We all have dreams; things we’d like to accomplish and lifestyles we’d love to pursue. Sadly, too many of us see our dreams as more pie in the sky than real possibilities. For example, many people dream about starting a business, but the potential risk keeps most of us from doing so. The difference between you and this majority is that you’re ready to actually go after those dreams.
Once you have a solid business idea, it’s time to get your other ducks in a row. There are many keys to a successful startup, but we’ve chosen 5 steps where all too many new business owners go wrong. The idea is to help you steer clear of common errors and help your startup stand the test of time. So let’s go!
Skip the market research
If failure is what you’re after, then nothing is more effective than not doing your homework. Whatever you do, don’t conduct any market research before finalizing your business direction – because that can lead to absolute success! In all seriousness, market research is a MUST. You need to know that there is an active market for what you plan to offer. Who is your audience? How large is it? Who are your competitors, and are they well funded? Before you begin your venture, you need to understand what the market wants and needs from you, and how to reach out to them.
Go in blind
Nothing ensures a rocky start like hitting the “go” button without a plan. Business planning is vital, and should include much more than a marketing strategy. Smart business planning requires the correct legal structure for your business (hint: you’ll need an attorney). You’ll also need a legitimate revenue model, accurate financial forecasting, and yes — a budget.
Don’t protect yourself
There is no better way to go down in flames than to start your business without legal protections. Aside from setting up your business properly for tax and liability purposes (see number 2), you must put protections in place for your intellectual property. Make sure you have any licenses or copyrights required. Establish accounting policies and business accounts. Document business procedures. You must also take steps to protect your own assets from potential lawsuits that stem from your new status as a business owner. It happens — be ready.
Don’t raise capital
Most of us can’t afford to fund operations ourselves, so you’ll likely need investors or even crowd funding to raise money for advertising, product development, etc. You must convince investors you’re a wise risk, then ensure those funds are properly used and accounted for.
Always go it alone
Successful businesses are built by people who seek out solid partners for the early stages and beyond. Decide what roles need to be filled and what type of people should fill them. Define each person’s responsibilities. Make a plan to compensate your employees with a good payroll system. Third-party professionals such as accountants and attorneys can offer vital support as you start and grow your company.
Starting a business is exciting and fast-paced, much like a new roller coaster. While there are always unexpected twist, turns, and hills to climb, careful planning and quality support can go a long way to ensuring success and longevity.