Today see’s the launch of our Startup Academy supported by Google for Startups! Over the next 10 weeks, we’ll share with you weekly tips on building a business from members of our community.
First up, Andrew Jones, Founder of AJ Entrepreneur Coaching! Andrew is a business coach working with companies across Wales and the Southwest to help better understand their problems and barriers to growth. Andrew then works closely with Entrepreneurs to put solutions in place and set goals which they are held accountable to. Keep reading to learn his five top tips when planning a business.
Tip 1: Focus on the problem, not the solution
The trap I’ve seen lots of startups fall into, is that they focus so much on their product or service, they forget who it’s for and why they're doing it. My advice would be to narrow down who your clients are and what problems they are experiencing.
There are several ways you can do this. One of which is market research - both primary and secondary to try and gain as much feedback about your clients or prospective clients as possible. It can be helpful to build a customer persona for your ideal client; What’s their gender? What age are they? What do they want? Why do they want it? How do they buy? When did they buy? Try to build as much information around your client as you can.
Tip 2: Complete a business model canvas
A business model canvas is a screenshot of your business model on one page. It's broken down into nine different boxes in three different segments; the desirability segment, the feasibility segment and the viability segment. The reason I ask my clients to use a business model canvas is that it's quick and easy to do. The problem with business plans is that they are extremely time consuming and by the time they're complete, things will have changed.
Tip 3: Use a feedback loop
Build, measure, learn. These principles are taken from the book 'The Lean Startup' by Eric Reese which centres around gaining as much information as quickly as you can through testing. The build phase is where you build the experiment, you then measure the key performance indicators and then the learning phase is what you do as a result.
Let's say you have a SaaS (Software as a Service) business, and you decide to increase the cost of your monthly subscription by 10%. The key performance indicator you’d measure here would ultimately be your sales. Was the impact on sales positive or was it negative? If it was positive, preserver, if it was negative, pivot and try again. This principle can apply to different parts of the business, so it’s important to continuously build, measure and learn.
Tip 4: Done beats perfect
The trap I've seen lots of startups fall into is holding back on releasing a product or service because they don't feel like it's quite ready. The reality is, they'll never be ready, it’s all about mindset. The key is to get it out there in order to gain feedback and make it better.
Tip 5: Find someone that’s going to hold you accountable
Find someone in your network that you trust and have a good relationship with and set up a weekly call. This can take as little as 10-15 minutes on a Monday morning. These calls are a good way to set your agenda for the week and understand what your priorities are.