The Best Resources for Startups – at every step of the journey
Having a business idea with growth potential is extremely exciting. Having the idea is the hard part, right? While not everyone has it in them to come up with a business concept worth pursuing, the next steps of bringing an idea to life can be particularly trying and that’s why we’ve pulled together a list of the best resources for startups.
The following list intends to outline the key steps to get your startup off the ground and running successfully. The steps are listed in priority order, however like many things, your journey may not fall into the ideal plan of a business startup – and that’s okay.
Focus on creating as much structure as you can to the work that you’re doing and create goals in order to maximise productivity.
Keep checking back for updates on the best resources for startups as the list grows and the industry inevitably changes.
Complete Your Market Research
There are a number of resources available that will help guide you through the essential task of understanding the market you wish to operate in. By creating a competitive set in your respective industry will help you align goals to realistic and competitive targets.
- How to do market research – the basics
- How to do market research – a 6 step guide
- Small business tips – how to do market research
Test Your Business Startup Idea
Before scaling a product or considering bringing it to market its important to test the idea as well as the functionality. The most commonly accepted way of doing this is to build a minimum viable product (MVP) and then creating a user group of no less than 50 people to test with. This is an important step to ensure that the product is being received as you intended and that the functionality is sufficient, at a minimum.
Market validation will begin with a series of customer interviews based on your target market, and will grow to a wider user group. This should almost always take place before seeking or confirming large investments – as it works as proof that your product is fit for purpose.
- How to test your business idea
- Lean market validation – 10 ways to rapidly test your startup idea
- 3 ways to test your business idea before investing money
Register Your Startup Business
Think about whether registering your business is the right step for you. It’s advised to protect your brand and business, particularly if you are planning to rapidly scale. Running a registered business can also encourage confidence and trust from customers as well as investors. There are a number of resources for startups to refer to in order to make the right decision.
You’ll also need to consider the type of business you plan to register yourself as.
Write a Business Plan for Your Startup
Simply put, writing a business plan helps you think about why you are doing what you’re doing – and how you’re going to do it. It’s important to get it written down, for yourself, your future team and investors. It will allow you to see any gaps that may exist in the overall business strategy, while solidifying theories you have held since conception of the business initiative.
Having ‘one version of the truth’ written down will also help navigate and steer you towards your goals.
- 7 steps to a perfectly written business plan
- Essential guide to writing a business plan
- How to create a business plan
This is quite a hurdle to overcome and will be the deciding factor in the growth of your business. It’s not unachievable, particularly if you have followed the above steps so far.
There are often several funding rounds for a start up business, so be prepared to crowd fund each year until you hit the jackpot funding round.
- How to raise finance for your start up business
- How to raise £100,000 for your business
- 6 easy ways to raise capital for your business
Develop Your Product
Bringing what you’ve visualised and aspired for your product right through to conception may be one the biggest challenges you face, alongside pitching for funding. Communication is key here, as you’ll need to illustrate your vision in such a way that it materialises as you imagined.
Always hold an open mind to the ways in which visions can evolve and transform based on a changing market, or functionality restrictions.
- How to develop a new product – from concept to market
- 5 steps to develop a new product
- The 7 steps of effective product development
Hire a Dream Team
It’s often said that the most important group of people to please is your team, above your customers. This might sound odd to some, however, if you have a happy and inspired team – they’ll take care of your customers and be the best confirmation of the integrity of your business. Your team are your business.
Getting the hiring right can feel like a lot of pressure. The best thing you can do is follow your gut and hire people who have different skills to the ones you currently have. This will promise a constant growth in both the reach of your business and your own awareness of the industry.
- 12 ways to grow your business by hiring the dream team
- 8 ways to attract and hire your dream team
- 6 rules for hiring a team
Choose Your First Office
The first thing to do is to decide whether you want your team to work from home until profit is being achieved, or work together in one central location to you all. There is no clear wrong or right way to do this, so much of the decision will exist in what your budget can justify and the nature of the work.
For some roles, working from home may be tricky as the team may need access to materials and hardware. Think about the staff you are hiring and whether an office is a short or long term goal.
- Top tips to finding your first office space
- Small businesses: should you rent office space or work from home?
- Why you should think twice before getting office space
Grow Your Sales & Customer Base
You’ve got your team and funding in place, so there’s no better time to get your products out and in the market. Growing your customer base is instrumental to your business and the overall projected sales. Think about what your customers want and let them identify their needs, via a wide variety of sales and marketing channels.
- How to find new customers and increase sales
- The ultimate guide to growing (& keeping) your customer base
- 10 steps to grow your customer base
- The best digital marketing tools for small businesses
Scale Your Business
Growth is an exciting step and the one you will have imagined from the moment you had your first business idea. It’s important to understand the areas of your business to scale first and the pace in which it’s most practical.