Everything starts with a great idea, and while you may be excited about a genius concept you’ve come up with, there’s more to starting a business than just the first light bulb.
However, the idea is indeed what’s most important as a foundation. Everything else requires some good financial decision making, foresight, and smart planning.
Here are a few tips on how to launch a startup without going broke and nurturing your seed of an idea to maturity:
1. Have a social media plan
Social media is absolutely essential in this day and age along with a great website. Working with professionals to establish your basic layout along with social media buttons is important, and you can use Website Design by Designhill to do so cost effectively.
With so many smaller businesses today requiring design services, using a company like Designhill is a more flexible way to get the final result you want without going bankrupt. When you’re configuring your website design, you also need to keep social media in mind. Buttons are essential, and by integrating this aspect from the beginning, you won’t waste time and money later to correct it.
You also need to know your platforms. Tweak Your Biz recommends knowing the differences between the sites you’re using, citing that what works on Facebook won’t necessarily fit a different social media account like Twitter. There’s a lot of free publicity and visibility by utilizing these networks in a smart way, as long as you plan ahead.
“Social media is not just an activity; it is an investment of valuable time and resources. Surround yourself with people who not just support you and stay with you, but inform your thinking about ways to WOW your online presence” – Sean Gardner
2. Plan, prioritize, save
Time management is a skill that you’re constantly told is an asset as a manager or employee within a larger organization, but don’t underestimate its value for startups. The fact of the matter is that it’s hard to plan your time effectively, especially when you’re busy.
Entrepreneur advises to prioritize and address only what matters to continue movement in your business. This is a deceptively simple tip, but it’s very easy to get bogged down in the day to day issues and problems that arise when you’re trying to get a startup off the ground. This is especially true if you already have another job or a busy family life, and you’re in the midst of juggling responsibilities in addition to the ones associated with launching a new business.
One tactic is to try using a digital calendar that you can fit all of your appointments in or cross-referencing your schedule with e-mail. For example, Google offers lots of free tools to assist with time management, and it’s common nowadays for even the most senior level business executives to use them.
These tools have become widespread, and have even taken the place of more costly, less integrated systems of yesteryear like Microsoft Outlook. This is also an example of when you should be using products that are offered for free. Google also offers a lot of free tools that you’ll find useful for a startup, such as a free basic analytics tracker, social media, and financial solutions that can help you prioritize and manage your time effectively.
3. Don’t depend on investors
Investors are nice to have, but don’t let that be the ingredient that means success or failure. If you can get backers, that’s great, but remember that many entrepreneurs can’t and still start their own companies. As you draw up your business plan, take this into account, and don’t assign phantom dollars where they don’t exist.
There’s also no reason to scrap your business idea just because you don’t have the startup capital you think you need. Reconfigure the scope of your plans and try slashing unnecessary costs. For example, if you planned to rent office space, you’re getting ahead of yourself. Real estate is expensive, and having a home office will more than suffice in the early stages of your startup. Aim to have enough of your own capital to get the business off the ground and let it grow.
4. Know how to market
Getting your content and products referenced by major media outlets might seem like a good idea. However, Entrepreneur advises not to waste time trying to get the attention of major news outlets if your core audience isn’t related to theirs.
For example, if you have an online store that deals in vintage clothing, there’s no point in trying to get a popular tech blog to pick up the story. Even if you get mentioned in a high visibility publication, as Entrepreneur contributor Adam Callinan writes, the traffic won’t result in customer conversions.
Launching a startup is a lot of hard work, but it’s not impossible. Always remind yourself of that first “aha” moment you had and why you began down the entrepreneurial path in the first place.