How To Start A Super Successful Startup From Scratch

So, you want to start a business? You want to build a successful startup and make a bunch of money in the process? 

Great, but how do you actually start? We’ll share some simple tips and tricks in this article. The tips should help you stay on the right track. 

Are you ready to learn more about starting a startup? Let’s go.

Have a Great Idea

Every business starts with an idea. Most people believe they need an amazing innovation or a groundbreaking idea to build a thriving startup. That’s not the case. You can build a successful business in very boring and tested industries. 

Take Casper, the mattress brand, for example. Different brands have been selling mattresses for decades (centuries). There’s nothing groundbreaking about Casper’s products. They didn’t use new technology. They didn’t create a new product. 

But they did change the way mattresses are sold. They decided to speak the language of the new consumers. While old brands remained set in the old ways of doing business, they came into the market ready to disrupt the industry. 

Their success story shows you don’t need a groundbreaking idea to build a successful startup. You need a product that people are willing to pay for. 

Solve Problems

We recommend launching your startup based on people’s needs. Think about your target audience. Do they face any problems you could solve? Is there anything that they would do differently if presented with the chance? 

Listen to what people have to say. Listen to what they complain about. You can often find interesting startup ideas if you talk to people from your target audience. 

Make sure you write down your ideas. You can carry an idea book with you to make it easy to note all the great ideas that might randomly pop up in your head.

Planning A Startup – Write A Business Plan

You have an idea. You know what kind of problem you want to solve with your product (or service). Now it’s time to start planning the startup. 

I know what you’re saying – do I really need a business plan for my startup? Business plans sound very traditional and boring, while startups are fresh and exciting. 

While business plans aren’t necessary, we recommend you invest the time to write one. There are many benefits to business plans. Here are some: 

  • It’s easier to get funded if you have a business plan
  • It shows to investors you’re dedicated and calculated
  • It helps you analyze the threats and opportunities for your startup
  • It makes you better prepared for the things that might happen 
  • It helps you analyze your idea in a structured way
  • It helps you stay on track and focused on the important things
  • It helps you better understand the finances of your startup

As you see, there are no real downsides to writing a startup business plan. The only one we can think of is that writing a plan takes time. But the positives you get back outweigh the negatives. 

You can simplify the process and start with a one-page business plan. These types of plans are getting increasingly more popular. They aren’t as detailed as traditional business plans, but they do cover all the basics. 

A business plan requires you to define what you will sell. Who you will sell to. And how much you need to sell to be profitable. 

One-page business plans are also very easy to write. You can do them on your own. All you need is a simple template that you fill in. 

It’s also easier to change them if you see that you’ve made a mistake in the planning process. Traditional business plans are a lot harder to change in comparison. 

Find the Right Structure

An important step in starting a new business is selecting your business structure. A business structure defines what you can do with your business. It defines who’s liable for the success or failure of the business. It defines how much you’ll pay in taxes. 

Business structure is especially important for startups that want to get funded. Venture capitalists and banks have strict rules when it comes to financing. Make sure you pick the right business structure if you want to get funded. 

In most cases, C corporations are the best option for entrepreneurs looking to get funded by venture capitalists. 

While it is possible to get funded with an LLC, investors generally prefer C corporations since they are easier to manage with multiple owners. Investors are also more used to working with C corporations. 

While you can launch your startup as a sole proprietorship or partnership, most people agree this isn’t the best option. 

Get Funded (or Bootstrap The Project)

You have your idea, your plan, and your structure. The next thing you’ll need is money. 

While you can start a business with almost zero money, having funds to rely on helps when you’re starting out. There are two options when it comes to funding your startup:

  • Find investors
  • Bootstrap the project yourself

There are two main types of investors in the startup world – banks and angel investors. Most founders prefer angel investors. Investors often offer funding and mentoring. Their goal is to turn your idea into a profitable startup. They are willing to help you do that as it also helps them. 

The second option is to bootstrap the startup and fund it on your own. You can do that if you have the money you can spend or if you’re starting a company that doesn’t require much startup capital. 

Think About Your Marketing Strategy

Your marketing strategy is one of the most important elements of your startup. You can have the best product in the world, but if people don’t know about it, you won’t sell much. You have to make sure people are aware of your startup. 

