Starting a business is difficult. Making that business succeed and thrive is even more difficult. In fact, nine out of ten startups fail after five years of business. While this statistic seems daunting, there are ways you can beat the odds. All you need to do is take the time to plan accordingly to ensure your company becomes a staple in your community.
Whether you’re opening a local restaurant, digital marketing company, or plumbing service, there are necessary steps you need to take in order for your startup to get off the ground. Take a look at how to make your startup the next big success story.
Create a business plan
First and foremost, you’re going to need a business plan. A business plan outlines the ins and outs of your company and tells potential investors how you plan to manage, operate, and grow your business over the years. Essential components to a solid business plan, according to the Small Business Administration, include:
- Executive summary: Tell your reader what your company is, why it will be successful, and provide information on your products and services, along with your mission statement, financial information, and high-level growth plans.
- Company description: Provide details on information about your company, the problems your business will solve, your target audience, the structure of your company, and the overall strengths of your company.
- Market analysis: Research your industry and find gaps where consumers aren’t being served. This will show your reader what your competitors’ strengths are, trends and themes in your industry, and how you can outperform your competitors.
- Organization and management: Outline the structure of your business, including the legal structure and an organizational chart with who’s in charge.
- Service or product line: Describe the products and services your company will provide and how they will benefit your customers.
- Marketing and sales: Explain your marketing approach and how you plan to attract and retain customers, along with an outline of how a sale will happen.
- Funding request: Outline your funding requirements and explain how much funding you’ll need, along with information on what the funding will be used for.
- Financial projections: Convince your readers with a prospective financial outlook for the next five years to convince funders and investors that your business will be stable and a financial success.
To get your startup off the ground, you’re going to need adequate capital. Startup costs will vary depending on your industry and business. However, it’s essential you outline how much everything will cost, including utilities, rent, employee salaries, equipment, and overhead. This will ensure you’ll be able to operate smoothly without a lack of finances throwing a wrench in your startup plans.
Some ways to secure funding is by appealing to investors, such as venture capitalists, to buy into your company. Or, you can start a crowdfunding campaign and have friends, family, and community members make donations to your project. Business loans are another option to provide capital for startup costs.
Invest in the right tools
Once you have your plan in writing and finances secured, it’s time to begin investing in the necessary tools for your startup to run smoothly and boost efficiency. Take a look at some tools that can help your startup succeed:
- Cloud computing: All businesses use some type of technology in this day and age. Cloud computing software will allow you to store documents, files, and information across multiple devices that allow staff to access information from any remote device.
- Property and casualty solutions: Protect your business with property and casualty solutions that automate each step in claims handling, whether employee compensation claims for collision repair claims for fleet drivers.
- Social media management software: Automate your social media posts and engage with your audiences across multiple platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with a social media management tool like Hootsuite.
- Email marketing tools: Keep your customers in the know by creating email campaigns with services like MailChimp to send newsletters, product information, and promotions, and discounts.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) tools: Use CRM tools to keep track of customer information and sales. Use this information to improve relations with your customers, gain leads, and make more sales.
Create a website
To reach a broader audience, you’re going to need to create a website. As you know, whenever anyone needs something, they pull out their smartphone and Google it. With a website, you’ll be able to focus on search engine optimization and digital marketing to make your business’s website rank toward the top of search results. Then, when someone searches, “bakery near me,” your company website will pop up first and bring more customers through your door.
A website is an integral part of any business, so make sure you or a website developer creates a place for customers and potential customers to browse your products and services and come in contact with you.
Getting your startup up and running takes a lot of time and effort. While these components merely scratch the surface, they serve as excellent starting blocks to get your company off the ground. Good luck!