Startup always sounds exciting.
New ideas. Butterflies in the stomach! The desire to do something new.
Starting small, growing everyday and weaving dreams of making things big. Perhaps in time get funded and acquired as well!
But dreams can only take you so far. For turning these ideas and thoughts into reality, one needs to put in some real hard work. There’s got to be a plan that needs to have a checklist. The best to-do lists are those that covers a start-to-end plan and gets into the details of how to reach the targets.
To make things simple, we have a Ten Step startup checklist to make sure you start on the correct foot.
It is important to understand from the very first day that a startup can only be successful if it is making money. But simply earning is never enough because in this digital age there is no such thing as a loyal customer. One can easily buy something from you and forget you – after all you are just a tab in someone’s browser with dozens others!
Plan a subscription system – make sure your customers pay you monthly. The subscription amount can be low, it does not matters. If you are able to generate paying customers then you are already on the right path. In time, simply focus on scaling.
Getting leads is always crucial. Your business can only move forward if you are having enough leads. However, internet is such a place that people forget easily. If you get a lead and do nothing about it for some time and then suddenly you send him and email – guess what the prospect will think about you – (Why am I getting this email?)
The only solution here is to setup an Auto Responder Series. It might cost you some funds to get a 15 to 20 Email auto-responder series but in time it will become a path for the lead to qualify as a sale and perhaps even be a loyal paying subscriber!
A Business has many sides. There are people who are best known for sharing content, there are other who like to buy things but don’t want to commit as a paying subscriber. Others are simply people who like to read your content but does not want to take any action. Yet some others only reply back and send you feedback.
People can be categorised based on locations, interests, festival or events. Someone interested to buy Christmas toys might not be necessarily interested in buying winter clothing. If you have a separate landing page for as many things as possible, you can catch as many type of leads as well.
People always like freebies. It is easy to catch members with free stuff, giveaways and contests etc. Once you have them, let them enjoy their free and yet limited membership. Keep the basic features free due to which they won’t leave you and from time to time, throw some paid offers at them.
Every paid offer will get a few conversions and your pool of paid members will keep rising.
If you are looking for genuine feedback then perhaps Crowd Speaking is your best option. Before starting your business it is important to know if there is enough demand of your services in the market. You should be sure if people are genuinely interested in what you are trying to sell. It is easy for people to give you a positive feedback but the same people won’t give you a tweet, like or a share on their social timelines.
With crowd speaking, you can ask your followers and friends to support you on the social media. If you manage enough support then your idea has a good future, if not – then I guess it is time to start re-evaluating!
Once your mind makeup is done and you are confident into getting in an online business, it is time to secure your brand names. Register your domain, then with the same domain name register on as many social sites as you can. Start with – Twitter, facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and so on. The more the better – even if they are small social sites, don’t hesitate to register your brand name. Better you have it than someone else!
Once your domain and social names are ready, it is time to get a web hosting. Even a cheap single hosting account will do and in time when your business will grow you can upgrade to one of the strong VPS plans or perhaps even go for a Dedicated Server.
Your website and your apps will take time to get ready – but that shouldn’t keep you waiting. While your technical team is working around your business, you can start working on your blog. It is easy to add some content, perhaps one or two blog post a week and keep it active.
Do note that having a blog isn’t just about adding content – it is also about having a community. Building a community around your blog will create a loyal readership base, these same people will be your first customers when you launch your business.
There are some places on the internet, like Quora, Reddit, Steemit Niche forums etc. where the activity is very high. If you are active in a place like this, you can contribute your answers and once in a while – drop a link from your website where it’s relevant.
To do this, you have to build up a really strong following – have plenty of followers, contribute great content over a period of time. All this takes time, so while your business is getting ready – use the meantime to build up a profile on a few of these networks.
Now that you are really close to starting a business, it is important that you start looking into others who are in your space. Check the sort of customer feedback they have – look up their reviews on blogs and social sites … check their site’s SEO and link profile. See how they add content on their blogs and how they catch leads. Check into their advertisements that they run on Adwords and other platforms.
Business is always a serious thing, there’s money involved! Do a thorough analysis and see how your competitors are going.
Finally, it is time to get things started. You want to have a launch pad for your business, you need funds, customers, sales and so many things. This is where crowd funding can help you get started.
Remember, crowd funding isn’t about raising money – it is about building a loyal base of customers who are going to test drive your product even before you have started manufacturing! These are the people who will pre-order what you are planning to make. You might not reach enough people at your first attempt, perhaps you won’t even recover the money that you are going to spend in the Crowd Funding promotions. But that is still all right as you will have at least some customers on your launch day.