It has started to sound like a broken record, you know and I know, but it doesn’t make it less true. Covid-19 has taught us many things and among all, that we should think ahead and think plans. Especially when it comes to businesses.
During this pass year and half, business owners have had put their companies through a “self-questioning” process they had never thought of before. Many of them have had to ask themselves questions similar to this: “Are our operations self-sufficient enough to go through a work-from-home transition?” ”What methods and processes do we have in place, and are they reliable enough to take us through these uncertain times?” And I can’t help but wonder how different things would have been, in a positive sense of course, if these questions had been asked at a much earlier stage of the businesses. Like when it was a startup for example.
When creating a business, it is vital to start asking the right questions ahead of time. Not just the ones that will help you get through the first quarter, semester or year. Doing the bare minimum in order to have the startup up and running will later put you in the same position as most businesses the past year. I am talking long term vision. Unless you plan on creating a business to see it never pass the startup stage, you want to:
- Enlarge your vision
- Create a step map
- Focus on the immediate
- Invest in the right team
- Don’t just think profit
- Attract investors
- Remember the bigger picture
- Think the unthinkable
- Reimagine your business
It may sound like a lot to do, and you may even be tempted to stick to the “for now” usual path. And that’s okay! Many business owners (including myself) have made this mistake at one point or another, and nothing teaches best than mistakes. However, if you dare read this post entirely, even if you don’t end up taking all the steps, you will be in a position to make informed decisions. Such decisions that will allow you to turn your idea into a successful startup, and more. Ready? Let’s start with:
1. Enlarging your vision
Have you ever wondered how was Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple etc. were so quick at adjusting to this new normal? We all know they are big corporations so they have the financial means. But it’s not just that. They also have a plan and a bigger plan. For example, when Facebook launches a feature, you best believe they have at least two more coming, and you don’t do that by thinking short term. So, since you have such industry-leading examples, while not learn from them?
Let’s say you have the brilliant idea of creating a revolutionary app that will serve hundreds of people around the world. Well, that’s amazing! But… How useful will your app be 5 years away from now? If your answer (an honest one) to this question is “I am not sure” or “Not so helpful”, then you may want to rethink the whole idea. I am not saying this won’t give anything viable. What I mean is, you need to start thinking about possible ramifications that will keep your app or business useful to its users, customers and/or clients. There are a few questions to help you successfully enlarge your vision and I’ll give you a few:
- How big and how far can this go?
- What is likely to be the new normal 5 years from now?
- How can my business or startup position itself to not be overlooked in the future?
- What else can I possibly think of and introduce to the market 5 years from now, and that will take this app or business to another level?
As I said before, it may seem a bit much for someone just starting something. But believe me you need that. The road to a million dollars worth company is with obstacles. answering all these questions this early will help you stay on track while having a strong process. In the end, even if you don’t end up being a giant in your Industry, you certainly won’t be the “peas”.
2. Create a step map
Those who know me will tell you that I tend to plan ahead way too much and like keeping things structured. Well, if that’s a bad thing then I plaid guilty of all charges, because I firmly believe that life is a process. And creating a successful business is all about processes. That’s where your step map comes in.
This is where you dive in the details of your idea. Usually details mean a lot of hassle, but in this case it won’t. Provided that you have gone through step one, everything should be clear in your mind. You know where to start and where you want to end. The rest is just about finding the right tools to make that happen. Your step map should be as detailed as you possibly can, and you would want to write it down and keep it somewhere safe. Don’t just write the main steps in main bullet point. If you have a few ideas about a main step, write them down too. You don’t want to rely solely on your memory for these things. There are so many things that can happen in a day to which your mind or memory has to keep up with. So don’t rely on it for things like this. For example, create a business plan. If you are not sure how to, there are many apps available out there to help you come up with one that fits your business.
Once you have a detailed document outlining your desired process, the rest will start falling in place before you know it. Which gives us step three…
3. Focus on the immediate
It goes without saying that an end can’t happen without a start. So of course you will want to focus on what comes first. The main question to help you do just that is: “What do I need to get things up and running?”
Depending on your industry or the idea behind your startup, the answer to this will vary. But one thing for sure you will need to get the legal part in check pretty fast. The reason being that ideas and creations get stolen, and then things turn into a nightmare. So avoid that at all cost. If you have to spend a few thousand dollars to get some legal help, so be it. But to give you a head start, here are some companies or platforms that will help you while saving money:
- Stripe (Free): a good platform that helps small business owners to register their businesses, take payments and even issue stock. Basically everything to get you up and running, and hassle-free. Plus they have so many partners that you will find one for each need you have.
- Lawbite (2 free 15min sessions): a go to platform to schedule quick 15 minutes sessions on important legal matters such as intellectual property, Taxes, Entity questions. You can also download legal documents on the platform like contract agreement, NDAs and more. They operate primarily in the UK, but they can refer you to their US peers.
- Google Admin Console ($6/user): well they are not to present. They are known worldwide for being the #1 search engine. But what you may not know is that they have great tools for small business owners. Like Google admin console. This platform allows you to create a gmail account (or use an exciting one) and get access to business suite, tools and features.
There are many more. But if your business or startup is at an early stage, these three will help you get things in order, so you can be up and running in no time and legally registered.
But as you probably figured, it doesn’t stop there. Actually, this is where it all begins. Because, until you have more than just an idea on paper, you can change your mind on anything at anytime. However, when you reach the point where you are fully registered and have gone through certain steps, you don’t want to back down. Don’t get me wrong, you can, but don’t.
A common misconception about startups is that it allows a glamorous life with less time working and more time enjoying. But that’s not quite right. The truth is, having a startup or being employed by one is one of the most stressful things and probably one of the most time consuming. Not to mention the financial spend with no guarantee of success and/or profit. And if you have read this article up to this point, you are starting to realize all this. So this is where you start asking yourself if being an entrepreneur is really what you want to do, and if you have what it takes. If you are freaking out, don’t be hard on yourself. It doesn’t mean that you are not ready, it just shows that you are smart enough to understand that you have a lot to do. Fortunately, this article is the first of a trilogy, intended to prepare and guide you each step of the way. You will see that as time goes, it will get better and somewhat easier and that with the right process and team(s) you can increase your chances to make it big someday…
Want to find out more about how to create a successful startup in 2022? Subscribe to our newsletter and we will let you know once the 2nd and 3rd article of the trilogy are posted. Thanks for reading!
𝘓𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘶𝘱𝘥𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘑𝘢𝘯 06, 2022