Starting a business is no easy task. It requires a lot of time, patience, and especially money. A lack of time or patience won’t instantly be the end of your startup but a lack of money will.
This is why startups need to have their initial investments mapped out. Knowing what to invest in first will help the fledgling business establish a strong foundation upon which all growth is built on.
That said, this is actually harder than it sounds. A lot of startups are initiated by people with a dream but not a plan. This is why a lot of startups fail.
If you’re a startup or someone thinking about starting up a business, then you’ve found the right post. Here I’ll talk about what you should focus your initial investments on if you have a limited budget.
1. Researching product market fit
Knowing what product you want to sell is only half of the puzzle. The other half is knowing who actually wants your product. This is what’s called “product market fit.”
Marc Andreessen coined the term “product-market fit” in a 2007 blog post. He defines the term as “being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.”
Forbes has a great guide on how to achieve product market fit so I won’t need to spell every detail out for you. The takeaway here is that investing in research to find the right market for your product is one of if not the most important initial investments you can make to achieve financial success in the long run.
2. Getting a solid team
No man is an island — this rings especially true for startups.
Getting a great team that works with each other’s strengths and weaknesses is essential to every startup. After all, what good is a great idea if you don’t have the right people supporting you to make it happen?
Your team should be interested in the idea and the goal you’re striving towards. Above all, your team has to have growth in mind as the factor for success.
Remember to take care of your team as much as you take care of your customers. You can’t serve loyal customers well if your team members quit on you.
3. Making it legal and official
Making sure that your startup is properly set-up is crucial. This prevents problems like partners screwing you over and helps you find legal recourse when someone else steals your idea. It also avoids any trouble with the government once your business does start to take off.
Make a list of all the business requirements in the place of your business. It may be helpful to consult a business lawyer about this. If you don’t know exactly what legal documents to ask a business lawyer about, here’s a list of the top 7 legal documents for every startup that Entrepreneur has put together.
4. Building a great website
Every startup with its eyes on the horizon needs a good website. A website not only creates interest in potential customers but also drives these customers towards eventually taking the plunge to buy your product.
Now, you may think that building a website is reserved for those with coding know-how and you’d be mostly right. However, building a great website (even without much coding knowledge) is actually possible.
5. Getting your product noticed
Having the best product on the market won’t matter if people don’t know it exists or where to get it. This is why you have to invest in the strategies that get your product noticed.
These strategies include, but are not limited to, product demonstrations, targeting influencers, converting a group of early adopters, and seeking testimonials from people whose opinions are respected.
Getting your product noticed is infinitely easier if you’ve got a website. You can invest in getting great sales copies written about your product as well as using pay-per-click advertising to get people’s attention.
The one thing to remember is that getting your product noticed doesn’t have to be expensive.
6. Getting intellectual property protection and security
IP protection and security should be on your mind once you start investing in a website for your startup. You may think your small business is safe but the truth is a lot of small businesses are being targeted by hackers.
This is because small businesses don’t invest in their cybersecurity enough believing that they’re too small a target for big hackers. It turns out that being a small business is, ironically, the reason why hackers target them in the first place.
Getting adequate cybersecurity becomes even more crucial when you’re dealing with customers from places with strict data privacy laws like Canada, California, and especially the EU. Truth be told, a lot of businesses have actually gone belly up for non-compliance with the EU’s GDPR.
7. Growing your business
Businesses are like crocodiles: they never stop growing as long as they have what they need to survive.
Robert Sofia in his book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Success In Your 20s & 30s, said that “a business that stops growing is quickly overtaken by its ever-growing competition.” Not investing in growth means your business eventually becomes redundant in a market full of better options.
This is why startups should always look to the horizon and seek to grow their business. There are many strategies you can follow to grow your business like branching out to a new market, improving your current products, or developing new ones.
Whatever strategy you invest in, never forget to invest in keeping the customers you already have.
Building a startup is no easy task. You need to keep tabs on what your limited budget is being spent on.
Find the perfect market for your product and get a solid team to back you up. Make your business legal and official to avoid problems in the future.
Make a website for your business to help your product get noticed***** and don’t skimp out on cybersecurity.
Finally, don’t let your business stagnate and keep it growing.
Jessica spends 12 hours a day on the internet managing security for web assets and loves her macha tea