Have you got a great idea for a startup, but you just don’t know where to start?
If you’re ready to enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship, then firstly – congratulations! But how do you ensure that your idea is both profitable and viable in today’s market?
Well, keep reading to discover the 9 things you need to think about and ask yourself before launching your business!
1. What problem do you intend to solve with your idea? And who is your target audience?
It’s all well and good to have a great idea for a product or service that you’re passionate about, but you must first consider what PROBLEM it’s trying to solve, and if your solution is going to be viable for your customers. Taking the time to conduct market research can help to determine if your idea is worth pursuing. This means creating short surveys, or interviewing those who you believe would be the consumer of your product or service, and hear their feedback. We recommend that you don’t just stick to asking just your family and friends, as their feedback may be biased purely because they want to support you.
2. Does your idea already exist? If so, how will you do it differently?
There are so many different startups out there today, so it’s important to perform competitor research and find out if there’s already a business (or businesses) providing the same solution as you. There’s more than enough room for everyone if there is, however, it’s important for you to stand out!
The best thing about conducting competitor research is you can find out what’s working, what’s not, and find a gap in the market that could be filled.
Ask yourself: What will be unique about my offering or the way I intend to do business? Is there a new way I could provide this service that hasn’t been done yet?
3. How will you make money?
Something many entrepreneurs avoid thinking about is how they’ll make money. Considering how much you’ll charge for your product or service can be a scary thought, particularly if you don’t want to turn potential customers off. However, it’s important to lean into the discomfort of this process and do your research, so that you don’t charge too much, or even worse – too little, for your offering. Consider the type of revenue model you want to use for your business, will it be direct sales, a subscription model, or something else?
4. Start by launching a minimum viable product (MVP)
The biggest mistake founders make when it comes to their business development is building the wrong thing, or finding that what they’ve built doesn’t actually suit their needs or their audience! A common practice in the world of startups is to develop a minimum viable product or MVP. This allows you to build and launch a cheaper, less advanced version of your product or service, so that you can gain customer feedback and improve your idea as you go. Changing your idea once it’s fully developed is costly, so while this process can be time consuming, it will potentially save you thousands of dollars down the track!
5. Seek feedback and validate your idea
The process of validating helps you to de-risk your idea by putting your customer at the heart. When you understand who the end consumers are and what they want, need or care about, you are no longer “guessing” or assuming that your idea will be successful. And if your idea isn’t viable, you know what adjustments are needed and you can change your idea accordingly.
And this is where seeking customer feedback from your MVP can go a long way, because you can make improvements to your offering as you go, so that when it comes time to launch your final product, you know it’s both needed and wanted by your target audience!
6. Get into the mindset of becoming your own boss
There’s a significant difference between becoming self-employed, and working as an employee for a company. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself moving from an environment of being “managed”, to having to make each and every decision (no matter how big or small), for your business. This takes a lot of passion and courage, but with the right support around you, you’ll be sure to grow in confidence as you go along!
Take the time to consistently “step back” and reflect on your business, to ensure that you stay on track and continue to work with your end goal, and end-consumers in mind. Creating a productive and disciplined work environment is also paramount to your on-going success.
7. How many hours will you commit to your business?
It’s important to think about how many hours you’re going to commit to your business, both now and over the next 12 months. Many new entrepreneurs often juggle employment while they launch their business and get it off the ground. While it’s important to be disciplined and commit to the work required to get your business started, it’s equally important to be realistic. So take into account any personal and family commitments before setting your working hours.
Never underestimate the power of a routine. If you can create a schedule that works for your life, and stick to it, you will find yourself more productive, and able to breeze through your tasks quickly and efficiently.
8. Set goals!
It’s easy to get excited and throw yourself into your business idea in the beginning. But what happens when you run out of steam? Many startup founders go from zero to hero in the early stages of developing their idea. However, they may find that when they hit bumps in the road, or don’t achieve the results that they hoped for, they start to question themselves and their ability.
Goal setting can help to keep you on track and working toward achieving success in your business. It’s important to regularly create both short and long term goals to keep you constantly moving forward (even when the going gets tough)!
9. Join a startup program
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey at times, so it’s important to surround yourself with likeminded people who can help you succeed. Connecting with a community of other founders can help to fuel motivation, and give you someone to bounce your ideas off. These ecosystems, as found in startup programs such as ours, provide you with a platform to test your ideas, gain feedback and support, and access opportunities for collaboration or partnerships with other startups. Often, your first customers willing to buy your product or service will come recommended by someone in your network and ecosystem. So who knows what great things can come from these communities in the future!
There are a number of important factors to consider before launching a startup, and while these things we’ve mentioned can feel daunting or scary, we recommend just focussing on one thing at a time.
Our 2022 program, the Business Igniter, is designed specifically for entrepreneurs who are ready to take their idea and turn it into a real life product or service, ready for their customers! Throughout the course of this program, we will cover all the elements which have been mentioned above, and much more!