Starting a new business is often a daunting prospect with no guarantee of success. Typically, you will have to create a business plan, find a way to pitch it to potential investors who may not be willing to share the risks with you, assemble a team of employees, launch a product and then market it accordingly. Even with all the effort, the odds might be against you because according to recent research, 90 percent of all start-ups fail within their first 2 years.
These days a new methodology is taking the start-up world by storm, making it less risky to start a business. The methodology is termed as the lean start-up. This has quickly gained popularity within the start-up industry, as it lowers initial costs and overhead business expenses making it easier and less risky to start a business. To make sure you are on the road to success you need to know how to run a lean start-up.
Start with a Website, and use Coupons to keep it Lean
No matter what sort of business you are looking to start you are going to need a website, especially if you are hoping to attract investors. To keep things as lean as possible, shop around for the best deal possible and use promo codes or coupons to save some money. We find that while most web hosting companies offer really good intro deals, long term we like GoDaddy.com for having reasonable prices and good customer service. Coupon Coder maintains a list of current promotions for domain names and hosting, definitely check them out before signing up to see if you can save 90% off (or more) from their regular prices.
Sketch out a Business Plan and Projected Income
One of the greatest mistakes entrepreneurs make is to spend too much time on planning and research. While a comprehensive plan is definitely important, you need to first focus on a starting point. Typically, a business plan is based in the belief that there is a market for a product or service that you base your start-up on. A viable business plan has an assumption that guides it, a target market, and it must be time-bound. It’s important to have a timeline, so that you don’t end up spending a ton of time (and possibly money) on an idea that just isn’t working.
Track your business progress
Creating a good starting business plan is an important early start-up step, and it will give you a guideline to track your progress. There are different ways to do this. Remember that it is not necessarily about income, especially in the beginning. Are you growing a mailing list? A social media following? Is traffic to your website increasing? These are all indicators that your actions are having an effect and moving in the right direction.
Research your target market
When your business plan is set and clear to every member of your team, try talking to your target customers and assessing their needs to find ways that you can solve their pain points with your product or service. Talking to potential users, purchasers, as well as partners about the start-up elements such as price, distribution channels, product features, and other elements will help you understand the value of your product or service to customers. It can also give you insight into how to market in effective ways.
Come Up With Your Minimum Viable Product
Once the research is done, the next step is to come up with a minimum viable product and test it. Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a primary form of your idea that will allow you to test out what you’ve learned from your market research with the least amount of investment in terms of time and money. Think of an MVP as a prototype that enables you to test the waters, with the goal to refine it into a better version down the line. Using MVP enables you to understand how customers will respond to the product, which will help you know what to improve upon or what features you should add.
Don’t Fear Set Backs
Accept that failure is part of the process, as long as you learn from it you are not really failing. To run a lean start-up, you must keep asking yourself ‘why?’. Focus on what you need to learn today, to be successful tomorrow. All the tips in this article help you avoid wasteful spending on your start-up while maintaining and increasing quality and productivity. A lean start-up has higher chance of success, and if it fails, it will do so without breaking the bank and will offer you numerous opportunities to refine and develop a product that solves real problems for customers.