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Start-up meeting

Five essential tips for launching a start-up

Are you a ‘big picture’ person? Have you always dreamed of being your own boss and making your ideas come to life? Many large companies such as Instagram, Uber, Amazon and Airbnb, started out as start-ups without knowing how big they would eventually become.

However, the success they achieved didn’t come without a lot of hard work, determination, and many failures along the way. If you’re thinking of launching a start-up and chasing your life goals, here are five essential tips for starting your own business.

1.  Set Your Goals

Before you get started on anything business related, take note of your dreams, interests, and goals you want to achieve in the short to medium term.

Once you pinpoint what your goals are, you can begin creating a roadmap and formulate a business idea that will make the journey clearer.

2.  Do Your Research

Before you jump in headfirst, think through the specifics of the business idea that you have. Starting a business is a big commitment and not everyone can devote the time and energy that it takes to become successful.

While you may have an idea of what you’d like to do and how you will do it, keep in mind that there are always a million different ways to do it and it is a good idea to learn from people who have done it before.

Even if you are thinking of going with a tried-and-true method, research the market that you want to enter in to. Try to answer the questions:

  • What makes people in this market successful?
  • Who is my target market?
  • What would it take for me to be successful this industry?
  • What could set me apart from the competition?

David Plumridge, a mentor at SPARK Deakin and founder of the luggage storage start-up, mindmybag, says it’s important to seek feedback outside of your immediate circle.

‘It’s tempting to ask friends and family to validate your ideas, however this is not likely to achieve the desired result. These people are often biased and don’t necessarily reflect the same views as your potential customers. A better option is to build a simple landing page and ask potential customers for feedback,’ Plumridge says.

‘Remember to listen and try not to ask any leading questions.’

'Remember to listen and try not to ask any leading questions.'

David Plumridge,
Founder of mindmybag

3.  Build a Network

It’s incredibly important to build a network for your start-up as it can give you a support system, access to new clients and customers, and it can provide access to people who have done it all before.

SPARK Deakin is an example of a network that you can join as an entrepreneur to receive support, advice, and community from a group of fellow start-ups and experienced business experts.

‘It’s extremely beneficial to surround yourself with like-minded people, especially those who are ahead of you on the same journey. Always keep an open mind when it comes to participating in networking opportunities and where possible, maintain a “give first” mindset,’ Plumridge explains.

‘Helping other people is a rewarding way to maintain relationships.’

The best thing you can do is to be always approachable and make sure you’re available to connect when the opportunities come.

4.  Create a plan

Start by writing down everything you want to accomplish and plan out a timeline of milestones you need to achieve these goals. Figure out what will be the most crucial factors that will have a direct effect on how quickly you can get your business up and running.

Be realistic as there is no point in having lofty goals if you don’t have the skills, the capital, or a team. Look at the opportunities that exist in your market and find a way to profit from them.

Your plan might include things like; create a logo, create a website, find a supplier, create a financial plan, and register for an ABN.

Lean on your network of experienced businesspeople if you have them. They will have a good idea of what is feasible and where you should focus your time and energy.

5. Launch Your Business

Although this is probably the most exciting part of the entire process, this is when the hard work begins, so you need to have your ducks in a row.

Be prepared for the time commitment that launching a business requires – you might need to work some nights and weekends to ensure its success.

‘Once you have validated your idea, launch quickly and frequently. It’s important to get your idea out there and start getting feedback as early as possible,’ Plumridge advises.

‘If you are working on your idea in stealth, you may miss the mark and get a nasty surprise when you launch. Always invest the minimal amount of time needed when trying to find product– market fit.’

Advertise, get your friends and family to share your business on social media, and encourage customers to recommend you to their friends through word-of-mouth.

Good luck!

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