5 Critical Things Many Entrepreneurs Forget to Do When They Launch a Startup
The launch phase for any business is thrilling, but can be hectic. Critical elements for smooth sailing can easily get lost in the shuffle or overlooked by eager entrepreneurs. Don't let that happen. Keep in mind these five essential components to ensure your startup has a successful lift off.
As an entrepreneur, getting a startup off the ground is an exciting adventure and one that many live for. It can be a wild ride when you start a company from nothing and build it into a business from scratch. There are a million different details competing for your time and attention and, unfortunately, there are things that some entrepreneurs forget to do in the early stages of their startup that can lead to struggles. Here are five things that many startup founders forget to do that can have a negative impact on their business.
- Make sure your website is on point
In today’s world, if you don’t have a website, then you aren’t a business. Think about it. If you go online to do a search for a company, and there are zero relevant results, then you can only conclude that either you’ve performed your search incorrectly or that business does not actually exist. As a startup, it’s not just enough to HAVE a website though. You’ve got to make sure it is dialed in to do all kinds of productive things for you that will lead to success in your endeavor.
- First, your website should be clean, simple, and easy to navigate. Make sure visitors can quickly understand what your business does and make it easy for them to learn more with well-written content that’s intuitive to find.
- Second, you should consider blogging. Unique, updated content is going to be your friend on your journey through entrepreneurship. Not only will it keep people up-to-date about the latest developments with your startup, new product launches, and give your company a personality, but it will also help you rank for the keywords that are relevant to your company when people do web searches.
- And don’t forget, your website needs to include sign-up forms. This gives interested parties a way to opt-in to learn more about your business, whether that be in the shape of your monthly newsletter or a consultation to talk to them more about your product or service. Website forms are a great way to build your contact list and find out who is intrigued by your startup.
- Harness the power of social media
Leveraging social media is one of the best ways to build a community around your startup, promote your business, and spread the word about what you’ve got going on. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn all have their strengths and weaknesses, so make sure you are choosing the right platforms to invest your time in from the beginning. Use Facebook to invite all your friends to like the page for your startup, share your blog posts, and even do some cheap advertising to achieve your objectives. Get on Twitter to keep an eye on your competition, engage with influencers, and become a part of pertinent conversations. Post photos of your new product line or run a contest/promotion on Instagram. Connect with other similar professionals on LinkedIn to share ideas and spread the word about your new business.
Once you’ve built a community of followers, you can even have an in-depth look at your audiences to get an idea of which demographics you should be targeting. So develop a social media strategy that outlines how you’re going to gain more followers, what you’re going to share with them, and how your brand voice is going to be represented.
- Brand that business phone well
One of the best opportunities your startup can receive is a phone call. When the phone rings, one of two things happens. You are either presented with a chance to take care of a current customer or you are able to speak with a potential client. Both are a big deal, because startups must take great care of their customers and every client counts, especially in the fledgling startup phase. So when someone calls your business, do you want them to have a professional phone experience or a sloppy encounter that doesn’t leave them with a good impression?
- To brand your business phones well, start by acquiring an 800 number. That will broaden your appeal as a company outside of just your local market. Post that number on your website and social media.
- Next, make sure you’re able to answer every call quickly (3 rings or less). The longer a caller has to wait for someone to pick up, the more likely they are to hang up.
- Don’t let callers go to voicemail. That gives your callers the impression that you are too busy to talk to them. The majority of people will not leave you a message anyway. And even if they do, they are left wondering if their message will be heard or if/when they will get a call back.
- Finally, always speak to every caller in a professional manner that reflects your brand image. Be helpful, responsive, and give each person that calls the feeling that they are important and that they are being taken care of.
Positive word of mouth is so huge in the startup world. Properly branding your startup business phone experience will ensure that people have great things to say about your company.
- Tell your story and sell yourself
Your business is not just about what product you sell or what service you offer. It’s also about you and your story. People have the ability to purchase whatever they want from wherever they want with a plethora of different options. What’s going to make you stand out above the competition and give people a reason to choose your business is you and that story of yours.
Everybody loves a good story, so tell yours every chance you get. Stories make you more relatable. It humanizes your business and makes you so much more than just a company.
And investors love a strong, passionate leader, so make sure you’re able to sell more than just whatever your company offers. You’ve got to be able to sell yourself as the right person to lead your company and make it profitable.
- Surround yourself with the right people
This isn’t just about your employees, but while we’re on the subject, whether you have one other partner or a team of a dozen people, you need to make sure they are a good fit. They must share your vision, have different skills and strengths than you, and they need to have a level of dedication that matches your own. It also helps if they are all smarter than you. The greatest entrepreneurs are not shy about saying that they are successful due to the fact that they surrounded themselves with people who are smarter than they are.
Having the right group of people around you extends beyond your startup as well. You should never embark on an entrepreneurial adventure alone. Having other people around to bounce your ideas and problems off of is invaluable. Extra sets of eyes and ears are truly priceless. And it always helps to have people who can give you a fresh perspective or be honest with you if you’re headed down the wrong road.
Networking is a fantastic way to surround yourself with the right people. You’ll benefit to a massive extent from the experience and insight of others. Interacting with those in your field is an incredible resource that can lead to a wealth of knowledge. Take advantage of local programs like Startup Spokane, Oregon's Small Business Development Center, or other organizations focused on entrepreneurship to build a strong community around yourself. While it’s always important to stay true to yourself and what you’ve set out to accomplish with your startup, keep in mind that your mission will become easier to fulfill if you surround yourself with a solid group of people that can help you succeed.
Keep these five things in mind before you launch your startup, execute them well, and you’ll be on the right track towards thriving as an entrepreneur. Best of luck!