So you have done everything that has to be done for the pre-launch? You have an idea, you have shared it with people, tweaked it, wrote a business plan and all… What is next?
Sometimes it seems like the hard part is over. You have done the major thing – idea and plan, right? Now you have to convince your future customer and everyone else in this crazy journey, that they need you. Otherwise, you are going to sink. Having an idea and a business plan (doesn’t matter how much it has been praised) is not enough. Startup or any business is like a puzzle. You need to find the correct parts in order to know what to do next. You can do that randomly and you might succeed but it is going to take forever and most likely lead to failure.
Let’s find the pieces to together, shall we?
Build your online presence
It is a crucial thing. Why? Most of the potential investors are not going to be just blinded by your awesome idea. Or the fact that you have a patent. People need numbers. You need to portray the engagement. How many people want to buy your product? How popular your product/service is on social media?
And when we are talking about social media engagement, we are not saying that you should invite a bunch of random people to follow your social media account. No, you are not trying to become a social media influencer, are you? Actually, and even then, you should be thinking about a tailored audience just for your product.
If you are selling a dating app, you are not interested in people who are happily married. It is a simple example but it works. Try to build an audience that is actually interested in the product or service that you want to sell. The engagement is going to follow. Simple.
Do not push your product
If you are trying to build a social presence online do not try to only sell your product. Think about it. Would you follow someone who would be only spamming you with product ads? Not really. Try to think of a more creative and useful or informative way how to create engaging content.
Think about what your perfect customer is going to be interested in. Test it. You will have to test a great deal during this journey. Don’t think that you will have to write mad amounts of engaging content. Try splintering it instead. What do we mean? For example, if you are writing a blog post, you can turn some statistics or other useful information into a visual snippet that can be used on other social media platforms. Be smart with the information that you have gathered and reuse it in order to attract more people to read your blog and get interested in your product or service.
Having an awesome idea and building a social media presence is not enough. You have to put yourself out there. How come posting on social media is not putting yourself out there?
It is in a way, you are going to build engagement but you need professionals from various fields and startup communities to find you. Find online startup platforms you could sign up for, explore local startup communities, groups on Facebook, Reddit etc. Go to startup events, conferences or any places where you can find people that could bring your business to potential success. In other words, build your people baggage. You never know who and what can be helpful in the future. Also, it is super useful to pitch your idea to a wide range of people from as many fields as possible. It helps you to understand your own idea more clearly and this way you might even find some flaws in your product or target audience.
Figure out your business funds
Every startup requires initial funds to get started, so you’ll want a reliable estimation before you give your project green light. Remember, you will need money to make money. Once you’ve figured out how much funding you’ll need to start your business, you’ll have to think where the money will come from. Are you going to go the old bank loan route or seek out potential investors to chip in? Invest the money you have been working hard on or ask your friends and family for help? Another option for small businesses these days is to crowdfund via platforms like Kickstarter, which allow entrepreneurs to collect donations to help their businesses flourish. Either way, you will have to turn your head for a bit and figure out which type of funding makes the most sense for your company.
The fun part! Finding ways to fund your baby. Funding depends a lot on what is your product or service that you want to sell. Let’s say it is an app.
When we are talking about funding your app, it doesn’t mean that you will be looking for all the money you assume that you need to develop and promote it. You might want to get funding for a specific part of your app improvement, or a concrete feature that you want your app to have.
Your app might also be already live, and you might just be looking for money to promote it or localise it (or funds that give you the time to do that). What we are trying to say is: you could use the money to shape your app or its promotion better, without risking too much.
We are going to be talking about more funding opportunities in our next blog. This time, we want to talk briefly about crowd-funding platforms.
Posting your app on one of the crowdfunding platforms is an amazing way to judge if there is an actual interest in your project and get feedback early on. Remember when we told you to build your online presence and engage with your future customer?
This allows you to do just that. Figure out the best way to pitch your idea on one of these platforms and if you get zero funding… Well, that means you probably have to rethink it. It is not necessary your products fault. Maybe it is the way you have presented it, or maybe you have chosen the wrong crowd?
On the other hand, if people are engaging and back your idea, you’re probably on the right track! You’ll also be able to get their thoughts as you go forward, which can lead your product in the right direction. And when you launch, hopefully, they’ll be the good samaritans and will talk about your product! Win-win.
Hire Slow. Fire Fast.
We have talked about it in our previous blog. But we can’t stretch it enough. The team you choose can build or break your business. When we think back to the biggest mistakes we have made as entrepreneurs, they all whirl around hiring the wrong people, or worse, keeping the wrong people.
What happens often is, when it comes to startups, they have a tendency to move too quickly. And end up hiring the wrong person for the wrong position. Then, even though our guts are telling us that we have hired the wrong person, we don’t want to accept that fact, so we keep trying to defend the decision. How? We bring that person toward success, and/or move him to a new position. This can be more harmful than hiring the wrong person in the first place! What is the solution? Hire slow, fire fast.
It is all about the people
All the businesses we can think of would be absolutely nowhere without their employees, partners, and advisors. The reality is, your job as an entrepreneur and leader is just three-fold: set the vision and strategy, make sure there’s enough money in the bank to pay your people and get the right crew in the right positions. Simple stuff, right? The people you hire and sack, partner with or don’t, take advice from or choose not to take advice from – these people can be the leap in-between success and failure.
Your people are your business. People are your success. Your people are your everything. Now go out there, get that awesome team of people together and build the startup of your dreams!