Do’s & Don’ts Before You Launch Your Startup
These days starting your own company or building an e-commerce site is as easy as ordering take-away food. With millions of opinions available online and various sites which make it easier for you to start a web page or an online store, it’s no longer rocket science to start your own online business. But and it’s a big but… what’s still a challenge is sustaining your business and its growth.
Let’s also get this fact right – there are no shortcuts – much as we’d like for our businesses to start generating profits from Day Zero. Nor can various tutorials online help you get your business off the ground and give you ROI instantly. What works is grit and persistence coupled with business acumen and knowledge. Of course, having a group of people working under you who are equally smart and hardworking also helps.
If you have been playing around with the idea of starting your business, then one of the first things you need to focus on is marketing. Marketing your product before your launch should be one of the most important things on your to-do list. Factor in building an audience with your prelaunch marketing plans and develop a customer or fan base, which will give future investors something to think about.
So, what should you do (and not do!) before you launch your company? Let’s take a look:
- Contact Lists – DO get your contact list ready in advance. Download all your contacts from Gmail,Outlook or any other email exchange or server, think of all the people you know who could prove to be useful allies for your business through any channel of communication. Then segregate your contacts into probable influencers and potential propagators of your product, those who could be an adviser and who could be likely buyers. You will need all their help before you launch.
- Website – DO get your webpage ready along with a landing page which has a signup form. Start getting people interested in your product even before its launch through teasers which makes them sign up for more information and details. Monitor your sign-ups and make sure you send a thank you email to everyone who signs up.
- SEO Plan – DON’T assume people will just find your site and sign up. The web is too big for everyone to find every website that’s launched. Each person who lands on your website came to it either through an ad, or searched for it, or landed there through a reference. Formulate a plan to get traffic to your website and if required enlist the help of a PR or an SEO agency or better still a content marketing strategic partner like QiWorks.
- Blogging – DO start a blog, because content marketing is your prelaunch friend. The more information you have presented online that links to your company, the better the prospects of SEO and find out if it actually works and is still a key component of your online marketing strategy.Work your keywords in these posts and use these posts to direct consumers to your sites. When you publish a new piece of information, publish it on your social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. to garner more views and response. The secret is to offer quality and useful information daily.
- Offer what you can – DON’T try to do everything at once. Decide what it is that you want to offer and stick to providing the consumers with what you’re good at. Do not jump into offering everything and anything just because your competitors are doing it or you think that’s the way to go. Take note of your company’s strengths and weaknesses, of what your people can achieve and can’t do and then offer your customers the best you can.
- Email marketing – DO start with an extensive email marketing campaign. Take all of your contacts and send them an enticing email, asking them to become a part of the early-access list. Inform them of what’s going on with your company, what you propose to do and make it as personal as possible. Send weekly updates to everyone who signed up and maybe some freebies if you can afford them. Direct them to your blogs and generally make them feel like a part of your startup.
- Listing of business – DO list your business on every business portal possible. It is important to get backlinks to your sites and one way to do this is to list your business in directories.
- Social Media Management – DON’T forget your social media presence. Start your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages and follow them up with various other social media accounts, those which are useful for your business. Invite your friends to like your page and share it, request them to retweet your tweets and follow your company page and send invites to your LinkedIn contacts inviting them to sign up to your newsletters or emails.
- Google analytics – DO make sure you track everything that’s going on. Use Google Analytics to track your webpage and blog sessions. Analyse the nature of your traffic and where they are coming from and which were the most popular topics. So publish, track, evaluate, repeat! Make sure you connect with your audience, responding to their comments and directing them to your web page. Keep a track of your social media presence as well, and find out which posts are driving more clicks, shares and likes. The more you are on top of this, the better your chances of being visible and getting more traffic directed to your site and business.
Finally , remember Winston Churchill who said, “Never never never never give up.” There are those that get lucky right away, but that’s just 0.01% of all success stories. It is important to know that it is not easy and it won’t come quickly, but if you are good at what you do and are persistent and are offering your consumers the best you can, then it’s worth giving it a real shot.
Starting a business may not be so tough nowadays, however, sustaining a business is tough. Making sure you are not starting from zero when you launch your product is the key to your success.
If you have been there and have some insights to share, do check in and write in our Comments section below. It would help thousands of would be, could be entrepreneurs get their act together.