13 Aspects Of Business Every Startup Founder Should Focus On — Before They Launch – Forbes

Getting ready to open the doors to your new business? Before you get started, you may want to spend some time evaluating what is important to you and your company. There are a million details that need to be attended to as a new business owner, and setting yourself up for success means taking a thoughtful approach to each one.

Focusing your attention on the key aspects of your business—such as corporate culture, your customer and, of course, your budget—can help start you on the right path before you’ve even made your first dollar. This focus can make all the difference in how your business operates from day one and ensures you have all the imperative details covered so you don’t run into bigger issues down the line.

Here are some of the most important elements every new business owner should pay attention to before opening their doors, according to 13 members of Forbes Coaches Council.

Forbes Coaches Council members tell what successful startup founders should be focusing on before they open their doors.

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Culture

The leader of any organization is the steward for the culture. They set the tone, the reality and the conditions for people to do their best work. While that might sound daunting in the face of everything else that needs to be accomplished, it really is as simple as making sure that how you communicate and drive decision-making is aligned with the values of the organization. Be a role model! – Cyndee Blockinger Lake, Blank Page

2. Your Target Audience

It is easy to get caught up in the weeds when you are starting up. The most important thing you need to figure out is who the client is and if they are willing to pay enough for the service to make your business viable. Without knowing what scale is and what value is ascribed to what you’ll do, you are wasting time and money. – Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

3. A Detailed Budget

Set a budget for expenses before you begin so you don’t end up at the end of the year wondering where all your money went. Do your homework. Know what it costs to market, develop and staff your organization. Lots of people will have suggestions for you and everyone will want to spend your money with promises of big returns. Stick to your plan, set boundaries, stay focused, keep track. – Erica McCurdy, McCurdy Solutions Group

4. Your ‘Why’

A leader can ask herself, “what experiences, connections and feelings do I want to create for myself, my employees, my customers?” Everything that the leader wants to create is because she believes the world is better because of it. Overwhelmed feelings happen when she loses touch with that “why.” Reminding herself of what’s at the heart of her creation recenters her so she can be her most resourceful. – Angela Moonan, BLOOM with Angela Moonan

5. Value Proposition

The one area that deserves a significant amount of upfront time is solidifying your value proposition because it enables you to embrace what will set you and your startup apart from other entities. Understanding your value proposition will allow you to develop a business plan that incorporates critical resources, key activities, customer segments and required relationships for future success. – Dennis Volpe, LRI

6. Your Personal Brand

Once you launch your business, you will need people to trust you and people to buy from you, invest in you and work for you. Building a personal brand before you launch will help you achieve that easier. Create and publish content to establish yourself as an expert in the industry. Nurture your professional relationships. Talk to the world about your passion. Launching will come as a natural next step. – Caterina Kostoula, The Leaderpath

7. A Sturdy Foundation

I have seen many new business owners overwhelmed by marketing and fancy to-do items. However, what is truly important is creating the substance for your business in the first place. Start solidly by doing market research, understanding your “why,” your niches, as well as the unique impact you will bring, and create products, deliver exceptional results and continuously listen to feedback! – Amy Nguyen, Happiness Infinity LLC

8. Applied Strategy Business Planning

There’s a concrete reason why only 56% of business startups survive their fourth year. Most do not begin strategically and practically with the end in mind. Years of facilitating applied strategy business planning with startups prove without a doubt that investing time, energy and money in that process is key to sustainable success beyond a big bang launch and first year’s sensation. Plan smart! – Leeza Carlone Steindorf, Leeza Steindorf Coaching

9. A Solid Marketing Strategy

“Build it and they will come” is not a  strategy. Regardless of how amazing your product is, think about how you’ll promote and sell it. How will you create awareness, build trust and what will make customers stick with you once they do choose to buy? Answering these questions requires a robust, flexible marketing plan aligned with a sales strategy that supports your overall company strategy. – Mark Savinson, Strategy to Revenue

10. Passion And Vision

If a startup leader isn’t motivated by a passion for their product, service or idea, momentum will be impossible to sustain. A leader is required to have a vision of their company that is shareable with others. After all, as John Donne writes, “No man is an island.” – Cindy Stack, Whole-Life Leader

11. Clear Expectations

Ernest Shackleton, the famous explorer, supposedly recruited a boat crew to travel to Antarctica using this ad: “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. The safe return was doubtful. Honor and recognition in event of success.” Startups usually require a specific risk tolerance and willingness to work long hours. Set the expectations up front! – John Hittler, Evoking Genius

12. Market Research

Is there a market for my business idea? Before launching a business, it’s critical to conduct market research to determine if there is a need and/or desire for your product or service idea. You also need to research your competition’s market dominance to determine if you have the marketing budget to compete. – Beverly Harvey, HarveyCareers, LLC

13. Your Story

Leading a startup is tough! Get very clear about where you are leading it to. Know and feel the story from the future, what it will be like once you get there. Head, heart, gut story. As you hire, bring people into your story. Spend time every day reconnecting to the story. In doing so, you are building neural networks and muscle memory that say “We will do this! We know what it is like to succeed.” – Brian Gorman, TransformingLives.Coach

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