The 10 Essentials For Every Start-Up

10-essentials-start-up

No one launches a start-up with the intention of having all their hard work go down the drain. But each year thousands of small business owners are forced to close up shop, when it becomes clear that their companies can no longer survive. Most business owners would be shocked to learn that they could drastically extend the lifespan of their businesses- by investing in key essentials, during the start-up phase.

To help you lay a strong foundation for your business’ longtime success, BrandMakerNews compiled the ten essentials every start-up needs:

Distinct Brand Identity- Having a well-thought out and professionally designed brand identity is a must. Your logo, business cards, website, and promotional materials need to show off your professionalism and instantly separate your business from all the rest.

Social Media Plan- If you’re not online, you don’t exist. Have a social media plan in place so you can reach your target audience, share information about your business, and build strong relationships to ensure your long-term success.

Business Plan- Create a business plan to plot your path forward. No matter how excited you are to get the ball rolling, do not skip this important step. Writing a business plan forces you to think through every aspect of your business idea. After tightening up your business plan you will have the research, financial projections, operations strategy and marketing plan in place to serve as your guide.

Partners- Every strong business has partners. Even if you start a business on your own, you need to have a list of partners and other professionals you can call on to fill in the gaps. You cannot do everything on your own. Not having partners is a guaranteed way to shorten the lifespan of your business.

Savings- No matter how great your business idea is, you will not make money right away. Before you launch a business you should have at least enough savings to get you through one full year. Assume that your business will make no money and plan to use the money you stashed away to carry you through. Too many entrepreneurs have to walk away from their businesses because they can’t pay their bills during the start-up phase. Don’t let that happen to you.

Seasoned Professionals- Although you may have a buddy who can design your logo, do your taxes and file your legal documents…do not let him/her do it! Hire seasoned professionals to handle these important aspects of your business. It may save you a few bucks to let an amateur do the work, but you get what you pay for. Not only will it cost you more to fix mistakes down the line, but think of all the business you’ll miss out on in the process. The customers you want will choose the more “professional” business over yours.

Marketing Plan- Too many entrepreneurs assume that all they have to do is open their doors and customers will start rushing through. Trust me that’s completely not true. No one will know you exist, and no one will care that you exist until you give them a good reason to. You have to market your business. Regardless of how great your products or services are, they will not sell themselves. Before you even think about launching, create a solid marketing plan with details on how you will introduce your company to the world.

Budget- There are so many expenses associated with launching a business. Especially when you are starting from scratch, the bills will start piling up quickly. And, it will seem like you need to buy everything at once, so you’ll find yourself blowing through money. Get control of your spending by creating a budget. Go line by line and assign a maximum amount you’re willing to spend on the things you need. Always plan for the worst case scenario, and add a buffer so you don’t end up in the hole. Decide which items you’ll get now verses those you’ll get later, and try as hard as you can to stick to your budget. Poor budgeting is a big reason why small companies get wiped out so fast.

Vacation- If you’re like most entrepreneurs in the startup phase it will be a while before you get to enjoy a day off, so take yourself, your family and your friends on a long vacation before that big grand opening day. Pamper yourself and get your mind prepared for a challenging yet rewarding adventure of entrepreneurship. Remember to enjoy as many nights of peaceful sleep before your new business becomes priority number one.

Support System- Few people understand the life of a business owner unless they  have businesses of their own. At times, the pressure, the decisions, and the uncertainties can wear even the strongest person down. Before this happens to you identify a place where you can go for support, encouraging words and motivation to keep going. Some people find online groups and forums where they can vent and get feedback from like-minded individuals. Other people have a friend or mentor they call on. And, others seek books or a place of worship to help them refocus their thoughts. Before launching your business, find your outlet, so you know where to plug in when your batteries need to be recharged.

Give your start-up the best chance to succeed by making sure you cover the ten essentials above. Take control of your company’s success from the very beginning. Regardless of how excited you are to launch your business, do not bypass the important steps that will strengthen your foundation and keep your company thriving for years to come.

Be great!

One Comment

  1. Posted April 4, 2011 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    I like this list. I have done most parts but see where I have failed in others. It is good to keep a list like this at any phase of your start up.
    Thanks

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