Before launching a start up it is important that you have a real plan to follow. Here are the 10 steps that everyone should implement before putting their start up in place.
Start up: identify the problem not the solution
Many times a business can be faced with multiple problems, which will not all have the same solution. At this point, it is important that the problem is correctly identified in order to define an appropriate solution. The solution may change over time as you become familiar with the problem, but taking some time to articulate the core problem will help improve the business from marketing to product development.
Before introducing a new idea, proposing it to someone or bringing it directly to the market, it could be useful to invest time in online research as this time could save you from any failures. There may be many companies that have already experienced various problems and have found solutions or others that have made mistakes from which you can escape. Furthermore, the customer’s opinion is very important and through these researches he could reveal whether or not the idea of the start up is to his liking.
Many times the answers you are looking for are already present in someone else’s head, probably because he has already lived them before or belongs to the same sector of the start-up that you want to create. If you want to find out why your chosen solution is not working as it should, you could listen to their stories so you can avoid taking the lesson alone. No one will be more experienced than those who have found themselves facing the same problems even within the same business, so it could be very useful to interview them.
Develop a product concept of a start up
Before starting to work on a product it is necessary that you have the concept of the product you want to give life to. The aim is to give consumers an idea of what this product will look like one day by providing them with as much detail as possible. Despite this, the concept of a product is critical because before it is created there will be millions and millions of times it will be modified. The important thing is that it paints a picture that potential customers can react to.
Get Beta Users
Beta Users are the real first customers, in some cases they are even before real customers. They are willing to try the things the company offers when no one else would ever think about it, they are the first “adopters”. You don’t have to wait to create a real product to have a Beta User but just identify those who may be probable customers. This is very important because once potential users have been identified it will be easier to understand their needs and make any changes to the product.
Launch at “Minimun Viable Product”
The idea is to create the simplest version of the product and allow beta users to try it out. This requires a lot of creativity. An example could be opening a restaurant but first testing the menu with neighbors and relatives or if you start a service business such as accounting you could allow the customer to try it for free. This MPV is not just a way to earn upfront but is aimed at verifying whether a product is appreciated by customers or is defective. Many times it is used to improve the product until it becomes fantastic and useful for the customers.
Acquiring unknown customers
Sure, getting the product to be used by beta users can be useful but they are people who know each other and usually have an interest in the product. More testing could be done with unrelated customers, who can express their opinion using the product.
There are key steps to gaining such customers:
- Define the offer
- Link the ad to the website
- Optimize the price
These elements will be changed thousands of times what matters is to start the testing process. This is very relevant in the acquisition of new customers because in this way you can understand not only how to make a sale but also how to keep the added value from them as customers.
Start up: commit to a “brand promise”
Most customers ask for a “brand promise” or what can the brand give in exchange for my use? Each important brand is built on a “brand promise”, which encourages customers to try the product so it must be defined correctly and placed at the top of all communications. It cannot be seen as a simple slogan but as an implicit interaction that occurs every time a customer interacts with the company or product.
Maximize customer feedback
A start-up needs as much feedback as possible to train itself in the best way, no matter if it is positive or negative. Maximizing customer feedback is the starting point of a new adventure for startups. Every single data helps to shape the nature of the product. This includes every possible channel, from in-person customer interactions to tweets, to voicemails left after business hours. Every feedback is important because every interaction with the customer defines a path of where the product should go.
The last step in the launch cycle of a start-up is the revaluation. There comes a time when you look at what you have done and evaluate if the idea you have can go on or not. It is necessary to evaluate the judgment of the customers, if the initial idea was successful and if there is someone else who could do better than what has been created. You have to be honest with yourself, because continuing a bad business could only do more harm.
This cycle will repeat itself many times before finding the idea that unites the market and one’s passion, but when that happens there will be nothing better.