Anna Flockett is the editor at Startups Magazine. “Startups Magazine is a digital and print magazine helping tech startups connect the dots on their entrepreneurial journeys.” Anna is a technology and engineering journalist who has worked in both the electronics and startups industry, always on the look at for the next big thing…
The saying every idea is a good idea, is true but to an extent. Here at Startups Magazine we come across hundreds of startups every week, a lot we see go on a journey and really do make it, unfortunately it is not the case for them all.
Without stating the absolute obvious, we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, something which all of us have seen nothing alike before, so here we are going to through some top tips to consider when starting a business, and then a little side note of some top tips when considering starting a business during a pandemic – and surprisingly enough the answer isn’t don’t!
The first step
The first step when it comes to a startup is the idea, and some would say this is the most important phase. You need an idea to take the business forward, but there are some criteria to bear in mind, the idea needs to be original and different.
There is no point having an idea that has been done several times before as you are making life difficult for yourself. You need to ensure there is a market need for your idea, so doing research on this is imperative.
Maybe your idea came to you in a dream, or whilst you were showering, or you came across a problem, and the idea to solve it yourself sounds like the solution. Either way if you have this concept, you are over this first barrier.
Laying out a full plan
Once you have your idea you need to investigate and lay out a full plan highlighting who your audience will be, why there is a need for your market, what problem it will solve and how you will do this.
Research is probably one of the most important stages of starting a business, and one you will do a lot of. Whilst you probably have already done a bit of Googling, it is now that is the time to get your serious hat on and your researching brain ready. You will need to review platforms, evaluate price points and perform a competitive analysis. It is at this time that you may want to look into existing intellectual property.
This stage should not be overlooked by any business, big or small it is one of the most important things you can do to take your business off in the right direction.
Some reasons why startups fail
According to some research, some of the biggest reasons some startups fail is due to lack of planning, the absence of supplier knowledge, and various issues with pricing. But the chances of these occurring can be reduced if not eliminated with the correct and thorough research.
It can be difficult for a startup to get their foot in the door, particularly with little research being carried out, so when at these crossroads this is what you need to make sure you have under your belt:
- Customer feedback on your idea, even very early on – the earlier the better, but make sure you continue to get feedback throughout your journey. It is essential you are listening to customer needs.
- Always be clear on the problem you are solving.
- Make sure you know who your competitors are, what your USP is, and how yours differs from theirs.
- Using prototypes helps to bring your product alive – this is when it may start to feel real (a definite pinch me moment – so make sure you enjoy that!) This also makes it easier to share with potential customers and gain proper feedback.
- The Minimal Viable Product (MVP) approach is proven to be most effective. But make sure you don’t spend ages perfecting your idea, get it out to the market.
As much as advice like this can be really useful and helpful along the way, don’t worry if your journey doesn’t exactly look like this. Everyone’s journey is different, and you can still get to the same end point. If you come to a bit of a hurdle or a standstill seek some guidance and help, but always remember to trust your gut and believe in yourself.
Starting out in a pandemic?
I know these current times can be daunting and anxious for startups and small businesses, but having worked in the industry for a long time now, I have come to learn that startups are super resilient and can face almost anything that is thrown at them.
My one piece of advice for wanting to startup in the current climate would be, still go for it, just be a little warier and cautious than perhaps I would have suggested before.
Of course I would tell anyone to be prepared and cautious when first going for it, just go in aware that, in today’s world, there is a lot more to lose and there is a bigger chance of loss at the moment. But if you have the idea, the research, the support and most importantly the passion, then what are you waiting for, because, to be frank if you are waiting for ‘the perfect moment,’ often, these don’t exist.
So, honestly go for it, and enjoy every moment. Then come speak to us at Startups Magazine and we can share your story and journey with the world!
The dos and don’ts of starting up
Startups magazine have tonnes of top tips including Podcasts and youtube videos
What to read next
Start up resources for growth – Find companies to help support you
Start-up product design support – How Ignys can help start-ups