The Steps You Need To Take Before Launching Your First Startup

    Launching a company is the American dream, but it comes with a lot of costs–both personally and professionally. As the first few months to a year of entrepreneurship can be some of the roughest on the books, it’s imperative you know what you’re getting into when establishing your base. However, that’s why we’ve compiled a few helpful tips on the steps you should take to get rolling. Check them out below:

    Talking With Your Friends And Family

    Startups can be pretty time-consuming. According to CNBC, the average CEO works approximately 62.5 hours per week, which is considerably different than the traditional 9-5. For this reason, it’s important to start communicating with your partner, friends, and family to discuss the schedule you’re about to begin. No matter the industry, you’re going to find the process to be full of growing pains, which is why it’s important to start an honest dialogue.

    Before you sit down with those you care about, it’s smart to talk with someone who has been in your shoes before, who can not only help you address what roadblocks you might face early but what you can possibly do to save time before you dive in. It’s also smart to address with them the type of expectations for hours you can expect, as well as what approach they would’ve taken with their loved ones before diving into entrepreneurship. When talking with your family, always make sure to be very specific with your time, including when your family can anticipate seeing you; for example, including making it a routine that you’ll always be home for dinner at 7 pm and that’s your dedicated time to family. While they aren’t easy conversations, being honest about your schedule and sticking to something that works for everyone is vital, giving you the best chance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

    Establishing A Product Market Fit

    With your personal expectations and obligations accounted for, it’s time to start thinking about where and how you’re going to sell this thing. This is often determined by your product market fit, which can be much harder to grasp for novice entrepreneurs than you might imagine. According to Fundera, 42 percent of businesses fail due to no market need, which means that either no one wanted to buy their product or they weren’t in the right place/time to make it happen. Although there are numerous other factors to account for when assessing a business’s success, the product market fit is a must-have.

    When assessing your product or service, first ask yourself what type of demographic you think would buy this and why. Remember, it’s not enough to say someone will buy something simply because you, yourself, would be a consumer of it, but rather why an entire larger sector of customers you’re a member of would. The ideal mission is to fill a void in the market by addressing a high-demand want or need. To put it simply, if your product isn’t helping, then why is it in business? No matter if your startup has always been a dream of yours, there has to be a consumer on the other end.

    Knowing How You’ll Establish Your Brand

    With a product in place, it’s time to start giving this thing life. After all, it’s not enough for a product or service to just serve a need, but feel as though it’s an integral part of our life and identity, which is where branding comes in. As noted by LucidPress, 64 percent of consumers cited shared values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand. And for your startup, capturing that same approach out of the gate is imperative.

    Before you look at any other branding as a reference, write down the general personality and vision you have for your brand. Is it fun and approachable? Serious, but secure? Whatever the case might be, this needs to be something that people can look at immediately get a good idea of what you do. For example, you wouldn’t take the branding kit of a company like ADT and assume they make cheeseburgers, but the branding kit for Five Guys is too lighthearted for a security company. It’s easy to get lost in the mix of what your competition’s branding is like as well, which is why assessing the core principles, then breaking out from there is the most efficient way for breathing fresh life to your industry while falling within what acceptable look for your brand would be.

    Covering Your Bases For Marketing

    Finally, with a brand and business established, it’s time to start going out and acquiring customers or users. Depending on if your business is b2b or b2c, your customer acquisition methods and pipeline are going to align differently. For example, a lot of b2b companies only need a couple of customers, but require quite a bit of time to get the first versus a b2c company needs a large number of customers but requires a slow build up to a bigger base. For this reason, it’s imperative you establish goals for your foundation and stick to them.

    Your goals are defined in a KPI or Key Performance Index, which is the metric you use for success. For example, if you’re a b2c app helping people find pickup soccer and basketball games and want to increase signups, your KPI would be the number of signups. KPI helps direct the mediums you should be using; advertising on Instagram with smart hashtags can reach the 71 percent of Americans on the platform.

    What are you most excited about in launching your first startup? Comment with your insights below!