First, you need to decide if you’ll use paid marketing or organic marketing. Paid advertising is great because you can get results almost instantly. The downside is that you need money to run effective campaigns. How much money? That depends. But in general, the bigger your budget, the more testing you can do. This usually leads to higher returns in the long run. 

The main appeal of organic marketing is that it’s cheap to do. You can even do it for free if you’re willing to put in the time yourself. Organic marketing takes time to produce results. SEO is one of the most popular organic channels. It usually takes months before you see any meaningful movement in search engines.

It’s up to you to decide which one you’ll use. Paid marketing makes sense if you’re getting funded. You will have the required budget to run effective campaigns. Your investors will be happy to see quick results, which will increase your bottom line and make your startup appreciate in value. 

We recommend you don’t forget about organic marketing, even if you decide to do paid advertising. Organic traffic is great once you get it since it doesn’t depend on your actions. Paid visitors stop coming to your site as soon as you stop advertising. That’s not the case for organic visitors. 

Copy your competitors

This is an interesting tactic you can use. We don’t recommend you copy exactly what they are doing. What we suggest is that you try the things that seem to work for the biggest brands in your market. 

Analyze what the biggest players in your industry are doing. Are they using Google ads? If so, it might be worthwhile to invest in that. Are they relying on social media traffic? This shows there’s an audience for that. 

Try to analyze at least 5 startups in your industry to see what works best. 

Find Your First Customers

Now that you have your plan and your marketing strategy, it’s time you find your first customer. Having goals is important, but don’t make the mistake of planning too much into the future. Focus on getting the first few clients and take it from there. 

Why is the first customer so important? Because it validates your idea. If you manage to convince one person to give you money for your solution, you can surely convince more people. Once you get your first customer, the question isn’t “if” anymore. It becomes “how”. 

The first customers are also very motivating for the founder and the workers. 

Surround Yourself with Smart People

Your startup is only as good as the people working on it. We understand that good workers and contractors cost money, but the value they deliver is well worth the cost. 

Make sure you build a positive work culture that encourages people to try harder. You want to build a team of highly-motivated individuals that are willing to work with you on your common goal. 

Startups often fail because they don’t find the right people for the tasks at hand. Investing in skilled people always pays in the long term. 

Examples of Successful Startups

Let’s look at a few successful startups that made it big despite the problems they faced on their journey. Hopefully, these stories motivate you to work on your business and pursue your dreams. 

Robinhood

You’re probably familiar with the investment app that’s so popular with millennials. Did you know that the founders had to make 75 pitches to find venture capitalists willing to invest in an app that hasn’t been developed yet? This goes to show that perseverance pays off in the startup world. 

Uber

The taxi alternative came into existence when the founders decided to solve San Francisco’s taxi problem. But the idea alone wasn’t enough. While the business model proved to be very profitable, the founders had a lot of problems with local legislation when they started expanding their startup around the globe. They managed to overcome the hurdles with hard work and determination. 

Allbirds

This sustainable athletic shoe and clothing business was funded with a Kickstarter campaign. People who believed in the project paid for the goods before they were created. Allbirds went from a passion project to becoming one of the most desired athletic brands in the world.

Buffer

This is a great example of a startup that didn’t launch before the founders had it validated by enough people. The founders launched the first Buffer website without the product. When people signed up to use the product, they were informed that the app was still in development. Once they received enough sign-ups, the founders decided to launch the app. 

Conclusion

As you see, there’s a lot to think about when starting a startup from scratch. Our suggestion is to devote the time and consider the most important elements of your startup before you launch. This will pay off in the long run. 

You can take inspiration from some of the most successful startups in the world. Founders are often happy to share how they’ve made it big. You can learn a lot by listening to what they have to say. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

You need money or time to start a business. If you start a business with no (or very little) money, you will have to spend more time working on the business. Start planning your business and do all the steps you can on your own. This is the easiest way to save money starting a business.

Every business starts with an idea. The idea is the first thing you need when starting a business from scratch. The best ideas usually come from real-world problems. Think of problems your business could solve.

The easiest businesses to start are the ones you’re already good in. Try to monetize the skills you already have. It’s easy to get paid for something you already possess.

You can start different types of business with $1.000. This budget should cover all the basics you need for setting up your startup. Try to do as much as you can by yourself to save some money while setting up the business.

Kids can start their own businesses. Check with your government and commerce boards what kind of businesses kids can start in your state or country.
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