The answers below are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.
You should have a written marketing plan in place before starting your business. This is the most overlooked puzzle piece in modern business. You outsource your accounting and your legal, but most companies think they can do their own marketing without experience. While your business will evolve, why not get there quicker with a strategic marketing plan by a professional?
Make sure your business concept can stand out in the crowd. If you are looking for the status quo, you may run into roadblocks as you grow or just have trouble growing at all. If you are creating a product (physical or software), do some serious thinking about how you differentiate your company.
The most important thing is to find something you’re passionate about. You’ll be spending countless hours working on your company, so let it be something that excites you. Since your teammates are your supporters, find those who are like-minded and equally passionate for the greatest chance at success.
Before starting your first business, you must first realize that this is going to be a real business. Too often we see “entrepreneurs” jump into starting their own business after seeing the success of so many others. Before starting your own business, make sure you understand your audience, product, service and value to propel your brand ahead of the competition.
Trust, but verify. Doing your due diligence on the industry and the vendors you will potentially be working with and being knowledgeable about the supply and demand is of utmost importance to success. There is no way to know everything, but having a good background in the area will at least enable you to ask the right questions to get you to where you need to go.
Think about the worst thing that could happen if your business fails. Can you handle that? If yes, then consider what your exit strategy will be, work backwards to build a business plan, and set your goals to achieve your dream.
Before going all-in on your business venture, it’s essential to step back and think about whether other people will get as excited as you are. If it’s a totally new concept, how will you educate people about it, and why would they be interested? If it’s similar to existing companies, how are you different from your competitors? Do some market research to make sure the demand is there.
As a founder, you’re the champion optimist of your company. You see the big picture, where it’s going and how successful it’ll be. However, there are so many factors that are out of your control, so budget for when things don’t go according to plan. Just stay focused, be pragmatic and make it happen!
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BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.
FounderSociety is an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious founders and business owners.