how to start a startup

How to start a startup 101: a step-by-step guide

The very first thing you need to do is to have an idea, and since that’s pretty much the most basic of all the steps, and that’s probably why you are here we won’t spend time on that in this piece. The focus right now is to tell you every single step that goes into setting up and making sure your business has a fighting chance. So, here’s all you need to know about how to start a startup.

Your first steps

Once you have your idea done and done, you have to sit down and think about execution. Is this something you can do as a side hustle while you keep your day job? Or do you want to dive headfirst into it and put everything into the game plan? This can help you really work out how much time and energy (and money) you are willing and able to spend on your idea.

How to start a startup legally

Head over to Companies House and check out the details on how to register your company. If the process seems too confusing or technical, then you can also just hire an agent to do it all for you. Even if you are working as a solo part time founder, this can help add credibility to the work that you do, plus establish you as a true professional. Someone running their own business (even if it’s freelance) often seems like a better idea to people than finding someone off a generic website with hundreds of professionals. This can also help you stay out of legal trouble overall because you’ll be able to do everything by the book.

  • Your business will benefit from official policies and terms of service. Make sure you have these for each client you take on.
  • Figure out possible points of liability and then ensure that you are not only avoiding them but are covered if they ever do pop up.
  • Make sure your idea is copyrighted, patented, and whatever else applies. Make sure it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s intellectual property.

Get the right people

There are definitely going to be some people reading this who are thinking “what people?” because they do every single thing on their own and they do it well. And for those people, we have only three words to say: “find an accountant.” There are always going to be things that you do not know how to do, and planning for a more secure future for your company means ensuring that you have knowledgeable people doing the work that needs to be done. An accountant is just an example of a job that most of us typically don’t manage, and it’s one thing to wing it when you’re on your own, but when it’s a business, it’s not something we would advise. Similarly, find people who can replace you. There will be days when you need a break, fall sick, have a wedding to attend, and so on. Who is working on your business if you don’t have the right people? If funding is an issue, then hire them part time, but definitely get people who can work well with you. How to start a startup can be an easy question when you have the right team giving you the answers.

How to start a startup: Marketing vs. Sales

The reality is that marketing and sales are a marriage, and there is no comparison. Think of it this way: marketing helps you create a perfect picture of what you’ve got on offer, but leaving it without a robust sales effort means hoping the right people will just chance upon it as they pass by. A sales rep, which could be yourself at the start, will reach out to potential clients and show them what your offerings are truly made of. In the same way, reaching out to clients with a poorly developed marketing plan can make your idea seem confusing or inadequate. You can’t do without either one, so don’t expect to and plan accordingly.

If you’re looking for some help on creating pitch decks check out our advice here.

Don’t be afraid of hearing no

This seems pretty basic, but it’s often something people asking how to start a startup completely skip over. It’s hard not to get discouraged by failure, but when it comes to startups, failure is your friend. It helps you learn and it helps you improve your product. Don’t look at a client’s rejection as something that’s going to bring you down, learn from it and use it to enhance your idea and keep moving along.

How to start a startup begins with schedules  

Do you know the thing that kills startups? Mismanagement and exhaustion; you need a work-life balance that makes sense, and you also need to have a proper timeline for all the work that you do. It can be difficult to hold yourself accountable for work when you’re the boss, so get around the problem by giving yourself deadlines, producing timetables, and setting up schedules. Create your own SOPs and then follow them. Whenever you’re trying to learn how to start a startup, this will always be one of the most important lessons you’ll have to learn.

Keep looking for something new  

No matter how great your idea is, it may become obsolete tomorrow. Keep looking for ways to evolve and keep looking for ways to expand. A successful startup is one that is able to change with the times and the needs of its clients. The best example of this is Blackberry (which isn’t a startup at all), which essentially went from making the best phones in the world to having no real customers because they refused to follow market demands. They were easily replaced by iPhones and Androids because of this alone. So how do you do this?

  • Keep doing market research regularly, ask your clients for feedback, and keep their wish lists in mind whenever you do upgrades.
  • Check out the competition and see what they’re doing.
  • Hang out with your peers at networking events to see how the industry is changing. Are there any new innovations you can manipulate? Any exciting developments you can incorporate?

These are some of our most important tips if you’re asking yourself how to start a startup. It can be the most exciting and rewarding endeavour that you take on, but also the most daunting, so make sure you’re doing it all right.