Know What Startups Need? Let this post serve as a virtual brainstorming session ... Photo by CC user scobleizer on Flickr

Photo by CC user scobleizer on Flickr

Are you thinking about starting a new business? Looking forward to a new startup? Before you get all set to launch, you need to understand what startups need if you want yours to be a success.

Visiting Cards

This might sound like a very simple thing but you will be surprised how many startups get this wrong. Your business card speak a lot about you, your creative team and your company. It is like a representative of your startup, the first impression of your startup.

Make sure you hire the services of an expert like Printastic.com who know what they are doing. The design is important, but so is the quality of the card on which the printing is done. Most card printing companies run an offer where you are allowed some free samples. Make sure you make the most of this offer so you know what you are paying for.

Without a business card, clients and potential clients will not take you or your enterprise seriously.

Product should be Solid

You need to have a solid product because without one, you are simply wasting your resources. One of the best ways to come up with product ideas is to identify a problem and then find a solution. People are looking for solutions and they are willing to pay if it helps them with their problems. You need to stay focused on solving the problem. Do not try to incorporate too many features otherwise you run the risk of ruining the product. There is a very simple formula that goes like this: value = benefit – cost.

Timing is Paramount

Every business or industry has a lifecycle and yours is no different. This is how it is and how it will always be. This means that every opportunity has a window time and if you fail to mark your presence during that window time, then you have simply missed the opportunity.

When a new innovation breaks through, the market is young and vulnerable, which means that there is little competition and hence, they are easier to enter and conquer. But once the window time has passed, competition increases and time comes when the market is simply saturated. This is when many exit the industry looking for new markets to enter. A typical startup office is well on its way when following the “fast follower” strategy.

Competition

Too much competition can saturate a market finally killing it in the end. There needs to be a balance in the equation. So make sure that the market you are entering has little or no competition. If there is some competition, then it is marvelous because it simply means that there is a demand for the product that you are developing. All you have to do is to do a better job and build something that is more useful and less expensive.

Excess competition is a dynamic factor that you will witness in the latter half of the innovation cycle where startups are more or less copying each other. This is also the primary reason why you should focus more on markets that are either yet to be tapped or in their early years.

If the market is too old and stagnant, then there is an opportunity too, it means that the time is right for a disruptive product that will take the market by storm. Something that will shake things up and make consumers see things in new light.

The Financial Aspects are Pivotal

Launching a startup is not easy, and without proper financial backup, things can go south pretty quickly. You will need money to invest in your idea and develop a product that solves a problem. You will also need to factor in the time gap between accounts payable and accounts receivable. This will allow you to calculate your working capital and fill in the gaps.

Make sure you understand the financial risks that are associated with the product. When you are starting with the development of your product, always have a long-term view of things, developing a product is not enough but you will also need to market it. You will need to make sure that it reaches your target audience. Then there is the feedback which will mean more development and some tweaking around.

Just because you think something is good to go does not mean that is always the case. Also, just because something works well in the office, lab, or testing grounds, does not mean it will work that well in reality with actual customers.

Team

Having a competitive team is crucial. After all the team is what will win you the competition and get your business name out there. Make sure you hire the right people. Your team members should be as confident of your product as you are, otherwise they will not put their heart into it.

In the beginning, there will be little money to play around with and no money coming in, so morale could suffer if there are delays or friction on the team. If the team is not confident and cordial to one another, then your startup can run into trouble.