Start-ups are chaotic. You are only certain about uncertainty. You know you will face mammoth obstacles; have heartbreaks; bear some grueling talks; and often find yourself in helpless situations – that’s a start-up for you. But, what if you could get a cheat sheet to help you build your start up and live past 100 days? I know it would be awesome! Well, look no further and just keep reading!
After going through piles of information, I have come up with this startup survival guide that will help you cut down all the fuss, and sail through your start-up ignition phase.
Consider this to be your ultimate guide through the first 100 days of your start-up. This guide includes curated opinions from some of the world’s top startup businesses. We’ve compiled a checklist of the key activities that you needs to take care of in the first 100 days of any business.
Most people are not familiar with the ground realities of a start-up. They are passionate, but lack the basic skills of running a business. Through this checklist, founders would be able to keep an eye on every aspect of a start up, i.e., pre-launch and post-launch. This list will give start up owner’s steps they can take en-route to their success.
Let’s take a dip in the pool of start-up knowledge that will help you turn your dreams into a reality.
The Beginning – First 30 Days
Quitting Your Job at the Start – A Big NO!
Remember, you had a job first! Respect that! The benefits of having a part-time business while working full-time are many. While you keep your job, you are assuring your well being, with a source of guaranteed income. This ploy will reduce the usual risk of letting it all in. Another reason why you should not quit your job at the start is that, you will get to know whether you’re committed to your business idea or not.
Talk to Business Owners and Peers That You Know and Trust
The best thing to do! Period. These days, people tend to hide their ideas, because they fear the idea might get rejected or stolen. Your fears are real. However, if you wouldn’t ask anyone to help you, how do you expect people to accept you idea? There are some really good people out there who are willing to help you. You can always ask for honest feedback from some honest individuals. Try to get the most out of experienced individuals’ point of view. It’s better to learn from other’s mistakes than to make your own.
Consider a Co-Founder
Another important aspect of a start-up. You should never show reluctance on adding team members or partners. Give them a share of the company, just to ignite a feeling of ownership in them. For a healthy and ambitious start-up, three is the number proposed by the start-up Gurus. Three like-minded individuals have the potency to excel in business ventures, while coordinating and conveying their ideas to each other.
Know Your Target Audience
A budding entrepreneur needs to know the audience he/she is planning to cater. Consider their attributes like, age, gender, relationship status, income, hobbies, and more.
When starting up, you need to live around these three words, “Know the Market”. In the age of Web 2.0, it’s imperative to show up well-prepared with your homework complete. Do a thorough research of the market you are trying to enter. While you’re at it, make sure you get fair counseling from your beneficiaries. Research every aspect of your target audience. If you are launching an eCommerce startup, look at the shopping trends and behavior of your target audience. A pro-tip: the market research process is on-going. It should never stop as the behavior of your target audience changes with changing trends.
Know your Competitors
“Keep your friends closer and your enemies closest.” When planning a startup you need to know all about your competitor’s potential. Try gauging their audience and how you can make amends to cater their customers’ needs. Just learn about their ways and every move they might make. This is the only way to beat them, by rising high and beating them at their own game. You need to be proactive instead of being reactive.
Business Plan – A Must!
Those who don’t plan, they plan to fail. Isn’t it obvious? Duh! Yes, you need a business plan to start. You need to make a business plan for at least the next 3 years. That’s not it, you need to keep revisiting this business plan in every little while. Keep adding your goals into the business plan and ensure you are on track to achieving them.
Choose a Business Name and Website Domain
William Shakespeare once said: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. “
Well… *News Flash* – it does matter! Specially, in the case of a business! You need to choose a name that connects with your audience. The name should also identify with the service or product you are offering. Your name is the first point of engagement with your audience, and thus, it must match with your brand identity. Once you’re done with deciding the brand name, you need to register your web address (domain name). Now, there is a high possibility that your chosen name is already taken. That should not worry you. With only a few tips and tricks, you can rank up your business in SERP’s. More on that in a bit later posts. But, for now, register a domain name that is the closest to your brand name, if your decided name is already taken. Your web address will give your business a source of authenticity and ease of access. It will be the most nearest spot of contention for your customers.
Customer Is King – Find Your Kings
Try finding your initial customers and keep them contented with your product and services. It is vital to serve your first batch of customers in a way that they return back to your services or product. You need to make sure you are making loyalists in your first attempt. You are a startup, you can not afford a negative review from your first few customers. Never take your customers for granted and treat them like royalty.
Look for Small Funding and Sponsorship
Look for potential investors who can help in raising the bars high. An amplified investment can help the owner in more than hundred ways. While starting up, one may need every possible penny there is. After racking in potential investors, you need to keep them updated. You need to talk, consult and seek guidance from them. You should never hesitate is sharing your progress or bottlenecks with them. Illuminate their minds, with your vision. Remember, your constant updates about your business is going to keep your investors interested in your business.
Days of Hard Toil and Efforts – Day 31 to 100
You’ve started your business and have successfully crossed the one-month mark. This may give you a sense of stability and achievement, however, the jitters are far from over yet!
Things to do, Now:
- Design a logo
- Create a website
- Create a buzz around your start-up and Get Social
- Open a Business Bank Account
After covering the above mentioned basics, here is what you have to do next:
Now that you’ve made some progress in your start-up, it is time to expand your business. By expanding, it doesn’t mean you have to increase your line or products or services. But, what you now need is a team of dedicated professionals that can help you take the next leap. Yes, you might need a bit more funds to hire the best talent. But, here is the best tip you should consider: Hire talent with dedication and passion for startups and your ideas.
Young entrepreneurs launching a startup must know, they can’t do everything on their own. Recruitment is a key factor; hire passionate people and make sure their skill set is going with the job description.
An Accountant or an Accountancy Software – You Need It!
A good accountant will help making the right financial moves and keep you away from hefty financial plunges. There are a range of affordable small business accountancy services and software’s in the market. These software’s will help you take care of your financials, in case you’re not able to find a good accountant.
Keep Testing Your Business Concept
In the first 100 days, don’t worry about the current situation, just keep your focus on your plan. Don’t scale, just do what you’re good at: serving the needs of your audience. Be brave, pay close attention to details and just give it your best. Do not be afraid to take calculated risks.
Lastly, make sure you’re almost there, if not exactly there!
Focus on being honest and true to your business concept and try to give it your best. Try to set your business up in a systematic manner and always keep a room for improvement. One more thing, if you try and don’t succeed, don’t lose hope, it’s not the end. Keep thinking, keep innovating and read this startup survival guide again. Do not quit, until that is the only option left. Cheers!
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