With the advent of online businesses and the success many entrepreneurs have seen with their projects, there has been a rush of people launching their very own companies. While you had to have an office and staff to launch a company in the past, all you need these days is a web domain and a laptop. While the quick rise of online businesses and brands has seen increased competition, and given birth to many great ideas, there is a still a large percentage of these entrepreneurs who have almost no training in how to run a business.
These trainings can be expensive and time consuming, so we’re going to try and help you out. If you are one of the people looking to launch your own brand, here’s a quick check-list we’ve assembled to make sure you start on the right foot.
1. Know what you’re selling
Whether it’s a product you’re launching or a service-based setup, you must know what you’re providing to your customers. Pinning down exactly what you’re offering will help you plan your marketing, pricing, and branding in the future. It’s a good idea to list down all your features and then figure out what benefit each of the features will be providing. In addition to knowing what you’re offering, you should also know exactly how it would benefit the end-users. Before you can start to market what you’re offering to people you should be fully able to explain it and answer any questions on cue.
Once you have a good idea of your product, doing a competitor analysis is the next step. Find out about similar products or services in the market and try to figure out what separates you from the herd. If your idea needs more work to be better than what’s already out there, this is where you’ll find out.
2. Know who you’re selling to
Whatever you’re looking to sell, there’s always a market out there for it already. No matter how unique your idea is, there is a good chance that you’ll find many people marketing and selling something similar and a whole group of people interested in buying. That’s why you have to figure out who exactly your target audience is. A good way to do that is to create a ‘customer personality profile’. Give your target customer a character and a personality. This will help you narrow down what would attract them and how you can present your product to them.
To create a personality profile for you customers, you should consider geographical location, gender, age range, hobbies, and professions. When you’re actually doing your marketing, this will mean you already know exactly who you’re reaching out to and can put more effort in to target your audience directly.
3. Plan ahead
Most people think the product launch plan is most of the work but the real job is keeping it going once you’ve launched. Any plan for a brand should not only focus on the initial launch but also on how the brand is going to sustain itself in the future. Depending on your business model, you might want to adjust your marketing and overall budgets based on how well you are expected to do. Use forecasting and trend analysis to figure out how you might do and always make sure to have a Plan B AND a Plan C for when things don’t go your way.
This planning will include marketing strategies, resource planning, budget decisions, and scheduling.
4. Find the right people
No matter how multi-talented you are, it’s nigh impossible to start and run a successful business on your own. The most successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common: they all hire the brightest and the best and use the acquired skills to further their brand. A limited budget might mean you can’t go for the experienced bigwigs but that shouldn’t stop you from seeking out people who seem to know what they’re doing. Every genius has to start somewhere and you might find the next big thinker from a pool of fresh college graduates.
If the job market for a particular role is lacking, you can always go for collaborations and partnerships with digital marketing companies and branding agencies. There are a lot of service providers out there who specialize in partnering with startups to provide them resource support.
5. Get Feedback
No matter what you forecast or observe from your research, the true gauge of how well you’re doing is actual feedback from real people. If you’re doing a product launch, it’s always good to open up a beta release for early adapters so you can get their feedback and work the kinks out before going for a full launch. If you’re a service provider, make sure to communicate openly with your initial customers and get their feedback on your services and how you could do better.
It’s also good to have a number of people you know that you trust for their honesty and skills review your product or service. Getting several opinions will give you a better picture of how people perceive your brand.
So there you have it. Please note that this list is the bare minimum. We highly recommend going in to any new launch with a large amount of planning and preparation.