The beginning of your startup is the hardest part. You’re still unsure if the idea is good enough, if investors will be interested, and whether you’ll make any profits at all. The trick to getting ahead is getting started, and once you do, you’ll find the ball starts rolling. While there are many hurdles when it comes to startups, and not every business venture is successful, you should always keep your eyes looking at what you want to achieve. Here are 12 goals to reach during the early stages of your startup.
1: A Product
You don’t know what your idea is worth until it is a tangible product. Whether it’s a physical product or a service doesn’t matter – your goal is to create something that people would willingly spend money on.
Don’t worry too much about quality at the very beginning, as there will be plenty of time for improvement. Once your idea is fleshed out, work on creating something – anything! After doing this, you’ll have a better idea of the amount of work that goes into it, and this learning curve will only improve your ability to produce something better.
2: A Sufficient Space
While your startup may begin on your living room floor, finding sufficient space for your business is a goal you should strive toward in the early days. It doesn’t have to be a huge office space; even a room in an office building is a great goal to reach. This will be especially handy once it is time to hire a team.
3: Increased Knowledge
If you start your own business, knowledge will come naturally. If you put in the effort, then knowledge will come quickly. A masters degree in business management will provide you with an excellent education alongside important business-related skills. You don’t have to spend every waking hour working on your qualifications; taking on an online course will allow you to work on your business during the day and take classes at home in the evening.
4: Positive Feedback
There comes a stage during every startup where you must ask for your first feedback. This could be from professionals or family and friends, and either way, it’s always scary, especially if you haven’t shared your idea before.
The goal of positive feedback might not come straight away, but don’t worry if you receive negative feedback at first. Criticism only serves to help you improve, so try to take everything on board, and eventually, you’ll reach the goal of receiving praise for your work.
5: An Investor or Loan
When it comes to your startup, money is important. To get your business off the ground, you need to find an investor or a loan.
Make sure you come up with a detailed, promising business plan to sell your business; after all, you’re convincing people to spend a lot of money! The milestone of receiving money for your startup is one that should be celebrated.
At some point during the early stages of your business, your investors may ask you to get an audit of your finances; should this be the case, you can easily find a startup auditor online who will be able to come and assess things for you to make sure that your investors are happy with how you are running the business. Hopefully, this will all go smoothly and demonstrate that you are a responsible business owner so, should you need more funding in the future, investors can be confident that you will spend their money wisely.
6: A Marketing Plan
Marketing might not be on your mind in the very beginning, but it shouldn’t be ignored. The goal of a marketing plan is for attracting more customers and retaining the ones who have previously bought your product.
If you don’t want to manage marketing yourself, you can always outsource it. This way, you can focus on your startup while professionals take care of getting your business out into the big wide world.
7: A Functional Website
One goal that should be on every startup’s list is a functional website, and you should do this as early as possible. A website provides your customers with a place to find you and gives them an idea about your brand overall. Unless you’re particularly talented at web design, it’s recommended that you find someone to build you a clean, professional-looking website that will attract and keep customers.
8: Your First Sale
The moment every new business owner waits for – their first sale. There’s something special about this moment, so much that many still keep the tradition of hanging up the first bit of cash their business earned!
It might not bring you profit, but it will surely give you a boost of positivity. It’s the moment that tells you – yes, your product is sellable, and there are people out there who want it.
Watching the numbers shift toward a profit is a defining moment of any business. At first, you’ll be spending money just to get your startup off the ground, and making a profit might seem like forever away. The moment that you earn feels like you’ve finally made it! Cherish the moment, and if you’re not there yet, trust that it is coming.
10: An Employee
Most startups begin with the owners only, but eventually, you’ll find you need extra help. When you have made enough profit to afford to pay someone else’s wages, then you should invest in your first employee. Take your time while doing this, as you want someone who holds passion, talent, and a readiness to learn.
11: A Team
After hiring an employee comes employing a whole team. When this happens, your business is coming together, and your profits should be healthy. Creating your own team of people to run your business is satisfying, so make sure you hire the best people for the job. While this goal won’t come as early as the others, when it does, it’s a milestone that you’ll want to cherish.
12: A Plan for the Future
The moments when you reach certain milestones are some of the best moments you will experience when owning a business, but it doesn’t end there. While at first you will be focused on your first sale, your marketing campaigns, and how to get your business’ website up and running, eventually, when all those goals have been ticked off, you will need to look even further ahead.
Coming up with a long-term plan is a goal in itself. It shows that your business was successful enough to warrant a seriously thought-out long-term plan, and you should be proud of that. So, get out your notebook and sketch out ideas on where you want your business to be in five, 10, and 20 years.