A Guide to Starting a Startup

We live in an unrivaled age of entrepreneurs, and in the marketplace of ideas, there’s room for virtually any business you can imagine. The problem is that there’s often a gulf between the ideal and the reality. Fortune.com points out that 90% of all startups fail. So how can you ensure your business survives and thrives as one of the unlikely 10%? By building it from the ground up with this quick guide.

Find and Refine Your Niche

According to data from CBS Insights, the number one reason for startup failure is a lack of market need. Never underestimate the importance of quality market research. This is not Field of Dreams. You can’t simply assume that if you build it, they will come. The products that last identify pain points in an area where the founding entrepreneur has significant personal experience and expertise before coming up with products and services that build on existing solutions in novel ways. Edison didn’t actually invent the lightbulb, but he was the one who made it a commercial success.

Get To Know Your Customer

Conducting customer profiling is part and parcel of understanding market needs. It’s also a great way of taking the preliminary steps towards launching your product. Nowadays, most entrepreneurs will conduct online research around their chosen niche, leveraging the power of keywords research tools, social media and forum discussions to get a read on public need for their products and/or services. You can’t afford to miss out on key in-person surveys. These can be a great way of trialing a minimum viable product in a public space where you would expect to find a high proportion of your ideal customers.

Analyse The Competition

Looking at what other people are doing in your space is also a great way of helping you decide where you want to take your business. Who is the competition? What are they selling? Where are they located? How much are they charging? Having concrete answers for all of these things will help your firm up your own market positioning and start to gain a competitive advantage.

Get A Foothold In The Market

After conducting these three rudimentary steps, you’re ready to take your first strides into the marketplace. In the age of online search, you need to launch a website and social media pages to generate some hype around your new brand. On a more physical level, you want to investigate establishing premises.

Choosing a location can be a make or break moment for any fledgling business. Wherever you are in the world, it can really pay to take the time to look into specific location factors (funding opportunities, customer bases, and rental prices) across different cities to see if there’s somewhere that’s already a great fit for your business. It’s no secret that businesses in the USA flock to New York, Atlanta, and Silicon Valley.

This is noticeably truer in the UK, where London remains the center of the known business universe. Choosing London may give you access to an unrivaled cosmopolitan customer base, and some of the private office space London has to offer is complete with desk and chairs that provide the perfect workspace.

Passion Is Almost As Important As Reason

Establishing a startup is as much an art as a science. It’s important to be objective and reactive when conducting market research and deciding what you’re going to sell. But beyond these pragmatics, you need to have a real belief in your brand’s staying power. Passion is that little extra something, that je ne sais quoi that lifts your brand onto a different level. All the best big brands (Microsoft, Apple, Google) have this in droves, and it’s clear in everything they do. It’s a little bit of this that gives your startup the lifeline to help keep it intact where another nine have fallen.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that win. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog, Entrepreneur-Resources.net.

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