Starting a business is exciting and there seems to be no better time than today to launch a startup. With the tools and network available, virtually anyone from any part of the world can launch their own business. Before you jump in, take a minute to pause and do these five things.
1. Evaluate Your Idea and Intention
So you believe you have an amazing idea that can change the world, your life, and the lives of those around you. But, what are you really in it for? Are you in it for passion or the money? Your intention changes everything.
There are countless other ways to make money and launching a startup is a journey not for the faint of heart. What the media tells us are mostly stories of startups who managed to cross the chasm by finding their first set of early adopters. They reduced their investors’ risk by following the lean methodology and understood that optimizing their resources to create value for the customer is their mission from the get-go.
Again, what is your intention? If you’re passionate enough, with industry knowledge, and willing to put in the time and effort required in building something that would serve others, then great. If you are simply wanting to start a business for the money, then maybe you won’t be motivated enough to stick with it for the long haul.
2. Deeply Understand Your Market and Build Personas
Your target market will comprise the majority of your customers to whom you will be marketing. They will also be the ones paying to keep your business alive. Diving deep and performing customer validation to rapidly test your idea is vital to building the foundations of any startup.
Start with the simplest questions to understand your customers, such as: Who are they? What motivates them? What would make your business the go-to choice for these people?
It will also help to create fictional representations of your ideal customer. These representations are called Buyer Personas. Personas help you understand their journey and allow you to create touchpoints with your targeted market. You can do this on pen and paper, a spreadsheet, or by using a free generator such as Hubspot’s Make My Persona tool.
3. Be Willing to Put in the Hard Work to Build Successful Habits
If you plan to succeed, you have to work even harder. A lot of entrepreneurs come in and imagine living the high life. While it’s very much possible, you have to understand that at least not at first.
Structure your life and discipline yourself by waking up each day with the intention to get closer to your goals. Build successful habits and, if you haven’t already, read and learn the timeless teachings of Stephen Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Below is an outline of the Seven Habits according to Covey:
- Be Proactive
- Begin With the End in Mind
- Put First Things First
- Think Win-Win
- Seek First to Understand then to be Understood
- Sharpen the Saw
4. Listen to What your Customers are Saying
Famous Canadian author and speaker, Brian Tracy, puts it so well: “Your customers are your greatest source of truth.”
Regardless if you have started already or are yet to begin your business, talking to your customers and being willing to adjust to continuously provide value gives you a great edge for your business.
There is a methodical way to achieve this and that is through continuous innovation. Ash Maurya wrote an awesome article on the way customers have changed in demand and consumption of products (or services), hence the shift in the way we create and deliver them.
5. Constantly Be Learning
Get out of the comfort zone by understanding the skills you need to learn or improve in order to be able to wear the many hats of a startup founder. We are fortunate to have access to a limitless amount of resources to pick up information and lessons from today.
If you are a founder in Qatar or the Middle East who require help building awareness and continuous marketing innovation funnels for your brand new or existing startup, we’d love to hear from you.