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Top Ten Strategies for Launching a Successful Low-Cost Startup

September 4, 2010

 

With Labor Day, the official end of summer, rapidly approaching it’s a perfect time to get very serious about launching or improving your startup. I thought it was a perfect time to share my top ten list for creating successful business ventures. Follow these simple recommendations and you will see the positive results in “taking care of business”.

1) Study your competition – Research other businesses similar to the one you want to launch. Use secret shopper methods and phone inquiries. Look for a someone who has already done what you want to do and develop a mentoring relationship. Entrepreneurs are generous people; many will share their stories with you because they love to talk about their companies.

2) Understand the marketplace:

‘Not only if there is a gap in the market, but a market in the gap.’

Get feedback from potential customers by discussing your startup ideas with others. By listening to the voices of your imagined or potential customers and identifying their unfulfilled needs, you can create a business that provides a unique customer experience and really sets you apart.

The Japanese call this ‘Going to the Gemba’

3) Give yourself a competitive edge – Offer something different from your competition

4) Be systematic – use your business plan as a guide to logically take you through all the steps necessary to launch a successful startup

5) Use your budget – It’s not about putting one together – you don’t simply cross budget off your list after you’ve put the numbers together and

file it away in your drawer or on your hard drive. Review it constantly to see if your estimates proved correct. If not, get out the red pencil and REVISE.

6) Focus on driving your sales in an upward direction – Revenue and gross margin are the most important numbers on your spreadsheet. If you don’t understand what these terms mean, study them carefully until you absolutely get how important they are to your success.

7) My mother always told me that numbers don’t lie – Statistically, 50% of all startups will still be in business five years later. This is made possible by understanding that It’s NOT about your gut instincts – it’s all about the numbers. The more a new entrepreneur understands that this is not merely a cliché, the more likely s/he is to launch a successful startup and grow into a viable business that lands on the plus side of the 50/50 equation. Instinct can make a business extremely successful – if it’s backed up by winning numbers.

8. Spend money on getting the help you need from professionals – The right advisors can make or break a new business. You need to develop an inner circle that picks you up when you fall.

9. Keep yourself organized – We’ve all seen the caricature of the creative, big thinking entrepreneur who spends all day spewing orders at his team. Eventually you may be able to afford to hire others to keep you organized, but in the beginning, keeping your ducks in a row is a key element to getting off the ground.

10. Discipline yourself – Review the numbers, regularly gather your key advisors around you and brainstorm about taking the company to the next level. Measure, review, strategize, implement improvements and fresh ideas. This is where the rubber meets the road.

Do you have some other recommendations that make your top ten list for successful startups?  Please feel free to share them in the comment section.

Have a safe and restful holiday weekend.

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