Story written and provided by Gloria Martinez, founder of WomenLed.org.
While great business ideas are common, relatively few people turn their ideas into a lucrative startup. Some may simply never materialize into full-on businesses while others may fail during the initial set-up. If you want to put yourself (and your idea) on the path of entrepreneurial success, be sure to avoid common startup missteps as well as implement a few tried-and-true strategies. Keep reading to learn how to turn your great idea into a successful startup.
Design Your Office
While startups can fail for a number of reasons, one of the most common is a lack of focus and/or motivation on the part of the entrepreneur. Designating a specific place in your home for work can facilitate concentration, limit distractions, and keep you organized. By having all your work in one place, you will also eliminate the need to move materials between spaces. Consider designating a room in your home exclusively for your office. If possible, this room should have adequate natural light to help keep you energized and reduce eye strain. While you may be hesitant to invest in your office space before your business is off the ground, doing so could make the difference between startup success and failure. Quality office equipment can help motivate you to get to work and stay at work. Investing in a comfortable chair, large desk, and quality computer can help you take your startup to the next level.
Make a Business Plan
While you may think you have the majority of startup logistics organized, it often helps to develop a formal business plan. This plan will also be highly beneficial if you need to apply for a business loan. A startup business plan can help you outline your brand, objectives, finances, and operation processes. This process will likely require you to identify your business’s strengths and weaknesses, thereby preparing you to communicate these to investors, customers, and clients. While this document will certainly change and develop over time, it can be a useful tool to keep yourself (and any other staff) accountable for business objectives. Don’t know where to start? There are dozens of free, online business plan templates designed especially for startup entrepreneurs like you.
Develop a Brand
Developing a business brand is one of the most important steps for any startup. Brand development requires individuals to identify a key market, learn more about it, and establish an overall business identity. Is your business fun? Conservative? Elegant? Tech-oriented? You decide! This is also a great opportunity to identify market competitors and determine how to differentiate yourself. Having an effective brand is incredibly important, because your brand will help you obtain clients. If your brand does not speak to your market, clients will not be incentivized to do business with you. A strong brand also helps establish the brand loyalty that leads to referrals and repeat customers.
Key brand identifiers include your logo, website, fonts, and color palette. If you are not a graphic designer or skilled SEO web designer, consider reaching out to a professional. Freelancers are a great option for startup businesses trying to develop a brand on a budget. Freelancing boards such as Upwork allow individuals and businesses to search thousands of qualified professionals in the fields of design, website construction, and marketing. You set your price, describe what you’re looking for, and wait for freelancers to contact you. There are also freelancers who can work with you to develop a complete brand.
Starting a business is an incredibly exciting time – not only will you be your own boss, but you will have the opportunity to completely design your own company. If you want to ensure your startup is a success, try implementing some of the techniques mentioned above. Best of luck on your startup journey!