If you’ve decided that you’re going to launch a startup in 2017, then you are in for one hell of an exciting year. However, before you get started, there are a lot of things to get hammered out. It’s these details that can mean the difference between ending 2017 as a success or finding yourself back at square one.
As you launch your startup, you number one asset is going to be knowledge. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to overcome any challenges. Keep reading to learn 9 things you should know to build a great startup in 2017.
Creating a Detailed Budget is Key
Many entrepreneurs assume that they don’t need to concern themselves with budgeting unless funding is a concern. Nothing could be further from the truth. Having a budget has nothing to do with having a lack of funds. It simply guarantees that your money is well managed and that you can easily track where your costs are and where your income is at as well.
This information will be absolutely vital in times of growth as well as times when you must pare things down and operate in cost savings mode.
Launching Without Understanding Your Competition Can Kill You
Conducting a competitive analysis is not an option. You absolutely must have an understanding of competitors and potential competitors before you open your doors. This means identifying who you will be going up against, analyzing their products, determining who their customers are and how they are reaching those customers.
Doing this will help you to identify customer groups they have not targeted, and other opportunities they have left open for you to exploit. It will also help you to understand where they have hemmed up the market up too tightly to make your efforts (at least initially) worthwhile.
Be Prepared For The Impact of an Unstable Political Climate
Regardless of what your political leanings are, it is important to keep in mind that 2017 is going to be impacted by a tumultuous post-election climate. Depending on the industry you are in, your target customer base, even your geographical location, this could impact your first-year viability. In some cases, you could be faced with extra challenges.
Alternatively, you might see some opportunities. Whatever the case may be, this will be a year where paying attention to news developments and being ready to pivot quickly is going to be quite important.
Creating Barriers to Entry is Extraordinarily Important
While it’s important to understand the barriers to entry that you will be facing, you must also quickly identify barriers to entry that you can establish for potential competitors. By squaring away exclusive deals with suppliers and retailers, being first to market in a specific space, and simply establishing high standards, you can make it that much more difficult for other startups to come behind you and get establish a foothold.
If you plan to seek out VC funding, you must be able to demonstrate what you have done to establish barriers to entry. If not, potential investors will worry that you could be disrupted.
Your Ability to Tell Your Story Will be Your Greatest Marketing Asset
Once you launch, in fact before you launch, your focus will be on branding and build an audience. The best way to navigate this path is through a well thought out content marketing campaign. This is where telling the story of your brand, your services, and your products will serve you best.
The way to do this is to create compelling content that lets people get to know you, your team, and your products. This is what will help you to establish that important bond with your audience that is important for initial growth. If creating content is a struggle, you can ask for help some writing services like get good grade that you can use to connect with your audience.
You Have to Think Like a Venture Capitalist
Unless you are extremely well-heeled or are in a rare situation where you can successfully launch your business on your own, you will eventually need funding from external sources. This may be to start your business or to grow it once you have successfully launched.
If you’ve never pitched to venture capitalists before, it is important to know that they will have plenty of questions about decisions you have made and actions you have taken both before and after your launch. Because of this, you have to learn to think like an investor. Before you making a decision relating to your business, imagine justifying that decision at a VC pitch six months into the future.
It is Imperative That You Take Advantage of Existing Support And Infrastructure
One key point that entrepreneurs forget is that coming up with a new product or service does not obligate you to come up with the entire infrastructure to use to get that product or service to market. In fact, attempting to do so is usually quite foolish, a bit like inventing the car and then ignoring the roads and highways that have already been built.
Try to establish partnerships and agreements with existing brands that have done the legwork of establishing the infrastructure that you can leverage. Then, avail yourself of the support resources that are available to you. Consider using sources such as the Small Business Administration, your local chamber of commerce, even hives, and workspaces that have been established for newly-minted startups.
You Must Legally Protect Yourself And Your Ideas
It may be difficult to find room in your budget when you are launching a startup, but getting advice from a lawyer on protecting yourself and your team is not optional. Good legal advice is a must as you seek to draw up articles of incorporation, legally define roles within your team, protect your intellectual property, and otherwise ensure that you and your company are legally protected.
Don’t assume that incorporation is something that can wait until next year. Don’t assume that handshakes and verbal agreements are all that you will need to protect your brand or your role in your new company.
Make Sure You Are Ready For The Rigors of Launching a Startup
There are absolute geniuses whose efforts at launching startups crash and burn. Then, there are people who don’t seem to be outstanding in any way whatsoever who become absolutely successful. What gives?
Successful entrepreneurs need more than intelligence and great ideas. They need self-discipline, mental toughness, even physical endurance. Your bad habits, failure to take care of small health issues, and other issues may not seem like huge roadblocks now, but they can be in the midst of your launch.
Are you up for the task of working 12 to 16 hour days? Can you deal with the stress of money issues, supervisory responsibilities, operational crises, and more? Don’t launch until you are physically and mentally tough enough to handle it. Then, be sure that the team you bring along with you is also up to this challenge.
Could 2017 be the year for you to finally launch that amazing startup? There’s no doubt it is a possibility. After all, there will certainly be plenty of other entrepreneurs who are able to successfully get their new businesses off the ground over the next twelve months. Unfortunately, there will also be more entrepreneurs who see things crash and burn.
Your trick to landing in the former category is simply knowledge along with a willingness to work hard. Do this, and you could end 2017 sitting at the helm of a growing startup.