Everything flows. Once you write down what you want to create, you need to visualize it in your mind, then write it down again. You might want to start with a whiteboard, or you can end up with a text document, but you always need to write it down. Then you need to make sure you follow up with the action on what you wrote down. If you forget to do the steps, the best thing is to start over. We hope this blog will help you out with your startup planning.

Test the feasibility of your startup idea

The very first step of startup planning is to know if your startup idea is worth pursuing? I believe you should be testing. And by that, I mean that you should be checking to see if your idea can work in the real world. If you do not even start testing, how can you know? Just start by giving it a try. Start talking to people that use the service. See if you can make money from it. Sometimes, it is wise to take the help of an external startup consultant to evaluate your idea.

Set Goals

Without goals, you do not know where you are going with your startup planning, where you want to go. You also do not know if you are going in the right direction. The goal-setting process should be one of the most important and rewarding parts of the startup planning process.

Choose the appropriate framework for your company

The startup planning process will help you need to find the correct framework for your venture. You can use several frameworks, but you need to be aware of how they work and the benefits they can bring. Some frameworks are more fitting for your company or idea than others so it is important to choose wisely.

Define your founding team and priorities

One of the most important things of startup planning is to make sure you get the right team to work on your venture. The right team will not only help you succeed but will also provide you with the needed quality. Otherwise, you can get into issues that make you waste time and money.  It is the heart and soul of your startup, and it can never be underestimated in your startup planning process. Build a group of people who can work on different aspects of the startup. 

What are your strengths and weakness?

It is crucial to know what is your business, and its’ strength. Also, you need to know the shortcomings of your venture. Doing so will help you understand what your business’s company profile should be and how you can reach your target audience. If you do not recognize your strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats during your startup planning process, you are bound to encounter serious problems in your entrepreneurial future.

Know your competitors

If you do not know who you are competing with, you can not win. Learn everything about your competition, the market, and the buying habits of your potential customers. You should know every possible scenario you may be in so you can make the best decisions. But it is not just about knowing your competition. You also need to look into the existing players and get inspiration from them.

Understand your target audience

No matter how much work you do, it is no good if nobody wants to buy what you are selling. Fortunately, no matter how hard it is, there are always people who are willing to buy what you are offering. Your customers are looking for a solution to their problems, and they will appreciate that you have designed a product that can help them. But, without knowing who you are talking to, you will not be able to help them. Startup planning will help you to understand your target customer.

Identify your resources

While startup planning, by identifying your resources, you will be able to be more effective in your startup. By identifying your resources and understanding what you have to work with, you will be better equipped to plan out the strategy for your startup. We will tell you the most important resource that every startup needs to have, along with the tools you need to gather the resource from, in a separate blog.

Build a value proposition

Your value proposition is what will define your startup. Without a strong value proposition, you are wasting time by not doing the startup planning properly. It should explain the problem and the solution you are offering. You should make it clear and relatable to customers. You should describe your product or service in a way that will draw attention and inspire confidence in customers.

Grow your customer base

Once you have a solid foundation in your startup planning, your next step should be to grow your customer base. Your customer base is the people who will be spending the most time with your business, and therefore are the most valuable to your business, which is why it’s important to develop a deep understanding of their needs.

Recognize the real needs of your target audience

While startup planning, think about the problems and needs of your target audience. Whatever your niche, you have to target the right group of people with your products. How do you know you are making the right product? As Arnab Ray said in his VLog about market research for startups:

Research might seem to be a lot of unnecessary hard work. But if you are ignoring this, you are missing out on loads of actionable information. Market research is not only important before starting up, but also extremely important while managing and scaling up your startup.

How to grow a customer base

Create a marketing plan. Creating a marketing plan is probably the most difficult step you can take in growing a customer base. It is the starting point of the growth plan of your startup planning process. Most people think that all they need to do is create an amazing business plan, and then start building a customer base. That is not the way it works. You need to create a marketing plan. Spend time researching your competition. Once you have done the initial research through startup planning, start creating your marketing plan.

A lot of startups will say that they have a startup marketing strategy. In reality, it is usually that they have some vague idea that they put down and hope they get a response. We have seen this a lot. It is like finding an empty treasure chest and not knowing what you are looking for. What you need is a marketing strategy that you can use to market your startup. While startup planning, use a customer-centric approach to create your marketing plan.

Find out what potential investors are looking for

While startup planning, it is important to determine what investors are looking for from a startup. I think this blog about “what do investors look for in your business plan” will help you to understand your potential investors in your startup planning process. If you have to do a pitch to a lot of potential investors, it might be helpful to choose an investor whose vision is aligned with your startup. Otherwise, you will need to make all kinds of connections the more connections, the harder it will be to make your investors trust you.

Know where you are in your startup development cycle

Without knowing this, you will have a hard time figuring out which milestones are still left and which ones you already achieved. As part of your startup planning process, once you have the milestones identified, you can set up milestones to finish the development cycle and improve on the things you could not achieve before.

Prepare a financial forecast for the startup

A startup consultant can help you with the financial forecast in your startup planning process. It is integral to have a cash flow plan, and if you have the cash flow, you need to be ready to operate for 6 months to 1 year.  While startup planning, do your research on what is available, get an estimate for your startup costs, and prepare a financial forecast. It will give you an idea of how much money you need and at what point you will need some financial help. You will also get an estimate of what kind of investment you will get from the potential investor.

Prepare an investor presentation

The investor presentation is a statement or a pitch that describes the startup, product, or service you are offering and your goals, mission, and vision in a gist. This pitch is your pitch deck or the idea statement of your startup. While startup planning, start designing a solid investor deck. It can be around 20-25 slides according to your requirements.

Get the money you need

Now you are at the final phase of startup planning. Now you have to get money. You have to show it to people and secure the capital to start the business. But it is not as simple as going to a bank and taking a loan. These days it is hard to get money and harder to get access to the right investors. 

The first and most important step of startup planning is to find the seed capital you need. While startup planning, you should do this step in advance. So, you can make sure the amount is at least enough to get started. At most accelerators, startup founders need to apply and pay upfront before getting in on an incubator. 

Sourcing investors

Your startup planning helped you to get your seed money. Now you need to start going to meet investors. The better places you pitch, the more chance you have of getting funded. Always take your first pitch seriously. If they reject you, remember, you are the only one who can learn from it. Pitch until they are impressed, but do not oversell the idea to investors.

Start your startup planning

We have been through many stages of startup planning, from launch to execution, to scale, and so on. So we hope this post will help you out, regardless of your size or country of operation. 

We hope this was useful for you. Happy planning!

References:
Starting your business


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Author: BPlan Experts
BPlan Experts (www.bplanexperts.com) is one of the world’s top business planning and startup consulting firms. With over 1800 clients located across 80 countries, BPlan Experts is an authority in startups and entrepreneurship. BPlan Experts specializes in providing end to end support to entrepreneurs and startups to include ideation, feasibility. business planning, funding assistance, implementation support, and scaling up of operations.
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