5 Things to do Before You Start Your Business

 

While coming up with a business idea is a good starting point for getting a business off the ground, its success will rely on hard work and patience. Running a firm is mostly about problem-solving as you will constantly be looking for solutions. The reality is that many small businesses do not make it, which is why you need to be prepared for any obstacles along your journey.

We’ve teamed up with Whitesmith to help you better prepare for your business or product launch.

Whitesmith is a Digital Product and Innovation Studio, building products that people love to use. Be that web, mobile, IoT or AI products.  They are a team of problem solvers who love combining their knowledge of UX, Business and Tech to help you create innovative and engaging customer experiences. This knowledge has come about through having built and launched a number of their own products, as well as having worked with dozens of innovative start-ups across Europe.  Needless to say, they know their stuff.

They are also hosting an upcoming Office Hours event where they will help you bring your idea to life.

 

Define the Problem You are Solving

Instead of focusing on the product you want to sell, think about which problems your products/services will solve. It is much easier to attract a customer base when your offering is fixing a problem. Assuming you already have a target audience, you now need to identify the concerns that they find frustrating, urgent, or uncomfortable. An in-depth insight into these issues will help you formulate solutions to ease this pain.

Take the immensely successful Uber start-up, for example, which identified a market in urban transportation. People are continually frustrated by unreliable public transport in many jurisdictions in the world and Uber offers a convenient way to get around.

Consumer surveys can be an eye-opening way of uncovering the problems of your target audience. Most businesses opt to organize consumer focus groups. You can even evaluate the competition to study their offerings and how you can offer an improved product.

Another strategy is to find a niche market and provide services to dominate the market. There are always population segments whose needs for specific services are unmet. Niche markets are typically small, and you need to figure out how much of the market will be available to your business.

Do Some Market Research

Research is the backbone of a successful venture. Doing your due diligence is necessary to ensure that your start-up is not doomed from the start.

You can do the research yourself by utilizing various resources and databases. The data centers of your state or country will typically have information on demographics and data. You can do research on things like income and age range. The local chamber of commerce typically has the kind of data you would need. In the case of a local business, evaluate the competition and have a look at their business models. Most sectors have active trade associations which offer valuable information, not only for local consumers but for the global marketplace as well.

Customer data can be easily obtained nowadays using online customer surveys. You can place ads on platforms like Upwork and offer some compensation.

There are always willing subjects on the internet. Graduate students can also carry out research in local universities for a fee.

Doing your own research can consume a lot of resources. There are numerous firms which specialize in market and business research. They often have the means to carry out extensive research on particular customer segments. These firms will offer data that would certainly have cost you a lot of money. You may however not get the data for the specific market you are interested in.

Another means of obtaining research is by outsourcing the work to a research firm. These firms provide the kind of sophisticated analysis you need to understand your target market. They will further interview customers in select regions to understand the shopping behaviors of your ideal customers.

Build a Product Roadmap

A product roadmap is designed as a visual summary that illustrates the vision and direction of your product/service over time. Product roadmaps are used to prioritize tasks, coordinate activities within departments, create internal and external transparency, and track progress towards objectives. The roadmap supplements other primary business documents including the business and the marketing plan.

The no-dates product map is favored by agile companies and has no timelines. They are quite flexible and are ideal for firms whose priorities are continually shifting. This is mostly the case when your business is incubating, and you are processing new data on a daily or weekly basis. You are not concerned with extensive long-term planning at this stage as you are still finding your feet. As a product or service matures, you will need to include timelines and adopt a hybrid roadmap.

You will be tempted to create an intricate roadmap for the progress you aim to make while still in the discovery phase of your start-up. This move could, however, box you into a rigid plan at a period when you have insufficient information to draft an accurate forecast. Aim to create a flexible map to grow with your product/service.

Building a product roadmap is crucial for any start-up or incubator team.  To do so you will need some help.  Learn how to create a high-level visual summary that will help your product launch succeed at a Whitesmith event coming up soon.  Click here to learn more.

 

Validate the Concept

Your idea may be great and unique, but is there a market for it? Will people warm up to your products/services? Is launching your start-up a viable option? These are common questions entrepreneurs face. Validating your concept will help you understand the risks more clearly and offer some reassurance.

You can dig into available market research to determine what economic experts have predicted for the future of your type of business and whether your field has been increasing in popularity. Another positive indication is if larger enterprises have been buying out smaller firms. You can evaluate trends and other economic indicators by reading industry-related publications.

Surveys present an effective way to acquire valuable indicators from target consumers.

Make sure you ask the right queries, and you can use resources like Google Forms. It helps if you have an existing platform to connect with customers like social media pages, an email list, and industry forums. Surveys offer surface-level responses while focus groups provide a more in-depth understanding of the psychology of consumers. Bring your products to the forums and offer samples in exchange for feedback.

 

Build a Minimum Viable Product

Great concepts are built on fundamental assumptions. You assume a lot when starting a business and these assumptions can be quite costly when you finally venture into the market. A minimum viable product is a product that offers the core service of the business. Take Airbnb, for example, which began as a website that could only offer accommodation. It did not have all the features currently featured on the website and app, but it allowed the founders to realize there was an actual need for the services.

You will need to come up with a prototype which should not be of lower quality than the final item. Collect the reactions of clients to the MVP which you will use to ascertain if the service has a potential market and if it is able to compete with similar products. With an MVP, you will focus on the core functionality of your product in a budget-friendly manner.  Whitesmith understands the importance of developing an MVP the right way.  They can give you the guidance you need in order to develop your MVP.  Check out their upcoming event to learn more.

This post has been brought to you by Whitesmith.  Whitesmith is a Digital Product and Innovation Studio, building products that people love to use. They can help you identify and tackle the challenges that matter most to your customers. Then help you validate and focus your concept so that you can build a product that people will love to use. Click here to learn more.

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