More than ever before, people seem ready to forge their own path and launch a business. As we see time and again, startups can garner a great deal of success. But what are some things to consider before establishing your own startup?
1. Find a niche in the market
So, you have an idea and feel this is the time to get the ball rolling. But before you can really get started, you need to find your own unique voice among a plethora of brands and businesses. You need to find out what sets you apart from the rest – which is no small task. The first place to start is to put yourself in the shoes of the customer and ask yourself the following questions:
- What is missing in this area that could make my experience easier and more convenient?
- Are there any additions to the product that could really add value? (E.g. the various Instagram filters developed by companies other than Instagram, or the Facebook portal for convenient video chats in the age of the Coronavirus, etc.)
Once you’ve established a solid idea, you need to make sure that it is user-friendly. As Forbes so succinctly puts it: “the simpler your product is, the better it is for a start.” Remember that consumers need to understand how to use your product, so don’t become too ambitious and over-complicate the process.
2. Know your resources and use them wisely
When first starting out, it is natural to have a lack of resources and funding – investors don’t grow on trees, as much as we wish that was the case! However, do not let your financial limitations discourage you, as many big companies have started in someone’s basement or garage. Of course, here our minds naturally drift towards Microsoft, but this is not the only success story with humble beginnings. The nicotine pouch giant, Nicokick, was also a garage startup as recently as 2009, and the two co-founders only had 10,000 Swedish Crowns (approximately $1000) between them. The basis of the Nicokick’s business model was e-commerce, and so naturally they chose to invest their limited capital into a proper website.
Ask yourself what the most important aspect of your blooming business is, and begin to gently invest in the foundation of your startup. Don’t focus on perfection, but rather on getting yourself out there.
Another great resource is the power of networking. Use your friends, family, neighbors, and postman to spread word of your product. Studies show that as many as 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust the opinion of someone they personally know. So get those reviews flowing.
3. Know who your competitors are
Although your product may be completely unique, you will always have competitors in some shape or form. Make sure that you study these competitors in detail: what do they do well, where do they perform less well, are they missing a gap in the market that you could fill? Remember that any successes or mistakes that your competitors make are a lesson for you on how to improve your own offering.
4. Do not be so hard on yourself
When you are starting out, it is really easy to feel like every setback is the end, or to take every criticism or rejection to heart. But remember, these are all learning curves that will strengthen your business in the long run. Very few businesses succeed immediately, and even world renowned entrepreneurs, such as Milton Hershey (Hershey candy) and Brian Chesky (Airbnb), experienced many failures before making their mark.
Also make sure that you do not burn out. Take time out and try to maintain a work/life balance. Without proper rest, you will be sure to run yourself and your future company into the ground.