Launching a startup is a unique experience for everyone. There’s no one right way to do it. But there are some tips and common mistakes that can give your startup the best possible chance for success. Below you’ll find entrepreneurial startup advice that may help with your future ventures.
Entrepreneurial Startup Advice to Remember
Build an Audience First
One of the biggest mistakes that startups make, according to Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, is jumping into launching a product or service too quickly. With all of the online platforms and tools available today, it’s easier than ever to build a network of potential customers prior to actually launching.
Find a Niche that Fits with Your Interests and Expertise
Building an audience around a potential startup means you’ll need to have a niche and target market. There are any number of ways to find a niche. But the ones that are likely to sustain an actual business are those that actually interest you while also fitting with your unique skills and expertise.
Use Social Platforms to Learn About Your Audience
Social platforms can be incredibly useful in building your audience as well as gathering information that may help you cater your offerings to that audience. Find and follow relevant leaders in your field and share content that’s relevant to your audience. Then seek out and listen to feedback from your network.
A crucial part of using social platforms to build a business is creating actual relationships. Don’t just post links or updates about your own activities. Interact with others in your field and respond when people ask you questions or offer feedback. Over time, you can develop real relationships with people that may help with your future business endeavors.
Become a Go-to Expert in Your Field
The goal when building your online audience should be to position yourself as a leader in your area of expertise. People should think of you when they have a question that has anything to do with your niche.
Tilt Your Focus to Make it Unique
As you work to build your audience, you should also work on honing your niche. A general area of focus isn’t always enough when you go to launch products or services. So find an angle that helps you stand apart from others in your industry.
Establish a Primary Content Channel
Part of becoming a leader in your field means sharing content that fits with your niche. While it’s great to post links and interact with people on social media, starting a blog, YouTube channel or newsletter can allow you to share even more of your expertise with potential clients or customers.
Build a Subscriber Base
Once you have that primary channel, you need to really focus on building a list of subscribers, or people who continually go to you for the information you provide.
Diversify Your Delivery Channels
While it’s important to focus on creating quality content for your primary blog or channel, you can also post or repurpose content to other channels as well. This gives you a better chance of reaching even more people to build your audience prior to launching products or services.
Write a Book or Infoproduct
To really solidify your positioning as a leader in your field, try writing a book or creating some kind of infoproduct to offer the people in your audience. This may actually serve as one of the products for your business. Or it could just be a way to build your reputation before launching an actual startup.
Be Patient with Your Growth
Building an audience can be a long process. But doing so can make actually launching your startup a much better experience. Set goals for your growth and try to stick to them. But don’t rush launching products before you’re ready and poised for success.
Launch Your Product or Service Once You Have an Audience
Once you’ve reached the goals you’ve set for building your audience, it’s time to start thinking about offering products or services within your niche. Take everything you’ve learned over the process of building your audience and use it to strengthen your offerings.
Pulizzi said in an email to Small Business Trends, “Most startups believe they have the most amazing product on the planet, and then while trying to find their product/market fit, either fail or need to pivot. It’s a better strategy to me to build a relationship with an audience first. Become the go-to experts for that audience. Begin to understand that audience better than anyone else. And then, once you’ve built the audience, launch your products or services.”
Look for Funding When You Have an Audience, Too
Having an audience can also make the process of seeking funding easier, if that’s something you need. Use your connections to seek out private investors or even consider inviting those in your network to invest via crowdfunding platforms.
Consider Partnerships Carefully
Having a partner to go into business with can lighten some of the risk and workload that goes along with launching a startup. But having a partner who isn’t on the same page as you or who has a completely different style or set of goals can be a detriment. So consider the future of your startup very carefully before you form any partnerships.
Find Reliable Mentors
Mentors can also be hugely beneficial, especially for first time entrepreneurs. Use your connections to find an experienced business owner who can offer advice or listen to your ideas. There are also plenty of online platforms that can help match you up with relevant mentors.
Invest in the Right People
The people you hire to help with your business can make a huge impact on your potential for success. So don’t just hire the first people you meet with. Really consider how each person can help your company grow and thrive.
Be Open to Their Ideas
A great team can only be great if you actually listen to them and let them work. Create an environment that allows all members of your team to share ideas and help in various ways. You might be surprised by what you learn from them.
Take the Right Risks
Risks are part of launching any startup. But it’s important to consider every risk carefully so that you choose ones that are really necessary and offer potentially high rewards for your business. For instance, launching your products too quickly may be an unnecessary risk. But providing some funding to launch your first products could be more of a necessity.
Constantly Seek Feedback
Once you’ve launched your products or services, the work isn’t over. You need to constantly work to improve your offerings. Be open to feedback from your customers or clients and integrate that feedback into future products or updates.
Don’t Be Afraid of Change
Few startups survive very long without pivoting or changing in any way. You don’t need to change just for the sake of changing. But if you’re struggling it may be worth considering a slight shift in focus. Just do your research first.
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