In this world, there are dreamers and doers. Dreamers think about what the future could hold, while doers use the present to make the future happen. The doers start off as dreamers, but they don’t let those dreams stay in their head; they take steps to bring them to life. Born from an idea in your head, the seed grows into a full plant that will eventually become a tree that keeps giving. If you’re an entrepreneur who wants to grow a great idea into a successful startup, consider these six key actions to get started.
Assemble an A-team.
You might be able to conquer this dream on your own, but you’ll probably need help. If your startup is tech-related and you don’t have tech skills, then you'll surely need a technical director. If you’re not business savvy, then you’ll need someone to manage the business and financial side of things. Not every startup has the money to pay everyone for their time, so getting a team together could mean offering each member a partnership split, stocks, deferred compensation, or executive roles when the company grows into a lucrative business.
Without money, your business can’t thrive. Those with the financial cushion could invest their own money, but never invest money that you can’t afford to lose. Maybe you’re not the person with the money, but your partner is. Once you have a solid business plan drawn up, you can approach angel investors or venture capitalists for funding in exchange for debt or equity. It helps to have a team member who is skilled in pitching the idea and can do so genuinely.
Treat It Like a Real Job
This means having an office dedicated to the startup, even if you can only afford to work from home. As you design your office, you’ll want to maximize your productivity. Make sure you have enough natural light in your office for better workplace wellness. Eliminate distractions and clutter. Invest in quality office furniture and equipment, especially if your team will be working from your office.
Test Your Product Before Launching
You’ll need people to test your product for QA, as well as spread the word about how great it is. This is where your friend network comes in. Ask friends to try it for free, and request reviews and feedback. Take out targeted ads to attract the right clientele, and offer incentives to get customers to buy your product.
Spend Money on Promotions
Many startups and small businesses skimp on advertising because they don’t want to put money into something that’s not profitable, but a business won’t become profitable unless you invest money into it, even if it means taking an initial loss. Think about the unfamiliar products you’ve seen advertised on social media. These businesses eventually got their footing because they were relentless in getting their brand in front of people’s eyes. Advertising doesn’t necessarily translate to immediate sales. It promotes brand recognition so that your target audience becomes familiar with your brand. When customers are in need for the product or service that you offer, they’ll think of your company first.
Take Calculated Risks
This doesn’t mean you should jump without a parachute, but many startups fail because they won’t jump at all. In order to succeed, you must put yourself out there and take risks. Innovative products push the envelope and provide an answer to an unfulfilled need, or they make an existing product better. Companies that hear “yes” aren’t afraid to make requests, and they don’t let “no” stop them from persevering. They remain bold in the face of rejection and adversity. If they make mistakes, they get back on the horse.
Every big company started as an idea, which then became a startup. Not every startup will become a successful business, but hard work, dedication, and a talented team with strong leadership can turn a good product or service into a profitable one. Once your idea becomes a successful startup, you can then focus on customer retention and growth.
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