When it comes to startups, it’s a glass half-full/glass half-empty situation. New businesses are started on a daily basis, and about 50 percent of these new ventures will succeed. But that means that about 50 percent of them will fail, too.
If you intend to be one of the half-million new businesses in the near future, it will pay to take a moment and consider what you can do to improve your chances of being one of those that succeed.
Start with a clear goal
What defines your business? What service(s) or products do you provide? What makes you different from everyone else, especially those who offer similar products or services? Simply providing excellent customer service and low prices or utilizing business practices that respect the environment is not enough. What makes you stand out from other businesses in your industry?
Know your purpose
The goal of making money isn’t enough to drive your business to success. Consider why it is important that the world have access to your services, what ideal it is that your business or your customers will be able to serve as a result of you doing what you do. When you know your underlying – or higher – purpose and you share it, you not only build your brand but you also increase loyalty among customers.
Know your customer
Of course, everyone’s life would be better if they had access to your products or services, but since it is far too costly to market to every group, which one will benefit the most from knowing about your business? When you hone in on your customer base, you create a target that enhances your marketing choices and makes your business more effective.
Double-check the numbers
You may be doing everything else right, but if your accounting is off, you could end up with a failed business before you have a chance to get your products or services in front of the people who need them most. In some cases, even if you have a great idea and the ability to reach a large customer base and create a strong brand, if the costs outweigh the profits, you’ll need to either make some changes – or move on to the next idea.
Create a solid plan
It’s exciting when the ideas for a business and all its details begin circulating in your head, but before you put anything into action, you’ll need to think through every cost and every marketing choice – on paper. Writing out everything from the developmental process to the first year of business to when you expect to break even and then turn a profit will help you to stay focused and recognize the red flags if you’re starting to go off track.
The economy is ripe for new ideas and new services, and there is no reason why your business can’t be one of the success stories. It doesn’t have to be a huge gamble, however. Take your time, plan things out, and be flexible – and realistic – as you take the first steps in your new startup venture.