Do you think you have a unique idea and all you need to know is the secret of being an overnight success?
Launching a business is not easy. There is no blueprint, and many founders find themselves procrastinating or oversaturating themselves with information on what to do, how to do it right and what to do first.
At App Boxer, we meet many entrepreneurs who come to us with a great idea that they want us to help bring to reality. But they do so without taking the time to think about the basics of launching a business.
The key to launching a successful business is to get traction with your customers as early as possible.
Here are our top 5 things we have learnt while launching our own digital business:
1. Remember you are launching a business not a product
You can build a product without launching a business – there is a clear distinction between a product idea and a business idea.
Instead of researching how to build the best product the world has ever seen, take a step back and think about how to create a successful business; a business that offers the world that brilliant product.
You don’t have to wait until your product is built to launch your business. The most successful businesses launch and attract followers (and investors) well before a single line of code of their product is written.
2. Just start…
As with anything in life, if something is complex, start by keeping it simple. Break it down into manageable, easy steps.
“Think big. Start small. Scale fast.”
Many entrepreneurs get stuck researching the market, creating a perfect business plan, crafting their idea, making the ideal product, and some even enrolling for an online MBA…. sounds familiar?
Do all that if you have more than 24 hrs in your day – but because you don’t; stop overthinking and just start with ideas that work, ideas that you can validate.
Make sure you do enough before you venture out:
Write the first line of your business plan
Sketch your product idea
Register a domain name
Connect with someone in the industry
Call the tax office…
The point is – at this stage, it doesn’t really matter… Once you take that first step, you have started!
3. Create a pre-launch page and an online following
Many aspirational business owners focus far too much on trying to design the perfect logo and building their initial website.
The reality is that you don’t need either to get started. Simply creating a landing page with a countdown timer and an email sign-up list will work just fine.
What you want to be doing is to create momentum while you build your business. Start by establishing your brand online, spread the word, build your networks, and communicate the solution you are bringing to the market – don’t wait until you are completely ready to launch.
Start telling your story to anyone that will listen (hint: you’ll get some feedback about what engages people and what doesn’t). Once you’ve found the right story, communication will become more and more valuable. A critical component of launching your new business is to establish your authority as an expert. The easiest way to do that is to begin contributing online and sharing free advice on how to solve the problems your target market is currently facing.
4. Focus on branding
Strong branding is key to a successful business. The ultimate dream is to see your business name become synonymous with a solution to an existing problem, right?
Your brand needs to have a personality and voice.
Think about your brand as a person. What do they sound like? What do they have to say? What are their core values? Finally, do these values align with your potential customers? Spend the time to understand who you are talking to and why. Trust us it will save you time later down the track.
Whilst your branding may evolve and change over time (again forget about perfection!) having a consistent brand across various touchpoints is vital and therefore engaging a marketing professional early on is more important than you think.
5. Be prepared to learn, review, validate and pivot.
Plenty of people have brilliant business ideas and excellent products, but it isn’t always the best that succeeds – be persistent.
Get to understand what works and what does not work for you, your business and your customers.
Validating your idea is the most essential part. Many businesses fail because they build something no one is interested in. That’s what you need to avoid at all costs.
Build – Measure – Learn
Eric Ries from Lean Startup recommends asking for feedback as early on as possible and to keep asking for that feedback in a continuous process. Ries believes that ‘business owners must set up their business and product development processes in a way that they systematically test and validate their ideas and vision continuously, to ensure they adapt and adjust before it’s too late’.
However, you can only improve your business once it is out there in the wild. Do not waste your time on having everything perfect before launch.
If you want to set yourself up for failure, keep waiting until you have a ‘perfect’ product before you go to the market.
If you want to succeed, go out there, tell the world about your product and they will tell you how to make it better!