Even if you’ve got an amazingly innovative idea, turning it into a thriving business can be difficult. Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about perfecting your product; you also need to ensure that you’ve got a plan for the following stages:
- Funding your business
- Marketing your product
- Managing staff
- Building a strong customer base
While this list may sound daunting, many of the most successful businesses we rely on today began as garage startups.
Through thoughtful goal-setting and budget-conscious strategizing, you, too, can create a business that stands the test of time.
What you can expect in this article:
Step 1: Write a Funding-Optimized Business Plan
What singular trait do most successful startup businesses share? If you said, “multiple funding sources,” you get a gold star.
When kicking off your startup, it isn’t wise to rely solely on your own resources. Instead, look for multiple ways to inject funding into your business, such as:
- Borrowing money from friends and family
- Getting a loan from your bank
- Launching a crowd-funding campaign
- Attracting venture capitalists
While your friends and family probably won’t expect a high-level business plan, other groups will, from your bank to interested investors, to the strangers who check out your crowd-funding campaign.
Impress them with a business plan that’s well written, thoroughly researched, and financially sound.
While this may be time-consuming, a little extra time spent now could pay off in a huge way down the line.
Step 2: Create a Strategic Marketing Plan
Pop quiz: do you know what CRO stands for?
Or whether email marketing is dead?
How about whether blogging is still viable in the Facebook era?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, spend some time learning about digital marketing.
While your startup shouldn’t depend only on digital marketing, it’s an important component of any modern marketing plan.
Above all, your marketing plan should be customized for your target audience.
For instance, if you’re trying to reach homeowners over age 55, buying ads in your local paper makes a lot of sense.
If, on the other hand, you’re selling an AR app intended for kids, get onto to TikTok!
Step 3: Free Up Your Time with Software-as-a-Service Apps
You shouldn’t be handling all of your business’s paperwork alone.
Instead, your time should be dedicated to big-picture tasks like improving your product or service, team building, and goal setting.
However, if you can’t afford to hire a dedicated staff accountant or HR professional, don’t despair.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps can fill many of the gaps in your staff roster, with tools such as:
- Online employee training software
- Workers compensation software
- Automated invoicing software
- Marketing automation software
- And more!
Every minute you’re on the clock, your focus should be on growing your business, not just maintaining it.
SaaS products make it possible for you to do that without having to hire new people to help you.
Step 4: Grow Your Customer Base
Your startup can’t make it without a customer base, i.e., a group of long-term customers who need your product, love your product, and are willing to purchase it again and again.
When it comes to customer acquisition, you are far better off focusing on your loyal, consistent customers than on larger groups in your audience, such as one-time purchasers of your product or casual visitors to your website.
You can build your customer base by:
- Developing good content that specifically appeals to your target market.
- Becoming known as an expert in your industry.
- Starting conversations with your customer base on social media.
- Employing the help of robust customer acquisition software.
- Monitoring consumer behavior and looking for trends that you can capitalize on.
Work Harder and Smarter
You can take your startup to the next level but doing so means getting rid of everything that distracts you from pursuing your growth goals.
With proper delegation, that’s more than possible. Because here’s the truth: your employees don’t like being micromanaged.
Don’t be a perfectionistic startup CEO who smothers your team.
Instead, be an innovator who leads your company and staff to achieve their full potential.
If you truly commit to the entrepreneurial lifestyle, you’ll be stunned by the results you achieve.