When you are passionate about chasing your dreams and starting a business of your own, it can be hard to restrain yourself from taking the leap. However, it is crucial for entrepreneurs to take a step back and make sure all their ducks are in a row before pulling the trigger on launching their new endeavor. Here are five things to stop and consider before officially launching your business.
Do You Have the Right Tools?
Before you push the metaphorical launch button, you need to be sure you have the right tools to get the job done. There is nothing more embarrassing than landing your first client and realizing you’re missing crucial items for your work.
Stop and think about items that are specific to your business offering. Then take a broader approach to the items that every small business should have, regardless of the type of work they offer. Do you have a way to take payment? Basic office supplies like stationary and copy machines for small business endeavors should be ready and waiting when you start taking on customers. Not taking the time to evaluate your toolkit can cost you time and money down the road.
Do You Have a Launch Plan?
A launch plan is a basic outline of how you will announce and promote your business. It ties into a grander, more elaborate marketing plan that should also be ready to go before you launch. As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Sure, it can be simple to announce to your peers that you’ve started a business, but will that draw customers?
Consider how you are going to reach potential clients to let them know you have a solution to their problems. Create your unique selling proposition. Consider offering a launch deal or discount to attract initial clients. You may even offer a giveaway as a way to extend your reach on social media. You do have a social media presence, right? By considering these options, you will ensure that people take note when you launch your business. You only get one launch, so make it memorable!
Have you Thought About Insurance?
One thing many startup businesses fail to consider when launching is whether or not they have the right insurance in place. Consider this: if you use your personal car to drive a client around, then get in an accident, what happens? Did you indicate to your insurance provider that you would be using your car for business purposes? If not, you put your assets (both personal and professional) at risk.
What kind of insurance you will need is contingent on the services you offer, your business structure, and where you operate from. If you have employees working under you, that adds another layer of complexity when considering liability protection for you, your business, and your workers. Skipping out on insurance can have consequences on both your business and personal wellness.
Are you Prepared for Feedback?
One of the integral steps of validating a business idea and assessing the consumer-base is conducting market research in the early days. However, market research isn’t a one-and-done procedure. You must be willing and able to continuously collect feedback and data to tweak your services. Having a data collection platform in place, even if it is just an Excel sheet in which you track notes and feedback, is an often forgotten pre-launch activity. Doing this allows you to observe any patterns in behavior or potential pitfalls with a product offering.
As you will be busy running the day-to-day aspect of your business, it is too easy to forget comments made in passing that could be the key to your success. If every third client says “I wish you provided service X”, tracking this feedback may trigger an idea for a new, successful offering that will help your business grow.
Are Your Goals Clearly Defined?
When you launch your business, you should already have SMART goals in place. SMART goals– goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely– will help direct your path as you move forward. Goals give you a destination to keep you moving forward and help you create an action plan to drive your business.
If you don’t have goals in place, stop and take time to write them down. Think about where you want to be one year from now, then break it down into monthly goals. From there, break it down further into weekly steps you can take to hit your monthly targets. Defined goals and strong time management is the key to a successful startup.
If you’ve completed all of these activities, you’re ready to launch!