your options? Are you using your personal savings for it? Do you have an entrepreneurial aunt who is willing to finance your startup? Or will you be seeking the help of professional investors? Remember that for investors to write you a check, you will need to convince them that your idea is worthwhile. So, before talking to anybody, ensure you have a business plan and strategy.
Know who to go to for advice and mentorship
It may be tempting to do all this on your own. However, it would be best to seek the help of those who have gone before you. These people, whether they are relatives, friends, former employers, or teachers, can help you in many ways. They can help you build your network and direct you to people who might be your potential investors or suppliers. Some can give you pointers as you draft your business plan.
Trust the professionals and bring them in
It’s impossible to know about every aspect of your startup. There’s legal, taxation, compliance, and real estate, just to name a few. For example, it is crucial to have legal counsel to ensure that you do everything lawfully throughout the process. Another critical professional that should be in your corner is an accountant.
You can do polls, surveys, or focus groups to test your products or services. If budget is an issue, you can also use online survey tools as long as you can intimately understand your customers. What makes them happy? What is important to them? What price range are they willing to pay for your product or service? You can also use social media to gain insights into what your target customers are looking for and discussing all the time. Getting to know more about your customers can help you refine your startup idea, as well as your business plan.
Scout for talent
Keep an eye out for people you think would be an excellent fit for your startup. You may not hire them just yet, but it’s good to already have people on top of your mind when you need to bring in more people when you expand.
Being an entrepreneur can be freeing, but it also takes more time and energy. Therefore, knowing the right tasks before launching your startup is essential, so you don’t end up jumping the gun and losing money. Consider the list above as a guide as you slowly and consciously bring your startup to success.