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A Guide for Startups

By July 9, 2019 August 21st, 2019 No Comments

A Guide for Startups

Do you have an exciting new business idea? Do you want to know how to get started? You’ve reached the right place! This guide will share some essential information for UK startups seeking to make a mark in their chosen industry. Whatever your idea is, you will find plenty of useful information in this guide, which you help you turn your dream into a reality.

What is a startup?

It’s important to understand that a startup is different to a small business. A startup is a temporary organisation that is searching for a repeatable and scalable business model. In other words, it is a business venture in its earliest stages, where an entrepreneur is testing the viability of an idea. If the startup process is successful, it will turn into a successful business.

Home common are startups in the UK?

There are more than half a million new businesseslaunched in the UK each year, many of which are startups. London is a particularly hot location for startups and is home to about 200,000 startups, more than 150 co-working spaces, and 70 business incubators. 

The startups being launched in the UK are working in a wide variety of fields, including fashion, technology, virtual reality, real estate, entertainment, and computer hardware.  Various governmental agencies have done a great job of supporting startups

How to get started as a startup?

Creating a successful startup requires creativity, energy, and perseverance. It’s a difficult process that involves a lot of hard work. However, if you manage to turn your initial idea in to a successful business, it may be one of the most rewarding journeys of your life. Here are a few important steps to help you get started on your startup journey:

1) Ask yourself “why”

Let’s start with the most basic question: Why do you want to start a startup? The answer to this question will help you decide what kind of business you are interested in starting.

Do you want to earn a little extra money on the side or do you intend to create a large-scale business? Is it all about money or is do you want to improve the world in some way?Once you have answered the “why” question, reflect on your own capabilities:

  • Do you have a valuable skillset that you could use to create a successful startup?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Are you ready to be an entrepreneur or are you risk averse?
  • How much capital can you raise?
  • How much time do you have available?

The answers to these questions will help you decide if an idea for a startup could be successful.

2) Develop your idea

You may already have an idea in mind. If you do, re-assess its viability given the answers to the questions in step one. Hopefully it still makes sense. If you don’t have an idea, it’s time to start brainstorming. Some strategies which may help you come up with an idea include: 

  • Identify problems that need fixing
    Look for problems that can be fixed with a new of technology, a new invention or a new service.
  • Can you make something better?
    Is there a current product or service that is very outdated? Can you make it better, faster, or cheaper?
  • How is technology advancing?
    Is there a cutting edge technology that will become widely adopted in coming years? Can you develop a new product using that technology or can you advance the technology itself?
  • Can you make people’s live easier or more enjoyable?
    Can you think of a product or service that simply makes people’s lives better?

3) Research your idea

Once you have one or more ideas that you love, it’s time to research its viability. Your research will need to uncover the answers to questions like:

  • Are other businesses already selling a similar item?
  • Could you make it faster, cheaper or better?
  • Would the target market be receptive to your idea?
  • Can you offer the product/service at a reasonable price?
  • Are there any technical hurdles you need to worry about?
  • How could the product be manufactured? What other costs involved?
  • Is the market for this product or service growing or in decline?
  • Will you need the help of other people to create it?
  • Are there any existing patent which you need to be concerned about?
  • How will you protect your own intellectual property?
  • What additional costs will be involved, for marketing, taxes, permits and so on.

This great article identifies some of the ways to perform research.

4) Get feedback from others

If your research suggests that your startup is viable, ask a few trusted people for their opinions. They will be able to give you useful feedback and may even have some ideas for improving the startup you are developing.

5) Write a business plan

This is a critical step that too many entrepreneurs skip. You need to create a comprehensive business plan that explains what your business does and where it is headed. This document must include things like:

  • An executive summary of the business
  • A comprehensive business description
  • Marketing strategies
  • Competitive analysis
  • Business development plan
  • Operations plan
  • Business management plan
  • Financial plan

This article from Quick Sprout is a great introduction to writing startup business plans.

6) Setup the business

It’s now time to get some of the boring stuff out of the way. You will need to:

  • Define a business structure (company, partnership, sole trader etc)
  • Decide on a business name
  • Register your business
  • Open a bank account
  • Get any necessary permits
  • Apply for any trademarks, copyrights, and patents
  • Setup taxation details
  • Setup a website, social media profiles
  • Develop your brand

7) Secure finance

If you don’t have enough capital to launch the startup yourself, you will need to secure it from other people. This is where having a business plan really comes in handy — you can use it to prove to others that your business is viable. Some popular ways to source startup capital include:

  • Ask friends and family to invest
  • Obtain a business grant
  • Get a bank loan
  • Start a crowdfunding campaign
  • Ask angel investors for help
  • Find a partner with the necessary capital
  • Join a startup incubator that offers free resources
  • Talk to venture capital investors

8) Build your team and get to work

Once you have secured some funding, you can building your startup. This will involve several steps which usually includes hiring specialist employee, creating prototypes, lodging additional patents, developing your product or service, testing, working with manufacturers, and so on.

9) Launch your startup

Finally, you can launch your startup. Depending on the nature of your business, this may involve hiring more staff and opening a physical store. A strong marketing strategy will be required to launch successfully, which will include one or more of the following: content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing, advertising in traditional media, online advertising, and search engine optimisation.  You can then gradually grow a customer base and learn if your startup is going to turn into a successful business.

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