No one launches a business with anything other than an expectation of enormous success in mind, but the sad reality is that three out of every four startups fail in their first three years. The classic adage – prior planning prevents poor performance – is rarely truer than when applied to the world of business.
Here are five considerations to bear in mind in the run up to your launch that will dramatically improve the chances of your fledgling enterprise becoming an enduring and profitable business.
Check the name
Just because you have managed to buy a particular website domain does not mean the same name has not been trademarked elsewhere, so you’ll need to check with the Government’s Intellectual Property Office. The last thing you want to do is waste money publishing stationery or designing a logo, only to discover you infringe on the trademark of an existing firm. Bear in mind that sole traders to not have to register at Companies House, so you’ll need to check other sources, such as local business directories, to ensure your name is unique.
Stick to the plan
If you don’t require outside funding to launch your business, you may be tempted to skip the step of writing out a business plan. However, such a document can prove incredibly useful no matter what your business model as it provides an opportunity to calculate growth potential, set out a marketing strategy and hone your overall vision. Without a solid business plan, it’s much harder to judge whether your business is on the right track.
Launch your website first
Don’t wait until your business is up and running to launch your online presence and building hype around your product or service. A pre-launch web page with a form that allows potential customers to leave their details is a great way to generate your first leads and gauge consumer interest.
Focus on giving your site a clear call to action, ensuring it is quick and easy to use so that visitors can easily input their information and make sure it is entertaining enough for them to want to share it on social media.
Be specific with your online marketing
Establish your exact user base and find the places where they congregate – both offline and online – and then think about ways you can introduce your business into their community. Consider low-cost strategies such as blogging, which can help boost your profile and establish you or your firm as a key player in your industry.
Be careful with discounts
While it might be hugely tempting to offer bargain basement prices for your goods or services to early adopters around the launch of your business, attracting customers at a price point that makes your business impossible to sustain can prevent your business from gaining the financial traction it needs to move towards greater success.
The key issue is that at some point, you will have to raise your prices and all those customers who come to you just after this has occurred will feel cheated. You can also devalue your product in the minds of potential customers who may fail to see why an item they could buy for one price last week now costs significantly more. Rather than offering discounts, focus on making your processes as efficient as possible to bring down your initial price and then find ways to add value for your customers without increasing your costs.