4 Essential Steps To Take Before Launching Your Startup

Whatever you've read so far on how easy it is to launch a startup overnight, just forget about it as it couldn't be further from the truth. Every project of this magnitude takes a considerable amount of time to complete.

Just take a look at movies, for example. Before they are released, they need to go through pre-production, production, and finally post-production. Ironically, the production itself only takes around a month or two to complete, and it's arguably the most important part as the actual filming takes place during this period.

However, post-production, on average, can last anywhere from six months to a full year depending on the budget of the movie in question. What's more, pre-production is even worse as it can potentially drag on for years, as was the case with James Cameron's Avatar which took almost ten years before it actually went into production. So, if you still think you have the necessary patience to launch a successful startup, then come take a look.

1. Ensure branding is done right

Before delving any deeper, you need to stop and carefully think through your own ideas, and ask yourself the following questions: What innovations do my products or services have to offer? What problems do they solve for my customers, and who exactly are my customers?

To fully answer these questions, you need to do serious market research and preferably snoop around the competition a bit. What works for them, and can it be applied to your business as well? Is it the way they talk with their clients, or the way they promote their brand, or perhaps they hold a monopoly over that particular niche?

Whatever the case may be, pick a pen and paper and write those notes down. You want to make sure that there's demand for your products or services, as well as a stable market for your brand out there. Additionally, you want to know the specific demographics of your customers in order to properly tailor your brand to their needs, and then target them later through your marketing campaigns.

2. Lay the groundwork for your startup

Creating a website to serve as your home base should be your next priority. Social media, blogs, and forums are all nice things to have but you want them to funnel all of that attention and traffic back to your homepage.

Firstly, it gives away an impression that your business is serious and professional. Secondly, with a central hub, people won't have to scavenge the internet for useful information regarding your startup. In addition, keep your design neat and clear, and the same goes for your logo. You should focus on simplifying the user experience rather than trying too hard to impress your visitors, since your website is neither an art gallery nor a peacock.

Next, you want to build a dedicated team of talented employees that will be versatile enough to cope with any challenge you throw at them. To get the cream of the crop, put them all on probation for a few months and that way you'll separate the wheat from the chaff, just don't forget to draft an employment letter for them to sign first, to avoid any unwanted legal technicalities which may arise otherwise.

Speaking of legal issues, you need to decide on the legal structure of your startup. This will determine the funds you'll be able to receive from investors and other potential sources, as well as your general liability if your business ever takes part in a legal dispute.

Sole proprietorship, partnership, corporations, and LLC are all valid options with their own pros and cons, so you may want to familiarize yourself with them a bit more and do some additional research in that regard. Also, you need to get your finances in order before you finally launch your startup. Make sure you have the necessary funds to cover all of your initial expenses, or otherwise you'll have to waste time on that later on when you should be focusing on developing and growing your startup. Investors, loans, and fund-raisers are all legit ways of gathering funds for your project. Find out which method works best for your business and keep that cash flowing.

4. Start a promotional campaign early

Last but not least, you want to start your online marketing very early on, as you need to get the word out there that there's a new sheriff in town. Choose the right social media platform for your business and engage your followers as much as you can.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have the largest user-bases but each has their own demographics and limitations. For example, Twitter consists mostly of young people and it is excellent for spreading the news and improving public relations, whereas LinkedIn has a more mature audience and is more suited for business development. Blogging is yet another thing worth considering as it is a great way to provide your target audience with quality content that will inform, educate, or entertain them. SEO, influencer and E-mail marketing strategies are all honorable mentions worth pursuing as well.

In conclusion, startups require tons of preparation before the actual launch in order to achieve success. So, follow these four steps and see your idea come to life.

Guest Author

David Webb

David Webb is a Sydney based business consultant and online marketing analyst. With six years of experience and a degree in online business strategy, he is driven to help the people in better understanding of this new digital age. In free time, David enjoys writing, travelling and occasional night out with his friends.