• Understand the current professional environment and how it has shifted due to COVID-19
• Consider freelancing and small business ownership as viable career paths
• Learn the ins and outs of loans for startup businesses
• Get informed on growth strategies to help your venture succeed
• Network with other professionals in the industry to gain valuable insights.
The professional world has undergone massive changes in the past few years alone. Many of these changes were partly due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the way that shifted the collective mindset. The new era of remote work, for instance, is almost a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been proven so viable at this point that it’s hard to imagine a world in which the majority of professionals are returning to the office and 2-4 hours of daily commuting.
Other significant shifts in the professional world have been occurring as well. Another good example is the attitude taken up toward freelancing and small business ownership. A mere handful of years ago, the world of freelancing was undoubtedly healthy. Still, it was primarily dominated by people just getting started in the industry or those who had already established themselves as concrete players in their space.
However, the freelancing market is a bustling and hyper-competitive space full of professionals just starting in their selected industry, mid-level professionals, and even experts. A similar trend has been seen with startups and small business ventures. The list below will take you through everything you need to know, from how to get loans for startup business to growth strategies and everything in between.
1. A Business Plan
A business plan is one of the first things you’ll need to launch your startup business. This comprehensive document sets up the foundational pillars on top of which you can build your business. Because a business plan is comprehensive, it contains several different layers of documentation.
An excellent place to start with a business plan is with the mission and vision statement. These statements help define the purpose of your business beyond making a profit and will help guide your decision-making through the planning and growth of your venture.
However, these statements tend to be a bit philosophical, so after creating this copy, you can move into more concrete pieces of the business plan, like distribution, profit margins, and initial operating expenses.
The more detailed your financials are in the business plan, the better.
Creating a business plan can be intimidating, but it’s important to remember that no one expects you to write a perfect document. A great way to get started is by using websites or templates as resources for your document. A quick internet search should bring up several business plan options; some are free!
There are also software programs specially designed to help create a business plan. These programs walk you through each process step and provide helpful tips so that your final product is polished and professional-looking. These software solutions often come with customizable templates, budgeting and forecasting tools, and access to legal services if needed. With these programs, anyone can easily create a comprehensive business plan.
2. An MVP
In the startup world, MVP doesn’t stand for Most Valuable Player as it does in the NFL, the MLB, or other sports. Instead, in the context of a startup business, MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. In other words, this is almost a minimalistic prototype that shows off the functionality and feature selling points of the startup venture’s product, service, or primary offering. The MVP is important to develop because it is a powerful proof of concept for potential investors.
By developing an eye-catching minimum viable product that will showcase the main selling points of the startup venture, you’ll more quickly be able to attract qualified investors.
Speaking of qualified investors, financing is an integral aspect of getting a startup venture off the ground. This is true from the get-go. However, before you have a track record, you’ll find it somewhat challenging to find investors willing to take a financial risk on you.
You will likely have to finance the project by yourself in the beginning stages of your startup venture. These expenses coming out of pocket can be daunting, but if you know you have a good idea, they’ll be well worth it when you’ve gained some traction with the venture.
With a fledged-out business plan, a developed MVP, and a proven track record, your startup venture will be positioned perfectly to attract high-quality investors or seek business loans.
4. A Viable Consumer Base
Like the MVP, every startup needs a proven, sustainable, and viable consumer base. If there aren’t enough people interested in the product or service you’re trying to offer, then it likely isn’t going to get off the ground.
This is where market research comes into play. Market research should also be folded into the business plan and should give you and the other founders (if there are any) a good idea of the existing market, if there is one. How valid interest will there be in the product or service you’re bringing into the space?
5. Growth Strategies
Finally, it may seem like you’re getting ahead of yourself, but you’re also going to want to plan out some growth strategies.
This can include how you plan to expand your consumer base, what secondary financing avenues you’ll consider, and even other tangential marketspaces you could eventually branch into.
A few Final Thoughts
Every startup organization is unique, but the fundamental building blocks are the same. To get a startup off the ground, consider starting with a business plan and an MVP.
You’ll have your venture on its feet in no time.
What is an MVP in the context of a startup business?
In the context of a startup business, MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. It is essentially a minimalistic prototype that shows off the functionality and feature selling points of the startup venture’s product, service, or primary offering.
What are some growth strategies for a startup?
Some potential growth strategies for a startup include expanding the consumer base, considering secondary financing avenues, and branching into other tangential marketspaces. Additionally, engaging in targeted marketing campaigns can lead to increased brand awareness and customer acquisition.
What are some components of a business plan?
Business plans typically include an executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization, and management structure, product or service offerings, marketing strategies, financial projections, and more. The business plan must be detailed enough to give investors a clear understanding of the venture.
What is the importance of finance in a startup venture?
Having adequate financing is essential for any startup venture. In the early stages, founders may have to finance their projects out of pocket. Later, when the business has gained traction and built a track record, it will become easier to attract qualified investors or seek out business loans.
How can you develop an eye-catching MVP?
When developing an eye-catching MVP, it’s essential to focus on showcasing the main selling points of your product or service offering. It should be minimalistic while still displaying all essential features and functionality so that potential investors can get a good idea of what your venture is offering. Additionally, creating high-quality visuals like videos and graphics can help with branding and make the MVP more visually appealing.
What should be included in market research for a startup?
Market research should provide detailed information on the existing market, potential customers, competitors, and trends. It is also essential to consider customer feedback to tailor your product or service offering to meet customer needs. This will help ensure enough interest in your venture and give you an idea of how it may fare against competing businesses.
How can founders prepare for pitching their startup to investors?
When pitching a startup to investors, preparation is vital. Founders should thoroughly read over their business plan and practice presenting it aloud. Additionally, they should thoroughly familiarize themselves with the venture’s product or service offering and be prepared to answer potential investors’ questions. Finally, it is important to come off as knowledgeable and confident of gaining the trust of potential backers.
What are some tips for entrepreneurs starting a startup?
When starting a startup, a few tips can help ensure success. It’s essential to stay organized, plan, conduct thorough market research, create an eye-catching MVP, build relationships with mentors and advisors who can provide guidance, focus on customer experience and satisfaction, find reliable funding sources, and prepare well when pitching your venture to investors. These steps will set up founders for success as they embark on their startup journey.