You’ve got a great idea for a startup. Perhaps you’ve developed a plan, a proof of concept, and even raised a bit of capital. Most of all, you’re passionate about bringing your idea to the marketplace.
But are you truly ready for launch – and for that matter, how do you know when you’re ready? There’s more to growing a successful business than a good idea and a lot of passion. If you don’t have your ducks in a row, you could experience a false start – or worse, a derailment right when you’re gaining momentum. Before you hit the launch button on your business, let’s look at six key things you need to know.
Know Your Product and How it Adds Value to People’s Lives
This one seems simple enough, but it’s often overlooked. Before you can sell your product or service with any degree of success, you have to know it inside and out. How does it work? What are its features and benefits? How does it differ from what’s already out there?
But most importantly, you have to understand how your product or service improves people’s lives. This is your unique selling proposition, and it needs to be crystal clear in your mind before you can communicate it to others.
Your product or service might make life easier, save people money, or provide them with a unique experience. No matter what it is, if you can’t articulate how it helps others, you’re likely to have a tough time winning customers over.
Know Your Market and Your Industry
Who is your target market? What is your ideal customer like? What needs and pain points do they have, and how does your product address those needs? What motivates them to make a purchase? You need to be able to answer these questions before you can start developing marketing and sales strategies.
In addition to knowing your target market, you also need to understand the competitive landscape of your industry. What other businesses are out there offering similar products or services? How do they position themselves in the market? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you find a niche for your business and develop strategies for differentiating your products or services.
Know Your Roadmap and Growth Strategy
If you don’t have a business plan yet, write one. This document will be your roadmap for launching and growing your business, so it’s important to have a clear and concise plan in place. Even if you’re the only person working on your startup, putting your thoughts down on paper (or digitally) will help you organize your ideas and focus on what’s important.
Once you have a business plan, you need to identify your growth strategy. How are you going to acquire new customers? What marketing channels will you use? How will you scale your operations as you grow? These are important questions to answer before launch because they’ll help inform your business decisions down the road. And keep your roadmap and strategy handy so you can always refer back to them, measure your progress, and remember your priorities so you don’t get sidetracked.
Know Your Finances
You can’t run a business without money, so it’s important to understand your financial situation before you launch. Do you have enough capital to get started? How long will that capital last? Will you need to raise more? What is your burn rate and runway? What are your monthly expenses? And perhaps most importantly, do you have a plan for generating revenue?
You need to know the answers to all of these questions so you can keep your business afloat in the early days and ensure it has the resources it needs to grow.
Know the Challenges Ahead
Let’s be honest: This is not going to be easy. Starting a business is hard work, and there will be difficulties along the way. There are going to be days when you want to pull your hair out, and days when you’ll want to give up. But if you go into it with your eyes open, knowing what to expect, you’ll be better prepared to handle whatever comes your way.
So brace yourself for long hours, potential setbacks, and plenty of stress. But also get excited about the opportunity to build something amazing and the potential rewards that come with it.
Know How to Protect Yourself Legally
Last but not least, you need to understand the legal landscape and make sure you’re taking steps to protect your business. This includes things like incorporating your business, getting the appropriate licenses and permits, protecting your intellectual property, familiarizing yourself with the compliance landscape for your business, establishing solid contracts and agreements, and having the right insurance in place.
You also need to be aware of potential risks so you can avoid them. For example, if you’re selling products, you need to make sure they’re safe and comply with any express or implied warranties. If you’re working with other businesses, you need to make sure you’re not violating the terms of any agreement such as a nondisclosure or noncompete agreement. And if you’re handling sensitive data, you need to have the appropriate security measures in place to protect it.
At Hood Venture Counsel, one of our chief areas of focus is helping startups like yours get up and running safely and affordably without losing momentum. That’s why we offer our Launch Package comprised of legal services tailor-made to make sure your bases are covered. To learn more about our Launch Package and other ways we can help protect your business, contact us today.