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8 Questions Every Startup Entrepreneur Must Answer

Alisha Shibli
Nov 22, 2019
Asking the right questions can help you build an innovative, scalable and profitable business enterprise.

There is no better time than the present to let your startup dreams take flight. The Internet and social media have changed the rules of selling and marketing. Thanks to options such as angel investors and crowdfunding, obtaining capital is well within the reach of anyone with a great idea.

There are dozens of apps and software to handle everything from balance sheets to project management, which allows entrepreneurs to focus on the bigger picture.

While there is no fixed formula for setting up a successful startup, new entrepreneurs must ask themselves at least these 8 questions in order to determine if they have what it takes and how to go about acquiring what they don’t have.

1. How do I know if I’m capable of starting a business?


Self-belief is the most important attribute of any entrepreneur. It is what inspires you to shake things up, step out of your comfort zone, and take risks. However, it is equally important to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in a realistic way. Before you venture out on your own, ask yourself the following questions:

● Are you someone who likes to take initiative rather than just doing what is required of you?
● Do you have the knowledge, experience, and aptitude to make crucial business decisions?
● Do you have the energy and the bandwidth to stretch yourself beyond the 9-5 work schedule?
● Are you ready to put yourself out there and network with people who can help you get work done? They could be anyone from potential customers and investors to lawyers, accountants, and third-party vendors.
● Are you ready to persevere no matter what the situation?
● Are you a creative problem-solver?

If the answer to any of the questions mentioned above is No, taking up a course or training, reading books or articles and talking to an expert or mentor might help you develop the skills and attitude necessary to be an entrepreneur.

2. I have a business idea. What should I do next?


Thoroughly researching your idea is crucial before you decide to execute it. Contrary to what most budding entrepreneurs believe, it is possible that more than one person had the same great idea.

Do your research and once you’re sure that what you have is unique, go ahead and make your business a reality. Get cracking on fleshing it out and creating a scalable business plan around it. And while you’re doing that make sure you get a domain name and begin developing your website before someone else takes it.

Here, you have the opportunity to get creative and get a domain name that represents your idea in the best possible light. One of the ways to do this is to register the domain name on a new domain extension. For example, if you’re planning to start an eCommerce business you could go with .store. Or if you have the next best tech innovation, accentuate it on .tech.

New domain extensions such as .TECH, .STORE, .ONLINE, .SPACE, .SITE, .PRESS, etc allow you to get domain names that are short, simple, memorable, and worthy of your brilliant idea.

3. How do I determine my startup costs and other expenses?


Calculating your startup costs before launching your business will help you determine how much revenue you need to make to float. It will also allow you to fairly estimate profits, attract investors and apply for loans.

While the costs vary from business to business, there are some elements that are intrinsic to most. These include office space, equipment and supplies, permits and licenses, utilities, insurance, legal and accounting fee, advertising and marketing, and employee salaries.

Every cost that you expect to incur must be well-researched and clearly stated.

4. How can I raise funds for my startup?


Venture capitalists and angel investors are always looking for innovative, scalable and potentially profitable business ideas to invest in. However, they tend to be extremely selective about where they put their money, and understandably so. Until you can catch the attention of an investor, be prepared to put in your own money for the initial lift-off. You can also rely on friends and family, bank loans or crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

To convince investors, you need a strong investor pitch as well as some initial traction. This all comes together with a working prototype of the product, talented team members with relevant backgrounds and initial customers and revenue.

Your investor pitch should roughly cover the following:

● Company overview
● Mission and vision
● Team members, their background and achievements
● The problem your business aims to solve
● Your solution, and why it is better than existing solutions
● The target market and opportunity
● Revenue model
● Competitive analysis
● Traction
● Marketing plan
● Amount of capital needed

Your investor pitch should be short and precise with well-researched information. Also, spend some time to make your pitch deck look professional and visually appealing.

5. What are some of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make that I can avoid?


Lack of experience, overconfidence, and unrealistic ambitions can often lead new entrepreneurs to make mistakes. The most common ones include:

● Not raising enough capital
● Overestimating profits and underestimating expenses
● Being too confident of success
● Not researching the market or the product properly before launching
● Hiring the wrong team
● Using the wrong marketing strategy
● Trying to expand the company too soon
● Not understanding or underestimating the competition
● Being too rigid and not adapting well to change
● Pricing their product wrong
● Not focusing enough on product quality and customer service
● Taking too long to build the product or the business

Mistakes and missteps are inevitable but you can be better equipped to avoid them. Or you could deal with them when they occur by being more meticulous in your planning, taking advice from the right people, being practical in your decision-making and always putting the customer and the product first.

6. How do I set a successful marketing strategy?


Your consumer persona is the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. It will determine the messaging, tone and the channels that you use to market your products and services. When coming up with a strategy, ask yourself the following questions:

● What are the demographic features of your target audience? (age, gender, income, geography)
● What are their aspirations?
● Which channels do they use to derive their information?
● What are their interests and preferences?
● What kind of buying behavior do they exhibit?

You also need to take into account the following aspects of your business and product:

● Your product’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
● Your brand’s personality
● Your marketing budget
● Your marketing team’s strengths and weaknesses
● Your product/service’s key features

Marketing strategies are highly result-oriented and involve a lot of trial and error. While it is important to be cautious, you should also be open to experimentation to find what works best for your company and your consumers.

7. What do I do to drive traffic to my website?


Doing paid ads on search engines and social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram is an effective way to drive traffic to your website. However, not every business has a sufficient marketing budget to buy online ad space.

Here, content can be a powerful tool to get high-volume of organic traffic to your website. Relevant, good-quality, fresh, topical, and SEO optimized content can improve your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings. So can backlinks from other authority websites. You can also leverage your expertise by authoring articles or creating content that can be published on other platforms.

Finally, adopt a smart social media strategy that involves effective implementation across the right channels, creative messaging that resonates with the audience and prompt response to user’s likes and comments.

8. How do I get started with customer service?


Always putting the customer first is the right approach to setting up and running a successful business. Customer satisfaction is even more vital in present times. Product reviews and feedback are available online and can significantly influence the purchase decision of potential buyers.

Every business needs an efficient, intelligent, and streamlined team to deal with customer queries and issues. Each member needs to be empowered to interact with customers in a courteous and meaningful way and provide the best possible solution to their problems in the least possible time. Set up social listening tools to keep track of what customers are saying about you.

Customers utterly despise being put on hold for several minutes when trying to reach a customer care executive. An efficient way to avoid long wait times is to share solutions to the most common problems within the website or mobile app. You can also provide a 24-hour chat helpline to answer user queries promptly. If you do not have a team large enough to handle customer support, you may want to consider outsourcing this to a third party.

Conclusion

Before taking the entrepreneurial plunge, it is important to realistically evaluate your personal, professional and financial strengths and weaknesses. However, your vulnerabilities should not deter you from chasing your dreams. Rather, they should be treated as learning opportunities that will help you build a business that will grow and flourish for many years to come.




Alisha is a Senior Content Marketing & Communication Specialist at Radix, the registry behind some of the most successful new domain extensions, including .STORE and .TECH. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Dec 1, 2019 7:28pm
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