Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Startup
Having a bright business idea is not enough ammunition for launching any Startup. Before tipping toes into this lucrative market, you need to be aware of the hows, when and whats of the industry. It is true that when done right, Startup entities can be exciting, energizing, and profitable for their founders. However, they are also challenging to manage, difficult to scale, and often, expensive and incredibly stressful endeavours. It is for these and other reasons that deciding on the right time and circumstances for launching a startup is a concern many entrepreneurs struggle with.
THE STEPPING STONE
Information is power and it’s not truer than in the world of today. Research, research and research is your stepping stone into the world of startups. While researching and deciding on product selection and product enhancement is great, it is still one aspect of the bigger picture.
In the digital world, the service remains the ultimate product. An untapped market is great but don’t be fooled by the exclusivity of that statement – even if your product/service doesn’t fall in the untapped regime per se you can still very well succeed in an already tried and tested market.
For a fresh entrepreneur, you need to be hands on your research involving potential market space, competitors in play, consumer trends, operation processes and probable glitches along the way, etc. You must also take on the task of learning about the legal and corporate requirements to run and protect your startup in the country or city in which you will operate. Many small businesses make the mistake of :
a) not educating themselves about the legal requirements that would follow the launch of their business and
b) not taking timely steps in order to protect their business, idea and operations from apparent and inadvertent liabilities.
Whether you’re launching a recreational mobile App or a clothing line, you’ll need to find out what types of business filings and registrations are required.Additionally, nine out of ten times you will also need to protect your business idea through a confidentiality agreement when sharing with potential investors, partners, or core employees as well as by trademarking the name and logo you plan to brand with.
PUT IN MOTION
Once you have completed your commercial and legal basework, the next step is deciding on a timeline which is most beneficial and viable for your business. For example, when is the right time to incorporate your business so you can start promoting your product/service while protecting yourself from liability? If you plan on hiring employees, when is the right time to begin the hiring process? What legal and contractual covers will be required? When and how must you register as an employer? What are the tax requirements you will be looking at as an employer? By understanding the timeline in which these core matters need to be addressed, you can prioritize your tasks by importance and deadline requirements.
Remember, many small businesses fail due to mismanagement and unclear timelines. Prioritizing and setting targets is essential for establishing the discipline required to run a Startup.
CALL TO ACTION
Now that tasks and timelines have been decided, you have greater legal clarity of launching your new venture. This leaves you with the ultimate question – HOW? how will I accomplish all the listed action items, how long will it take and how much will it cost me ?
In a nutshell, the corporate and legal work needed to kick start this process can either be done by hiring a professional – meaning a legal service provider, which may be an entity or a person – or by yourself. For example, in Pakistan incorporation can be processed in three possible ways
- through a lawyer or legal services provider,
- through an agent certified by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) or
- directly i.e. by yourself via the online registration portal established by the SECP.
However, one has to be mindful of various factors when exploring or deciding on which way to go. Some of the crucial and relevant areas of concern when determining your chosen way forward are the level of expertise required for a job, the price quotient involved and the quality of service being offered. While bootstrapping is the go to approach for most things within a startup structure it is always advisable to weigh the risks involved by recognizing where you can do things yourself and where you must hire a professional. Be mindful, prevention is better than cure as it is not only smart but also cheaper to do things right from the get go than later on fixing a botched job.