Starting a business is an exciting endeavour. This is the time when you are your own boss with the absolute power to create your own destiny. What a nice freedom to have; the sky is the limit.
Starting up means that everything about the company starts with and stops at you. You are the thinker, the strategist, the designer, the tactician, the doer and many others. Wearing so many hats can result in a disaster if not managed properly.
So, what are some of the critical things to consider before starting up? Here are the top 5 lists:
Do the founders have the right chemistry?
When you start thinking of getting a partner to venture into a new business with you, ask yourself clearly on what exactly you are creating. Come up with some decision points on the potential partner that will add value to your purpose. Always remember that you are in this for the long haul. You will be spending a lot of time engaging, discussing, debating and solving problems with your business partner. Questions such as do you share the same values, do you have complementary skills, can you agree on how to bring the best out of each other, for instance, are very crucial.
Beyond right attitude
Obviously, you need to have the right attitude. The fundamentals include being respectful, determined, confident, optimist and yet realist and many others. In fact, the best is for you to establish some common attitudes that you would like your employees to adopt.
Going deeper than the fundamental attitudes, you should be aware of the need to treat your business in the right manner. You must appreciate that your business will go through multiple stages of lifecycles – from start-up, growth, mature and consolidation; and probably another round of lifecycle if it lasts long enough. Within this specific cycle, you ought to be disciplined enough to feed your business with the right utilities, tools, infrastructure, resources and investment as required. Unless you feed your business with the right ‘ingredients’ at each stage, chances of success will be difficult.
Good product at the right time
Don’t get over excited to launch your product. You may think your product is great. Others, especially your target customers may think otherwise. For example, Microsoft launched tablet PC in 2001, much earlier than Apple. It turned out to be a failure because it was not exactly what the customers wanted.
Find the right time to launch your product. Assess the market carefully. Listen to what your target customers say. Incorporate their feedback in your product design and development effort. Be clear on your product positioning prior to your launch.
Launch your product at the right time.
Sales and marketing skill
Regardless your professional background, the most pressing skill needed for a start-up is sales and marketing. You may be the best engineer on the planet with the best product. Unless you know how to sell, your product will not get anywhere. So, it is imperative that you learn sales and marketing to a fair extent and hire the right resource to support you as needed.
Establish a funding strategy
At some point, you will need to raise money to support your start-up. There are many options available such as grants, loans, venture capital and angel investors, let alone government funded initiatives to support entrepreneurs.
While evaluating and making your selections on which path to pursue, it is important for you to get to know potential funders and build relationships with the relevant parties. Getting to know who’s who will help you to build your case; which in turn will increase the likelihood of you securing the right funders.
Have you been through the same experience? What were your key considerations then?