Do you have a new business in the pipeline? Don’t rush it to market.
You’ll have the best chance of succeeding by first ensuring that you have these four essentials elements in place.
Entrepreneurship is surely at an all-time high when you factor in the reach and breadth of the online world. With guides on just about any topic you can think of, communities offering newcomers free support, and convenient software solutions making everything easier, the internet continues to inspire people to pursue their professional ambitions.
Even with these advantages, though, there’s still a lot of risk inherent to starting a business. It’s all too possible to invest a lot of time, money and effort only to see the entire thing fail within months (if not weeks). If you want a good shot at succeeding, you need to cover the basics before you launch — and here are four strategies you should be prioritizing:
1. A responsive website
Every business that has any intention of picking up online attention needs a solid website in place as early as possible. There are two main reasons for this: it allows the domain to start building up trust with search engines (vital for SEO), and it provides a presence that can be used to promote the launch of the business — many brands create “Coming soon” pages.
In addition to that, though, the website needs to have a responsive design. There is simply no excuse at this point for not catering to mobile visitors, dominant as they are. Not only will a mediocre mobile experience push those visitors away, but it will also make the entire company look unprofessional at best or outright incompetent at worst.
2. A social media presence
Whether you love or hate social media (there are good reasons either way), it’s undeniably important in today’s business world. Sales are made through Twitter exchanges. Deals are negotiated via Facebook Messenger. If you don’t maintain a social media presence, you miss out on a whole virtual world of opportunities.
Furthermore, you lose the ability to influence the perception of your brand. You need everything from your pinned Tweet to your Instagram bio to define who you are and what you’re about. If those things aren’t in place, then people may form incorrect opinions about your brand — and you won’t be there to address that problem, putting you at a disadvantage as you launch.
3. A strong brand identity
I mentioned getting social media elements in place, but you can’t do that until you’ve fully defined your brand identity. What tone do you want to present? What message are you trying to send? What are the long-term goals of your business? These questions all need to be answered as soon as possible so you can proceed with confidence.
This also extends to having a set of brand guidelines covering aesthetic matters such as the fonts and the logo that should be used when people refer to your company. Even if you intend to launch as a solo operation, you may eventually want or need to hire some staff members, and they’d need to know how to match the brand style.
4. A smart growth plan
A business has to keep moving just to remain viable because it drains finances on a daily basis. Tools must be paid for, resources must be acquired, and pitches must be made — a lack of profitability can be endured for some time, but not indefinitely. And for it to actually grow, it must be in a very strong and stable position.
It’s very rare for a business launched with no plan to simply end up in such a position, but it’s tough to come up with a growth plan after launch. The problem is that it’s very hard to find the time, so it may take a long time indeed to piece something decent together — and without strong direction, the business might not survive long enough to see that happen.
You don’t need to have every last element prepared and polished before launching a new business, and it’s foolish to try for perfection — but that doesn’t mean it’s advisable to simply wing it and expect things to work out. Prepare whatever you can, launch when you think you have a solid chance, and make the best of things.
About the Author
Kayleigh Alexandra is a writer for MicroStartups, a website dedicated to helping charities and microbusinesses. After years working in the sustainability, marketing, and creative industries, Kayleigh now loves to devote her time to supporting other businesses to grow and thrive. Visit her blog or follow her on Twitter @getmicrostarted for the latest news, tips, and advice for startups and solopreneurs.