Startups are all the rage and for good reason. It seems like every day we hear about a new startup getting a multi-million dollar investment deal or we see the team behind the scenes enjoying their flashy cars, boats and vacation homes. While the life of a new startup venture isn’t all flash and cash – there is a lot of work to be done – it’s clear that there are a lot of perks at the end of the tunnel. First, you have to get to the end of that tunnel if you want to enjoy the fruits of your labor. The key to forming a successful startup lies in the foundation you build from the get-go. Without a solid startup foundation, your new venture idea could come toppling down at the first sign of trouble. Yet if you can gather the right people together, keep the best attitude and put together a super-solid foundation that ensures your startup’s success, all that flash may soon be yours.
Why a Foundation is Important
A solid startup foundation is much like the foundation of a house, which keeps that structure in place even in the face of hurricane-force winds. In the business world, hurricane winds could be a fierce competitor undercutting you in price, it could indicate a mass exodus of customers to a competitor or it could be any other obstacle that you are likely to face as a startup professional.
Building a startup foundation isn’t difficult; it just requires the proper thought and planning. Here is a basic outline of a solid startup foundation. Use it for your own needs and you will effectively fortify your idea.
Your Original Idea & Business Plan
A solid startup foundation always starts with a great idea, but it can’t just be any idea. For you to be successful, your venture idea has to eat away at you. It almost has to force you to get to work. If you seem to be overcome with that type of ambitious spirit, the next step is to develop a thorough business plan. Your business plan will be your map that leads right to the end of that success tunnel we spoke of earlier. Plan for everything in that business plan and there will be few or zero surprises later on.
Business Branding & Image
The next step in building a startup foundation is to give your business a name, a logo and an overall marketing image. This image should put your business in a positive light, it should highlight your mission statement and overall business goals and it should allow your company to be instantly recognizable once your startup is finally unleashed upon the world.
Paperwork & Licensing
Now you will want to choose the proper structure for your business startup idea. Will you form a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC or a corporation? The proper paperwork must then be filled out, signed and checked to ensure accuracy. If you need specific licenses for building a startup, you will have to obtain those before your business idea actually goes live.
Building a startup is very expensive and unless you have the cash on-hand, you will have to raise capital using various methods. You can go the traditional routes by applying at banks and credit unions for loans and lines of credit, or you can schmooze venture capitalists; which will typically yield you far more extravagant amounts. Or you can crowdfund your idea by appealing to online venture capitalists the world over on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Expenses & Cash Flow
Banks, credit unions and VCs are going to want to know what you plan to spend the money on once you are provided with the capital you need. Your business plan should already include an expense sheet and a cash flow projection; but knowing these figures before the business actually starts can keep you from overspending the funds you do manage to raise.
Before you can hope to offer products and services to a hungry audience, you must come up with the proper packaging, price and methods for enticing prospective customers on a mass scale. This will require extensive market research, but your solid startup foundation will become even stronger as a result.
An Ambitious Team & Innovative Technology
Now that you know what it takes to form a solid startup foundation, gather some of the best and most ambitious people around you and use the most innovative technology to make your venture idea seen, heard and discovered. With the right idea, the proper planning and a foundation that can’t be toppled, you shouldn’t have any trouble achieving your startup dreams.
Image Source: Philippe Lewicki on Flickr
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