Despite the ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic, new business applications increased by 26.9% in 2020, compared to 2019. This is part of a general upward global trend in startup launches that’s been increasing year on year for over a decade.
However, starting a new business is no small undertaking – new business owners face countless challenges. But a lack of information doesn’t have to be one of them. From learning what successful entrepreneurs have to say, to looking at market statistics to find customer-driven data. There’s a lot to learn, so here’s a breakdown of the most important things a new entrepreneur should know before launching their startup.
1. Research the Market
This first tip might be a tad obvious, but many new business owners don’t realize just how in-depth their market research needs to be. They think they’ve got a great startup idea and that there’s enough of a demand for it. But the reality is that they haven’t looked at all of the variables – which is one reason why around 21.5% of startups fail within the first year.
Utilize readily available tools to know the target audience’s demographics, behaviors, wants, needs, and problems. A business owner has to know its customers almost better than they know themselves. However, it’s not just the customer that matters. Competitor research is equally important and to a new business owner, analyzing market trends is crucial for success.
2. Seek Out the Advice of Other Entrepreneurs
While many have espoused the benefits of finding a mentor, not every successful entrepreneur is willing to take on a mentee. However, in this digital age, new business owners have more support available to them than ever.
There are countless blogs, Reddit subs, webinars, and books that revolve around the subject of launching a new startup and growing a business. Online support and networking groups are also an option. There are even niche groups like The FQ Lounge, for example, where female execs and entrepreneurs show support for each other.
3. Understand That Sacrifices Will Have to be Made
The road to success is never a smooth one, and every new startup owner will have to make sacrifices along the way. Whether that means sacrificing time and sleep, finances, or relationships – think carefully about what each area is worth. A good business owner will know what they’re willing to sacrifice and what they can compromise on. They also know what they cannot compromise on – such as when to do it themselves and when to delegate to someone with the right skills.
4. Don’t Forget About Cybersecurity
Countless new business owners have fallen prey to cyber attacks because they don’t realize they’re a target. Yet, small to medium businesses are one of the main target groups for hackers, precisely because they’re easy pickings. Falling victim to a cyber attack like a data breach or ransomware attack can set a new business back years. Or cost thousands, if not millions, in damages and close it down for good.
Look for business solutions that provide the level of security a new business needs but balances that with affordability. In other words, be sure to shop around. There are great digital security packages that offer well-rounded security solutions. There are also niche tools, like NordVPN Teams, which is a cloud-based virtual private network and is perfect for remote teams, for example. A new business should assess its security weaknesses and needs and prepare accordingly.
5. The Execution is Almost More Important Than the Idea
Many new entrepreneurs cling to their original business idea because they believe so strongly in this concept and think their belief is what will pull them through. In reality, the idea someone starts with might end up not being the exact end product or service they deliver. A good entrepreneur can keep up with their target market’s challenges and dreams and pivot at a moment’s notice. At the end of the day, the only thing that truly matters is meeting the customer where they are.
The Bottom Line
Launching a startup is equal parts exciting and terrifying, but remember that no one has to go about it alone! In today’s climate, there is plenty of tools and industry support readily available to make the process a little easier. Asking for help isn’t something to look down upon, few people can achieve anything worth achieving solely on their own. It takes vision, hard work, a little bit of luck, and a lot of help.