Setting up a business is easy… but creating a company that will last and succeed is another matter…
That is why in this article I explain the 6 steps to start your business, whether it is an SME or a startup:
Step 0: Verify that your idea responds to a market….
This is not step 1, but a prerequisite.
There is no point in getting involved in a project if prospects are not ready to buy.
Step 1: Find partners.
It may seem counter-intuitive to start finding partners from the beginning, yet it gives you a much better chance of success in the future.
Why? Why? Quite simply because only one is overwhelmed by the subjects, one does not take a step back… and therefore the project has less chance of seeing the light of day. This first partner can be there temporarily (to support you during the launch) or for the rest of the adventure.
Step 2: Set up your communication supports
Even if your idea is only in its infancy, you need to start taking up the field now, via a blog, a Facebook group…
This allows you to be recognized by your prospect community, to create your first prospect pool….
Step 3 – Make a specification of the mockups of your product
This will allow you to clarify your idea, and to know what you want to propose.
Remember that the Devil hides in details, and it is often by going into details that the right questions are asked.
Step 4 – Develop a prototype – The MVP
The goal is to focus on key features, and not to want to make a Swiss Army knife product.
It’s time to focus on the killer feature and see what your prospects really want.
Step 5 – Introduce your prototype to the first prospects and influencers (Facebook Ads, bloggers…).
You must prove the relevance of your concept, with a minimum of sales to be made.
You have to start by testing your speech, your arguments… on a small number of prospects, and then get stronger.
Step 6: Obtain funding
Initially you can get your first funds to start your business, especially with “Love Money”, i.e. money from family and friends for your first steps in business.
Cash flow is gasoline and your engine is your business… if there is no more gasoline, the engine stalls and then stops!
Once you can prove that your product is for a real solvent market, that you have your first customers… you can raise funds or get more financing.
And at the end of this file, after the free guide I will offer you, I advise you to look at the ten images on the life of “Startup-eur”, it should make you smile….
You have decided to take the plunge and launch your start-up….
You have found the idea, validated it and have a business plan? Congratulations!
Now we’re going to have to execute the idea and that’s another set of tricks.
Because as I often say (and I have the opportunity to check it with my customers every week), an idea is worthless, only its realization matters.
The graph below shows the value of an idea: a bad idea not realized does not bring you anything, but it can also penalize you!
Indeed, if you are convinced that you have a great idea, and you don’t put it in place, it will prevent you from doing anything else, or it is a “dream” (or rather a fantasy “I have a great idea, I have to launch it one day”) that you push back and that you do not put in place, because it is easier to dream than to realize. Sometimes it is the fear of not succeeding that can block.
or it is a project that you reject out of concern for perfectionism, verification… when it is more important to start doing something than to always remain without reflection (and someone else finds this idea for you).
You can have the best idea in the world, if you are not able to transform it into a concrete and usable product/service, you will go nowhere!
If you are not convinced, look at these pictures: you will see that Microsoft first launched the Tablet PC… in 2002! But it was Steve Jobs who developed the marketable concept 8 years later… and when Microsoft launched the Surface, everyone thought it was a copy of the iPad! !
At the risk of demoralizing some of them, I would also like to take this opportunity to tell you that it is useless to waste your time going to see investors if you only have your idea and a nice Powerpoint business plan in hand.
Since the bursting of the internet bubble in the 2000s, investors first ask to verify that your project has a commercial reality (i.e. that people are ready to buy your product/service), and they no longer invest following a pitch or a business plan.
Today, more than ever, without a functional prototype and the first sales figures, you will do nothing.
At the beginning you can only count on your own financing, and the money you can get from your contacts (friends, family…), and a little money from your bank (knowing that a bank lends you 1 € for 1 € that you put as security in the form of a contribution, a financial guarantee…).
That being said, let’s see what steps need to be taken with a very small budget to move from idea to project.
It may sound silly to say it, but many startups fail every year simply because their product did not meet a solvent market.
You’re going to tell me, what is a deal?
It can be defined in several ways:
It is to respond to a need (if possible urgent and important) of a category of people, who can afford it. If there is no need, you have no deal. If your target can’t buy, you don’t have a market either….
Now that you have your prototype, you will need to generate your first customers, talk to the media to get user feedback and eventually attract seed investors.
You can also start making press relations, influencers relays… but be aware that it is a long process to obtain (except to already have a network of influencers you know) and that the results are generally not immediate (ex: a press release will mainly generate traffic from curious people, competitors… and finally quite few qualified prospects).
It is better to focus initially on generating hot leads to get initial feedback on your offer.
If your product really corresponds to an urgent and important need, and you respond to it, then the key is to identify the audience hubs where your prospects are present.