The world of startups can be an exciting, yet challenging one. For newbies, the advice is to go in with eyes wide open- they should know what exactly they’re bargaining for when they set out to launch into the often turbulent entrepreneurial seas. The circumstances, more often than not, tend to unfold largely in accordance with how well you have planned things. Enterprises face fewer problems going forward when their founders have figured out the likely obstacles there might be to their venture running smoothly, or what needs there might be early on.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most important things entrepreneurs should consider before starting up.
- Do you have the skills and experience required to start up?
You’re passionate about it, and you think the market can do with your brilliant new approach to closing the supply gap. But if you’re barely able to tell what the tools of your trade are (let alone use them), you won’t be able to execute your plans as effectively as you would want to.
Get the skills and experience you’ll need to make your startup work if you don’t already have them. A lot of the time, this would mean working in an establishment that gives you the opportunity to learn on the job. Internships and trainings can supply you with much of what you’ll require. You must be willing to give the time and effort to readying yourself for takeoff.
- How will you fund the startup?
Do you intend to bootstrap? Will you go after seed funding from investors? Weigh the pros and cons of whatever approach you would like to take. It’s usually advisable that new ventures begin with funds generated internally and prove their viability, before requesting investment rounds. Investors are more likely to put their money in businesses that have shown that they can actually survive and thrive in the early stage. However, with external investment comes more scrutiny, so you should be prepared for this.
- Will you start off on your own or with a partner?
Can you go it alone at the start, or do you need to work with someone or a few people? If you’re sure you have all it takes to launch out on your own, by all means, do so. But if you find that you’ll need someone to complement your skill set and make up for areas you’re not quite up to scratch with, then you may have to get a partner. Having a partner can save you the cost of outsourcing certain duties that are important to the startup’s functioning. Just be sure that whoever you’re choosing is also dedicated to making the business work.
- How do you set your business apart from the competition?
You should find out what your competitors are doing. Study their offerings, and ascertain their strengths and weaknesses. Then decide what you can do to set your brand apart from them (in a positive way, of course). This is especially important in markets that already have several players.
Differentiating a brand doesn’t only mean giving price discounts and having a great logo (although these are important); there should be something unique about the startup’s service delivery. The point is about finding ways of attracting customers by making them as comfortable with the product as possible, and by appealing to their sentiments.
- Who are your customers?
This is about getting the demographics right. What kind of person will the typical customer for your startup be, and how do you reach them? What section of the population are you looking at? Under 18’s? Business professionals? Stay-at-home moms? Defining this clearly will help you focus on channeling your resources towards meeting the demand from specific ends. It’ll also save you a lot of time, energy and money. You’ll eliminate the cost of inappropriately targeted marketing and help you tailor your products to suit the customer’s needs.
- What are your mentors, friends and knowledgeable people saying?
It’s certainly important to seek the opinion of those who know your industry well and have some valuable advice to give. Knowledgeable friends can help you with suggestions as well.
Knowing what others think about your startup is important. They are more likely to give you an unbiased assessment of what it is that you’re planning to embark upon and point out possible adjustments that could be made that you probably wouldn’t have thought about yourself.