This is a new year, and there is the tendency for a lot of individuals to want to start their own business. However starting a business/company could be very challenging especially owing to the fact that we are not taught business skills in school.
Getting information off the internet could also be another challenge for those who don’t know their way around it.
One important first step is getting a befitting name for your business. You are free to use any name generator as you well please or, better still, create the name yourself. One of the easiest ways is coming up with an abstract name to which you can drive some meaning in years to come. Meanwhile here are some other needs you have to sort out as well.
- Brand Identity (logo and stationery designs)
- Social Media handles opened
- Company Registration (Another topic for another day)
That being said, here are ten other things we think you need to look into before telling everyone you are a "CEO" or "Founder" of a business.
What is your product/service?
This could be very complex at first especially when you have a lot of options to choose from. You need to understand that having too many products or services could hinder brand visibility.
You should be able to explain your product or service in 30 seconds. For those building tech solutions, you don’t have to make your solutions complex, start with what matters. This is why there is something called “feature list. Streamline your product(s)/service(s); simplicity is divine.
What is your UVP ( Unique Value Proposition)?
When you have decided what your products/services are, you need to move a step higher; by figuring out your Unique Value Proposition. It is that one thing you are selling to the market like no other. In simple terms, this is your “selling point”.
For a business to be viable at all, it has to do something well. For it to win in a competitive market, though, it has to do something better than its competitors. This is easy for those charting uncharted territories. But if you seem to have competitors already in the space they are venturing into, you have to figure out your UVP if you plan to scale. This is the only way potential customers can get to know you exist.
What is your vision and mission?
Every startup must have a vision and mission because it is the only reason why you are venturing into it in the first place. Whether long term or short term, they would guide your decisions and actions as you get along in your business. Your vision is where you want to be while your mission is how you plan to get there. It doesn’t have to be long but it must have meaning and depth because everything your startup is must resonate around it.
Be the smartest in the room
How do you plan to scale?
Every startup needs to scale after some time to be able to stay in the market. You need to understand that when you give freemium services, they should have a limit.
There are various ways you can get people to pay for your product or service. You can ask them to refer or pay with tweets or share your product or a testimony of your service. You need to start thinking out of the box, this is 2017.
It could be a serious task figuring out how much your product or service is worth but here's a simple formula; figure out how much it took to get the job or product done and add 20% of the running cost to it. That way you will stay afloat as long as you deliver awesome products and services. The moment you realize your customer's purse is changing, you swim towards the tides.
How do you plan to sell your service/product?
Before now, companies focused on producing better products or services and not how they planned to sell these “better” products or services.
The world of business has changed as customers can make decisions in quick seconds as to what to buy without even talking to any personnel from the brand. For example, Coke (Coca-Cola) has done quite nicely, to say the least, selling a product better than any of its competitors put together. You need to understand what marketing channels you plan to use for your startup. Startups that choose and cleverly integrate the right mix of channels can build a favourable market system that works and optimally respond to market demands for their products and services.
What is your market opportunity?
This should have been done before setting out to start any kind of Startup. Do a research on your market potential. This helps you to give your market exactly what they want and nothing beyond that. Failing to do research on your market opportunity is more or less flying blind into the market. You never can tell, maybe there is someone already doing what you are planning to start. This is where you figure out whether to startup in the first place. You will not be able to scale if you don’t do this.
Who is your management team?
It has been said that the level of experience of your management team goes a long way in the success of your startup. Your management team needs to be grounded in your startup and must be able to help from their areas of strength and expertise.
It is difficult to get the best gurus, especially when you don’t have anything to pay them, but you can offer them something to keep them working. Bottom line, look for passionate people who are willing to grow with you and build your startup. There is a saying that goes, “if you want to travel fast go alone, but if you want to travel far; go with the right people.”
How much do you need to raise?
This is one question we all try to run from but obviously can’t escape. Figure out how much you need to run your startup from scratch, i.e at the bootstrap stage. You need to sit down and get your accounting skills switched on because you need the cash to stay afloat till you get investors or you scale up on your own.
What are your projected financials?
This is where you figure out how much profit you are going to make in span of a year at least. This is your ROI (Return On Investment). What you plan to spend on your startup, where those expenses will come from, if you have to be on the lookout for investors are all questions you need to answer.
This is where we always “deceive” ourselves by projecting that we would make profits during a span of five years maximum. Bottom line, if you plan to get investors this is very important as some investors only even go through this part before deciding whether to give you their money. But if you plan to bootstrap, I suggest you just start and figure out the rest!
What is the preliminary evaluation of your startup?
First you need to know the market valuation of your business which is simply what people are willing to pay for your product or services. You need to actually know what your startup is worth if you plan to get investors. If you have figured this out, you can go in confidently into any meeting with your investors and know how much you intend to collect from them for a certain percentage of your company.
These are definitely many other things you have to consider before starting your startup. However, with these few locked down, you're pretty much on the right path. I wish you the very best in your startup adventure.
Feel free to share your thoughts and questions as I would love to be of help. You now have what it takes to start that awesome startup, I am rooting for you.