Getting your business off the ground is one of the hardest things you can do as an entrepreneur. Once you’re up and running, you can make any number of adjustments to alter your core strategy, but actually starting off is difficult. The hard truth is that around 20% of startups end up being dissolved within their first year of operation, so getting through that initial year with your business plan intact is impressive. Luckily, there’s lots you can do to influence whether or not you succeed. Here are 10 ways to get your business off the ground.
1. Get Your Funding First
You won’t be able to make much headway into getting your business off the ground if you don’t have funding. Small business loans are available from many governments, so you may be able to pursue this avenue. If you can’t, then you can always ask friends and family to help you out, or perhaps even dip into your personal finances. Business loans eluding you? Why not try taking out some quick loans on a personal basis and using them as funding for your idea?
2. Write a Killer Business Plan
Investors, lenders, and anyone else involved in the process of starting your business with you are all going to want to see your business plan. This is, in essence, the most important element of your operation, at least in the initial stages. It’s what will guide you when you make your decisions and it’s what you’ll live by when times get tough. That’s why it’s important to get it right the first time; while you can always iterate and change things, a solid basis is the key to any successful business.
3. Determine Your Core Service or Product
As part of your business plan, you should think carefully about exactly what kind of service or product you’re going to offer. This will be at the centre of everything you do as a business; it’s your reason for existing. What are you offering? Is it something lots of other businesses are offering? If so, what differentiates you from the pack? How will you set yourself apart? By knowing what your core service is and defining it early on, you’re giving yourself a very important identity.
4. Create an Unassailable Brand Identity
Your brand identity is a vital element of your business. Once you know your core service and you have a business plan in place, it’s time to start telling people who you are, and that’s where branding comes in. Branding extends to every element of your operation; it’s your graphic design, the text that appears on your website, and the way you present yourself to customers, among other things. Creating a killer brand means sitting down, carefully considering what your business is all about, and summing it up in a slogan, a graphic, or a sentence.
5. Keep Your Day Job…for Now
One of the best ways you can get your business off the ground is to keep your day job, at least for the time being. If you’re able to handle the stress of juggling a regular job and running a business on the side, you’ll be at a massive financial advantage. There’s also the benefit of potentially building an important network of people who could help you when times get tough. Remember: keep your friends close when it comes to starting a business.
6. Keep an Open Mind
If you’re trying to implement your core idea and nothing is sticking, it might be time to start thinking about an alternative core service, or perhaps branching out into something adjacent. Keeping an open mind is what differentiates true entrepreneurs from dilettantes. If a product or service opportunity presents itself, don’t reject it just because it doesn’t closely resemble your original idea. You never know – you might happen upon an even better business model!
7. Keep Your Customers Satisfied
There’s a good reason why all great businesses keep customers front and centre of their strategies. It’s because customers can make or break any operation, no matter how successful it may otherwise be. Emphasise excellent customer service in your business plan and always deal with customer enquiries promptly and efficiently. If you can keep your customers happy, then it doesn’t matter if your business is innovative; offering a better service than others is a valid way to establish yourself.
8. Know Your Demographic
It’s going to be hard to start up a business if you don’t know who your customers are. Market research is a critical component of any business strategy; you can’t be all things to all people, no matter what your core service is, so you need to know who your audience is. To find this out, conduct regular email surveys of your customers and ask them to tell you a little about themselves. Don’t be too intrusive, but do try and gather vital demographic data: age, rough location, other hobbies, and other similar stats are all useful.
9. Enjoy Yourself
Getting a business off the ground is very difficult if you and your employees aren’t sufficiently motivated. If your workplace is a grind and neither you nor your staff are happy to be there, ask yourself why that might be. Are you fostering a negative workplace environment? You could be doing so without even realising it. Talk to your staff and conduct regular self-assessments to make sure you’re keeping positivity and happiness in everything you do as a CEO.
10. Be on Social Media
Businesses should be on social media. If you don’t have a strong social media presence (and not having one isn’t part of your brand), then you should be asking yourself why. Apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook are all integral to building your brand up; you can take the pulse of various different demographics on these apps, update people on what you’re doing, and take part in community discussions and challenges. Social media is critical for online marketing as a business!