Following is a list of steps you may want to keep in mind along the way of making your startup get off the ground from its initial idea to its successful opening day.
Where is this Going
While it takes a lot of energy to begin and keep a startup going it is just as important to know where you are going when you get started, which means the founder of a startup needs to have a clear idea of what they want to accomplish.
Document your plans
It is said that some startup gurus after getting their startup idea launch in action, but there is a step that precedes action, which is documenting what you are going to accomplish. There may be changes later and you can always go back and look at your plans to see what is changing and why. Startup owners document everything they do because they understand that the paper trail is very important. If later you have to backtrack to do troubleshooting you want to make find out where the critical decision was made that either got you and your team off track or catapulted you to the next level.
Can we afford this?
Unless you have a rich Uncle who is financing your startup it is always good to sit back and look at how much you can afford at each step of your plan. It’s cool if you want to build a new playground in the neighborhood like none other, but at least after looking squarely at how much money you have to cover your building cost, you may have to stop your project in mid-course. Know your finances and always be ready to move forward.
Get the clearances you need
Depending upon what project you want to begin as your startup idea you will be working with other people who will require documentation, codes, and permits to be filled out before research, construction, and foundations are made. In other words, if you can find free legal counsel to make sure you are legally clear to move forward with human cloning or pasting pictures of photos of every top artist on your T-shirt factory inventory, get the proper permissions first.
Proceed with Caution
Suppose you want to start a coat hanging service and you want to name it “Coat a Coola,” which may sound too similar to “Coke a Cola,” pass it before the government agencies that deal with Trademarks. Registering a name is an important part of your startup, but not a the expense of sounding too similar with a big competitor. Registering your company with the IRS is a good step in getting ready to understand your ta responsibilities with the professional people at the IRS. They are there as a public service and to instruct you in good business practices.
Ouch! Let’s Look at that!
While you are working with your team make sure you are insured to cover any liability issues your team may suffer as being hurt while engaged in helping with your project. Being properly covered will lighten your burden just in case an accident happens and will set you back and offset your plans to accomplish your goals on time. You can find many insurance companies that will work with business according to your means and would enjoy sitting down with you to hear about your plans and what you need to cover your team with a policy that works best for you. The important thing is to do a little research and get you and your team covered before you begin your actual startup work.
A Team that Works Together
At one point you will seriously begin inviting others to join you in your effort to accomplish your startup goals and to find the right people that will have similar hopes to accomplish these things with you. Ask a few questions about the kind of people you want to have working with you. Some of the major startups have very strict requirements they set before they give the name “team member” to a newbie. Of course, you can decide that and your team will accept the team members you choose, but at the same time if you are looking for certain qualities share that with your human resource manager if you will not be doing the hiring.
We Need this, but not this!
Every startup has to decide what products they will make and what products they will not make. If you are making something scratch, then you may need base chemicals or compounds, parts, paints, and fasteners. Whatever those needs are that will help you to put your product together will need to come from a vendor or supplier. Choosing the suppliers or vendors for your production line is as important as the people who will be putting your product together because they will both represent your product. Know your vendors and suppliers before you make your first order. Do your vendors come with good recommendations? Are they fair and dependable suppliers? An assembly line cannot wait for the supplier to arrive; in other words, supplies should already be in the warehouse before production is underway.
Read all about it!
Your products are on the shelf in the warehouse but no one has heard of you. That could be a big problem. As the head of your startup, you are responsible for letting potential customers know not only about who you are, what you do, and especially how your new “thingamajig” will make their life so much better than it is now. You will need to use marketing to get your product to the attention of others. Are you branding yourself in the niche that is appropriate for your product, then your potential customers will need to see that in your advertising before the product gets to them. Savvy startups send out their product to have them reviewed before they hit the market to get professional feedback. This may be a route for you and your team.
Wow, you’re on the way!
Your first sales are coming in and you see a growing interest brewing for your product especially among specific demographics. Now it is time for you and your team to push your product to as many potential customers as possible. In other words, it is time to grow your business. Congratulations, now grow, grow, grow.