Starting a business is an attractive proposition if you’re of an independent, entrepreneurial mind. While you’re no longer directly working for a manager or boss, you’re bound by your responsibility to your employees and investors to push for success for this new venture. Understanding the lifecycle that most start ups follow can help you to plan, and push for the best outcomes.
The Early Days
Before you even set out looking for funding, or commit to a written business plan, you need to prepare. The very earliest days of a start up are characterised by research and reading. If you don’t understand the market you’re selling into – and can’t demonstrate that understanding – you could be setting yourself up for failure in the near future; you could even find it difficult to convince people to fund your business as you won’t be able to show them how likely it is their investment will be returned!
The type of research you need to conduct to be truly ready to launch a business or pitch for funding depends on your industry and business model. The understanding you need to launch a local business based in a single location – a hairdressers, a restaurant or even a recruitment firm – is very different to the insight you need to make a success of a digital business with a global market. Working with a market research firm that specialises in international research can help you optimise your products and marketing for customers across the whole world!
The day you open your doors (physical or digital) is an important one. Your research should have helped to inform promotional marketing campaigns, so there are customers ready and waiting for you on day one, but you need to make sure your goods or services are reliable and offer customers genuine value so you can turn the novelty shoppers of day one into reliable customers and clients for the long term.
As you establish an audience for what you have to offer you need to start thinking about the future. These early days often serve simply to demonstrate the potential for your business: they give you figures to go to venture capital investors to persuade them to part with more significant investment so you can develop.
Other startups are built from the ground up with the intention of selling them when they begin to get established: they’re breeding grounds for tech or processes that could be used by bigger brands, and it’s a legitimate tactic to develop a business with a view to being profitably bought out in the mid-term!