It’s a terrifying statistic that anyone who has ever considered launching a new business is familiar with: in the first 18 months, 8 out of 10 businesses fail.
With a 20% chance at success, many professionals choose to stay the course and to skip out on starting the business they’ve dreamed of. Don’t want to fall into that category? Follow the steps below to ensure that you fall into that 20% and launch a successful business from the start.
Develop a Solid Business Plan
Without a plan, any effort in life is likely to fail. When actions are not determined by a plan, they are usually haphazard and unsuccessful – a business is no different.
To develop a business plan, consider the following questions:
- What is the product or service my business will provide? Is there a unique market for it?
- What is my overall goal for my business? What steps can I follow that lead in that direction?
- Who do I need to make my dream a success?
- What tools or investments do I need to get my business off the ground?
- What is my mission in this endeavor?
The answers to these questions will help in creating an actionable business plan that puts the pieces in place for success.
Look for Ways to Keep Costs Low
As a new business owner, costs should always be a concern. If something takes up too many resources, it can hinder the rest of the business and its potential for long-term growth. This is one of the biggest errors many individuals launching a business make.
You should always look for ways to reduce overall costs. Keep an eye out for lower deals on needed pieces of equipment and tools, explore new options that might not be “traditional,” and don’t stay with a single dealer just because you have a relationship. Your business should always come first. Another great tactic for reducing costs is overestimating everything in your budget; this gives you room to work with. It’s a lot to think about. Because of this, it might be worth your while to invest in a cost management company, especially if you’re not the most skilled person at budgeting or finding bargains. These companies have expertise in optimizing budgets and can help to keep costs low, especially in the startup phase.
Put a Marketing Strategy that Incorporates Sales in Place ASAP
A business cannot get moving until a sale is made. Sales generally depend on solid marketing strategies. This means that, from the beginning, lead generation and conversion along with customer retention must be priorities.
Create a marketing plan that focuses on sales; funnel systems that can be put into action, tested, measured and adjusted are critical.
In many cases, new business owners focus on branding and other aspects of a business launch instead of sales because they don’t want to reach out until the offering is perfect. In an ideal world, this would be great. However, because resources are being used from the start, this leads to a cash-flow problem that can shut a business down before it gets off the ground. Focusing on leads keeps the conversation moving and the potential for sales alive, even while the branding effort is taking place.
No one is ever done learning. Unfortunately, too many business owners let their preconceived notions and ideas take the forefront, assuming they know all there is to know about their market spaces and target customers.
Make learning a priority. Take the time to research your market space. Set Google Alerts to follow news and trends that may affect your business. Put time into learning about your target market – online focus groups, polls to your email list and other endeavors could provide needed insight to take your business to the next level. Make a commitment to continue to learn going forward.
Working with established companies – from the start – to promote your business will help in creating meaningful, useful relationships and in spreading awareness for your new brand.
Look for complimentary companies – wineries for new restaurant owners, bloggers for online companies, sports clubs for sports apparel and so on. Reach out and start a relationship. Offer special services for their customers and ask to take part in upcoming events. By building exposure, you’ll have a better opportunity to spread your company’s message and to build upon the success of established companies.
You can be a part of the successful 20%. It doesn’t have to be impossible. Start with the steps above to launch your business successfully.
This guest post is courtesy of Leah Rutherford.