Starting a business is not a modern concept. However, you would be forgiven for thinking it is. Since the birth of internet 2.0 and the boom in the tech industry, the number of startups has increased significantly. 2020 alone saw a record year of 770,000 new small businesses. However, it’s also easy to make the mistake of believing that forming, maintaining, and operating a business is easy. Unfortunately, it isn’t, and there is a 90% failure rate among startups, around 20% of which fold in the first year.
Fortunately, there has been much research into the concept of starting a business. Over the past few years, several studies have identified some of the critical areas of focus that are essential for launching a new business. While every company has varying requirements depending on its industry, sector, and client base, some common factors thread throughout the startup process. These include:
- Identifying something you are passionate about
- Seeking professional help and advice in business
- Developing a solid business plan
- Accepting criticism and adapting to failure
- Putting customers first
- Establishing a brand
- Adapting to changes
- Using new technologies and tools
- Surrounding yourself with like-minded people
- Employing a digital marketing agency
- Legally protecting original assets
- Expanding only when necessary
- Caring for yourself appropriately
While none of these alone or even together will guarantee success in your ventures, employing them as part of your overall infrastructure will help. Alone, each one is useful, but together they can form a powerful and actionable system to identify and examine a solid business plan that can help overcome unconventional issues or constraints.
Recognize Your Passion
Having a great idea can change the world. To stay focused, it is vital that you develop your business around something about which you are passionate. For example, personal wellness is a popular niche these days, and the industry comprises passionate individuals who have built their company around it. Therapists, Yoga instructors, and essential oil sales form a large part of the wellness industry. The trick is to find something you love and make it your business.
Get Expert Advice
Almost no business person became successful without a bit of help at some point. You can read all the books you want, attend business classes and scour the internet blogs. And while these are all excellent sources of information that will help, none can compare to expert advice. Whether you offer products or a service, sales consulting includes company analysis and competitor comparison which will launch the first stages of a solid business development plan.
Develop a Comprehensive Plan
Moving on from initial consulting by a professional service, you will need to develop a complete and comprehensive business plan. A business plan of this type should detail everything that could and will affect your company, not just finances. Market and industry analysis is a crucial factor when pitching to investors. You also need to outline a functional organizational and management structure that explains how your business will be run and by whom.
Don’t Be Afraid of Failure or Criticism
Everyone faces criticism, and it’s a natural part of business development. J.K Rowling suffered numerous rejections and harsh criticism for Harry Potter before a small publisher saw the book’s potential. Nevertheless, the author is now one of the most famous in the world with a net worth of £820 million. As long as you identify your passion and believe in yourself, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. You need to take the hits and keep moving forward.
Think of Customer Needs First
Of course, identifying your passion and believing in it is excellent for getting your business off the ground. But you must also remember that you are building a business for customers and not yourself. Therefore, almost every decision you make about your business should be accompanied by the question ‘How will this affect my customers?’. This comes under the customer service initiative, but you could also offer a personalized service as well.
If you make it past the first year and business is good, it might be time to think about developing your brand. Digital marketing agencies are excellent for helping with this. You might think this means a logo and a slogan, but branding is much more than this. Logo and slogan development is indeed a part of branding, but such branding allows you to become instantly recognizable and identified with a service or product. When you think about cola, you think Coke, right?
Re-Evaluate and Adapt
What keeps a business in business? Adapting to changing times, of course. If you aren’t willing to evaluate your company and adjust it accordingly, you cannot hope to stay in production for more than a couple of years. For example, you could assess the payment technology implemented across your establishment. Cash is a dying medium. Contactless card payments are now the dominant payment systems and digital payments are becoming common.
Utilize Online Tools
Whether your business is online or not, you can leverage the power of online tools. At the very least, you need a social media account to promote your company. The average person spends almost 3 hours per day using social media. Additionally, over 90% of businesses use social media for promotion, which has become necessary for competition. Each platform also provides powerful analytics tools for deciding upon a target audience and making decisions.
Employ People with a Shared Vision
Employees are the backbone of your business, yet hiring the right people for the job can be tricky. Don’t be afraid to take your time when looking for a suitable candidate since it is vital that you surround yourself with like-minded people. Or at the least, individuals who believe in what you do and can see your vision. This makes executing your vision easier further down the line. Shared vision also garners loyalty and employee retention, a leading cause of financial loss.
Consider Digital Marketing
You might use digital marketing for logo creation and brand development, but these special agencies can do much more than that. Digital marketing professionals are experts in online awareness and can help you with this using various methods. These are usually but not limited to search engine optimization, website design and development, blogroll content, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and cybersecurity.
Protect Your Brand
If you have used a digital marketing agency for logo and brand development, they might advise you about protection. Digital protection relates to original assets such as online content, logos, slogans, and branding. These require some form of security, such as copyright and trademark. Not only does this show they are original works, but it also prevents someone from misusing them, adapting them for their use, or claiming that they are the original owners of the assets.
Expand When It’s Required
When business is good, it’s easy to get excited and eager to expand. But this can be disastrous when not timed correctly. For example, world events can have a significant impact on your business. The Covid-19 pandemic was one example that you could not have foreseen which left millions of site-based companies bankrupt. Conversely, online business has enjoyed a boom over the past two years, with an increase of 30% in April 2020 compared to April 2019.
Look After Yourself
Personal health is of paramount importance when it comes to successfully operating a company. Keeping an eye on your diet and fitness goes a long way. However, it would be best if you also took the time to look after yourself in other ways. It might be challenging to step away from management for a while, but a vacation is essential for staying energized. Wellness is a popular coping method that includes Yoga, holistic therapies, and meditation.
There is no guarantee of business success, even with the best-laid plans. However, you can try your hardest to turn any great idea into a solid business venture by applying yourself appropriately. Since 20% of startups fail in the first year, it is vital that you establish a solid foothold before thinking about expansion.
At the very least, you should establish your company around something that excites you and ignites passion. This will ensure that you don’t get bored of what you are doing and will help keep your belief in your company. From there, you can look to seek professional advice from companies such as digital markets and B2B sales consultants.
Professionals such as these are of great use when forming a solid and actionable business plan from which you can work once production begins. Of course, market analysis, trends, and competition form a large part of this, but you also need to establish an organizational system such as a management hierarchy. Further, all financial components should be detailed.
Making it past the first year requires dedication, acceptance, and compromise. Constant evaluation and adaptation are necessary, and you must put customers first. Changes to payment systems, adopting new technologies, and engaging with customers and clients through various communication methods are essential. Then you can consider expansion when necessary.