It’s a very exciting time when you’ve done all the work involved with creating a product or service and getting it ready for launch. After all, you worked your tail off day and night to come to this point where all that effort is about to pay off in a big way. Or at least that’s what you believe. But before you get swept away in your excitement to launch your new business, it’s essential that you slow down, take a few deep breaths and make very sure you are actually ready to open your doors. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself which will help you determine if now really is the right time to launch your new business.
Is Your Business Plan Developed and Fine-Tuned?
Writing a business plan will help you avoid surprises that can be very costly or even fatal for your business down the road. Even if you think your business idea is perfect, you can still run into many problems once you launch simply because you failed to write a business plan. Remember that investors want to see the business plans of businesses they’re considering funding. So if you are planning on pitching your business idea to investors down the road, your business plan needs to be put together very well so that potential investors can see clearly that your business is viable, sustainable and has sufficient growth opportunities.
Do You Have Adequate Startup Capital?
One of the main reasons so many startups fail early on is due to a lack of money. This is why it’s so important that you have enough startup capital to open your business. You need to take into consideration the costs of location, equipment, inventory, utilities, taxes and employees and don’t forget to include your own salary. In the ideal situation, you should have enough capital to finance your business for 6 to 18 months or for however long you estimate it will take for your business to become profitable.
Have You Chosen the Right Business Structure?
Of all the choices you make when starting a business, one of the most important is the type of legal structure you select for your business. This decision will impact not only how much you pay in taxes but it will also affect how much paperwork you will be required to do, the amount of personal liability you face and your ability to raise funding. The most common forms of business entities are sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations. The business structure you choose should be the one that best meets the unique needs of your business. It’s highly advisable to seek expert advice from business professionals when choosing the type of business entity your startup will be.
Is Your Product or Service Truly Unique?
Sure, everyone and their brother who comes up with a new product or service thinks that their idea is the best thing ever. But you need to be certain that your product or service is indeed great and one that stands out from the others out there in a unique way. Remember that there are probably many similar products or services on the market already that do what yours are designed to do. This is why you must be very confident that your product/service is indeed different as you need to give consumers a good reason to buy what you are selling rather than the other options that exist.
What Problems Does your Product/Service Solve?
Remember that people buy most products and services to solve problems they’re having. If your product or service doesn’t solve a problem by making peoples’ lives easier, you are going to find it hard to entice people to buy what you’re selling. In fact, you may find it difficult to just to get the attention of your target market, let alone their money! If you have any doubts or if your gut instinct says “no, my product/service sort of falls short for XXX reason”, then you need to slow down and rethink what you’re doing. You may need to backtrack a little (or a lot) and do something drastic like a total product/service redesign. Perhaps your product needs a bit of tweaking to enhance it’s useability and practicability. Maybe it’s necessary for you do to conduct some market research to find out what your target market needs and wants by asking them. It’s far better to find out early that your product/service is falling short on fulfilling the needs of your target market so figure out what’s wrong and fix it before launching your startup.
Is Your Product/Service Easy and Fast to Understand?
We are an impatient species which we can blame partly on the fast-paced, technologically-driven world we live in today. Your product or service may be the greatest thing ever invented but if people cannot understand what it does and why they need it within a few short seconds, you’re going to have a really hard time selling it. Can you describe your product/service using one or two sentences and a couple of images? If so, great, you’re on the right track. If not, it’s back to the drawing board for you as you need to make sure the things you are selling are easy to understand and explain.
Will Your Target Market Want to Tell Others About Your Business?
The old saying “Your customers are your best salespeople” is just as true today as it was decades ago. This is why you need to create a buzz around your business to ensure that the people who do buy from you will take the time to tell the people they know about your business. Your product or service needs to be something that is interesting, unique and enjoyable to use. Once you get these three elements right, you’ll be able to sell and market at the same time because your paying customers are going to tell their friends, family and acquaintances about your business. It’s wise to take advantage of the power of social sharing by doing things like adding social media buttons to your website. Your goal should be to get as many people talking about your business as you can while focusing on gaining both loyal customers and important influencers.