When I started my first business in 1994, I had no idea about the importance of having a startup business strategy. In the last 10 years, I have grown my knowledge and fully understand how beneficial it is to have a business strategy, especially as a startup business. I have worked with hundreds of startup businesses and there is always a 7 step strategy I share with them; and today, I am going to share this with you.
1. Define Your Business & Elevator Pitch
The first step in my 7 step business strategy is to define your business and elevator pitch. For example; you are in a lift with Richard Branson. He turns to you and says ‘what do you do?’. You have less than 30 seconds to describe what your business does. What would you say?
Think about the following;
Your ideal customer (we will cover this off a bit later) The product/service you are selling, and the pain you are solving Whether you are selling online, offline or; both Your USP; what makes you different from your competitors?
2. Define Your Goals As a startup business, you will need to put goals in place that are attainable, otherwise you will not have something to work towards. A lot of time and effort will go into a long-term plan of action which can be set at a later stage however, you should be thinking about short-term goals that you can achieve in the first 6 – 12 months.
3. Define Your Target Customer
To make your startup business a success, you need to define your target customer. This is a key part of your business strategy. When deciding on your target customer, you will need to ask yourself the following questions;
Is your target customer male, or female?
How old is your target customer? Are they married, and do they have children? What are their hobbies, and where do they live? How old are they, and how much do they earn? You want to paint a picture, of your target customer, and give them a name. You need to really think about your niche market and define them in as many relevant ways as possible.
4. SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis will help you identify your positives and negatives inside your business. You identify, measure and analyse your strengths, weaknesses, opportunity and threats. Doing this will help you improve your decision-marking and redefine strategies. As the business owner, you need to know where your expertise lies, so that you can bring the right people into your business, with the right experience to help drive it forward. Really think about where your strengths and weaknesses lie within the business and build the right team around you.
5. Do Your Competitor Research
Starting a new business is a learning process, and you will have to do a lot of research. A key part of this, is researching your competition to see exactly how they are marketing their business, and exactly WHO they are marketing to. Spend some time and make a list of your competitors. What are their strengths and weaknesses, how are they marketing online and how can YOU make your business stand out?
6. Cash Flow Forecast
Understanding how you are going to make money, is crucial, however it is the least entertaining and enjoyable part of creating a business strategy. Every business owner has to face the mundane tasks of creating a cash flow projection. If this is something you cannot do, bring someone in who can do this for you, and who understands exactly what is needed.
7. Digital Marketing Strategy
Regardless of whether you are selling B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer), having a Digital Marketing Strategy is key when it comes to launching a new business, or launching a new product/service within an existing business. My work as a business growth expert is to demystify the digital world, and give you the advice, and tools you need to use to have a successful, socially-savvy business. I have created a Digital Marketing Guide that will share with you all of the important factors that you need to consider when creating a Digital Marketing Strategy. This guide is completely free of charge, and can be downloaded here. I hope my 7 step startup business strategy will help turn your business into a success!