When you have an amazing idea that you want to share with the world, it can be hard to contain your excitement. This applies to almost anything, including the business world. If you have a new product or service that you want to launch, the excitement may make it hard to lay the proper groundwork.
If you do not take the time to properly prepare a new business venture, there is a good chance you will not succeed. You need to take the time to establish a foundation before you start building towards the launch of your product or service.
Luckily, you don’t need to spend months planning your strategies. The following quick-start guide will explain the 7 steps that you need to follow to launch your business venture. Do not rush this process. Use these tips to avoid common mistakes.
Make Sure There Is a Market for Your Idea
The very first step you should take is to validate your idea or concept. You need to make sure that there is a market for your idea. Otherwise, you may be preparing a product or service that no one really wants or needs. There are several ways to ensure there is a market for your idea. You could release an online survey, create a mock landing page, or check out your competition.
You can release an online survey that asks a simple question related to your product or service. Give people several different options and then use the feedback that you get to determine if people will be interested in your product or service.
With a mock landing page, you can include a sign-up form and see if anyone bothers to sign up for additional information. Create the landing page as if you are actually creating a landing page promoting your product or service. If you get a solid response, then you know there is room in the market for your idea.
Another option is to check out your competition. See if they have similar products or services. If they do, then you should find out how much demand there is. Search online to see what people are saying. You should do your own research and see if there is interest in similar ideas.
Create a Basic Business and Marketing Plan
If you are trying to launch your product or service as soon as possible, you will still need a solid business and marketing plan. You do not need to be completely detailed, but you should have a good plan in place. Start with a short description about your business. Set your short term and long term goals. Include any research from the first step in your marketing plan. You can then decide how best to promote your product or service.
Outline some of the marketing channels and strategies that you plan on using to promote yourself. This could include social media marketing, blogging, PPC advertising, email marketing, and video marketing.
You should also come up with a basic financial plan. Decide how you are going to pay for your marketing and for the production of your product or service. Do not forget to include expenses, such as website creation.
Obtain Funding for Your Idea
You will need money in order to create a website, market your idea, and produce your product. If possible, find out if you qualify for any government grants. This will typically apply to specific industries, technologies, and even specific demographics of people. For example, there are government grants for women who want to start a business, along with grants for certain minorities.
Another way to get financing is to use P2P (peer to peer) lending. This is similar to crowdfunding, which is another option. With both P2P lending and crowdfunding, you will need to properly explain the value of your product or service. Also, it may take a while to obtain all the funding that you require.
Research Your Target Demographic
Once you get funding, you will need to start researching your target demographic. You need to know who you are marketing to before you start a marketing campaign. Find out who is most likely to use your product or service. Many businesses choose to create a customer persona for marketing purposes. A persona is simply an imaginary person that represents your typical customer.
The persona that you create should be specific. Decide on a gender, age, race, education level, income, lifestyle, and hobbies. For example, if you are selling a weight loss program, your persona may be a woman in her 30’s with a comfortable income and lifestyle.
Put some thought into your persona. You will use this persona in your marketing campaigns. When you are writing advertising content, it is easier to make a connection with your core demographics when you are writing to one specific person.
Create a Website
In this day and age, you need a website in order to promote a product or service. While you can use Facebook and other social media to gain attention, you will still need a website.
You do not need to spend a lot to build a website. There are several affordable options with easy to use website builders. These website builders include drag and drop layouts, so anyone can build their own website. A few options include WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace.
If you have the funds available, you could also consider hiring a professional web design firm. They will ensure that your website has an individual style or look that perfectly represents your product or service.
Decide on a Business Structure
The next step is to choose a business structure. This is essential and should be decided before you release your product or service. If you are going to operate under a business name that is separate from your real name, you will need to file a DBA (doing business as) form at your county or city clerk’s office.
You will also need to decide whether you want to operate as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or an S Corporation. There are other options, but these are the two most commonly used business structures. If you are working with one or more partners, you will probably choose an LLC. But, if you are going it alone, then you will probably file taxes as an S Corporation.
Make sure that you put a lot of thought into this decision. It can be difficult to change your structure at a later date.
Start Marketing Your Product or Service
The final step is to begin marketing your product or service. You should have your website in place. Your product or service should be ready to deliver. And, you should have completed your market research. Start marketing your product or service using friends and family. Enlist their help to spread the buzz about your business idea.
Along with word-of-mouth advertising, you can use affordable online marketing strategies. This includes social media marketing, PPC advertising, and email marketing. With social media marketing, you will create a business profile page on various social media platforms. Then, you should start sharing content daily. The majority of the content that you share should be beneficial third-party information that is in some way related to your product or service.
For example, if you sell running shoes, you may share posts that you find online discussing running technique and form or tips for avoiding muscle strain.
A small portion of your social media marketing should be dedicated to promoting your products or services. The reason for limiting the direct promotion of your products or services is to build trust with your followers. They will enjoy the beneficial content that you share and then may be more likely to make a purchase when they see your promoted products or services.
Email marketing and PPC advertising will require a small amount of money. But, they are easy to setup and implement.
Final Thoughts on Launching a Business Venture
Obviously, this is an incredibly quick approach to launching a business venture. The main point is that you need to put some thought into this process before simply releasing your product or service. You run the risk of making a mistake or losing money if you do not research and plan properly.
Good luck on your new idea. Keep these tips in mind and continue exploring ways to market your business.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.
Published February 15, 2018