Making sales and figuring out what potential customers want.
Really, everything else can be done after you've proven that there really is a business opportunity.
When I give talks on this subject, my first suggestion.
Only start a business around something you've been doing every day, for the last 10 years + will continue doing for the next 10 years, every day, with or without pay.
This level of drive means you'll have expertise far surpassing other people + you'll stick with your niche, independent of any external circumstance.
Sticking with any one niche/topic/activity for decades is the best determiner of success... because no competition can touch you...
100% before you can do anything else any of these other experts mention: You have to know exactly who your customer is and the problem you're solving for them. Do not go build a product without knowing these two things. Always know your customer first; that audience you are so passionate about you want to always find products to make their lives better.
I decided to embark on the entrepreneurial journey over 20 years ago ... and haven't looked back. I love what I do, but being an entrepreneur isn't for everyone. The first two things you should do is (1) make sure that those who share your life with you are on board and (2) make sure that being an entrepreneur is really what you want.
Once you've checked off these two items, then I recommend looking at your business from the outside first and gradually looking inward. Here's a list of priorities:
1. Your Customers - no company is successful without customers. So, as a startup, you need to know (1) who are your customers, (2) how do you reach those customers, (3) how much are those customers willing to pay.
2. Your Team - determine the personnel gaps that need to be filled and have a plan to fill those gaps. These don't have to be employees. You may be able to fill some gaps with contractors, consultants, advisors, etc.
3. Your Business - determine your corporate structure and file the appropriate registrations. Now is the time to make sure you separate business from personal.
I believe that Lindsay and Gareth have the best answers and mine would be a bit redundant. To review, first, make sure that being an entrepreneur is for you (see below). Then, find a problem worth solving and then solve it the best possible way by truly understanding your customer. DO NOT do what most entrepreneurs do and that is fall in love with your idea versus falling in love with their customer. I can advise you to look at the following blog post to put into action what Gareth is saying and this book (Lean Customer Development by Cindy Alvarez) to be able to get closer to your customer's needs from Lindsay. There are other options as well if you want to dig deeper. Please reach out.
There are great insights from other entrepreneurs. I think about these as top priorities.
a) Self Exploration : Belief, Purpose and Emotions that drive you. Spend time to know
b) Self Expression : Ability to network, articulate and interest people to create an audience
c) Being Helpful : Take every effort to help others even in your worst situation
d) Jobs and Outcomes: Making effort to understand the jobs the prospective customer aims to complete from a very empathetic point of view.
Message me if you wish to understand in detail why I believe these should be priorities. mcoach.in
Determine market demand and viability of the business.
After that establishing proper structure for liability protection.
I agree with what everyone else is saying but would add a level of detail. I have spent 20 years developing and launching innovative technologies and business models in enterprise/B2B with some many lessons learnt. My key lessons would be:
(a) Having a product that the customer really wants (or has been actively looking for), that the buyer will pay/commit resources (time, personnel etc.), even at pre-product level. You can do this for both B2C and B2B
(b) Finding potential customer(s) that you build a relationship with where they give you a lot of feedback beyond the product because you need to understand the ecosystem you are selling into
(c) Knowing that the buying decision process and timeline in advance - ensuring that your buyer can get this purchase done
(d) Estimating 2x more for everything – double the amount/time etc for costs, delivery, decisions etc.
(e) Understanding that the stress and emotional journey levels are going to be very high and can be isolating. Free remedies include meditation, exercise and finding a group of people you can talk freely with about what’s going on
(f) Figuring out whether your risk and timing tolerance matches your product’s sales cycle
(g) Listening well and asking questions – reflective listening is really helpful with customers, providers etc.
(h) Don’t assume anything – sometimes the “pain point” or question you think you are solving isn’t so bad for the customer or that they frame it in a different way – be ready to learn all the time
(i) Read “the Lean Startup” - it is very helpful
You can do all this without spending hard cash but it takes a lot of time and patience.
Happy to jump on a call if that is helpful.
I agree with all the previous answers and find them very important to start a company.
As an entrepreneur and traveler, I have opened businesses in different countries and cultures.
I offer coaching based on the Five Elements and suggest to take all those key elements, in balance with nature's wisdom, when starting a company:
1. Clarity of your intention and purpose (Element Ether)
2. Clarity of your vision including: your product or services, what differentiates you in the market, who is your target, demographic, direction you like to take and strategy (Air Element)
3. What are your main motivations? How can you motivate others to join your project as collaborators, investors, partners, ..? What are your main potentials and how can you develop your leadership skills for this project? How can you motivate people to purchase your product/services? This is also related to your brand, image,.. (Fire Element)
4. How can you find the relationships and create the connections that are required for a positive, successful influence and integration in the market? How can you attract the right people? (Water Element)
5. What do you need to make it happen? Investment, space, product development, permits, licenses, ... This step is related to time and resources management to guarantee a successful investment. (Earth Element)
When all those points are clear, you can create a clear strategy and manifest the project step by step... from the base, up.
I wish you success on your project!!
Here are links to read more:
Blog about: Five Elements to become a successful entrepreneur:
Blog where I share some of my experiences:
Sales or retained users depending on your business.
If your product is not selling anything, but your users are coming back for more, that's a sign that you have something.
Make sure to install your Google Analytics right for this and have a look at the coherent analysis.
Customer experience is priority in any kind of today's business. First get to know and define the real vision/purpose of your business in relation to the world, your community or your customers... Why do you do what you do? Then think about how you can achieve that vision/purpose, in general terms, and then what is the resulting product or service you are providing. This way you will see the critical path of your business. Anything that you see on that critical path, is your top priority, above money, above anything, and the rest is secondary. Focus on your purpose!