Newborn Baby (My Startup)

BY: Isaac Yeboah

Every startup founder must be prepared mentally for the challenges and also be prepared to make critical decisions, to ensure the survival of the startup during turbulent times such as COVID-19.

Every startup has to be considered as a newborn baby and needs the right caregivers to nurture it very delicately in its initial days. It is important to note that your startup also needs the right talents from the beginning. You need people who believe in your vision and especially the value being delivered and are willing and ready to commit and sacrifice their time and energy.

Startup founders must understand that their ideas, either products or services need constant care and attention as even a minor mistake might prove problematic and affect the product-market fit. The following are a few steps to care for your startup Newborn Baby.

Research: It is important to learn more about the startup market and essentially the space or gap you have identified to develop your value proposition and customer segmentation. Key questions to ask include the competitor's analysis and what to compete on? What are the needs of customers? What is the type of delivery? What is the pricing model? What gap has been identified and what are the existing and future needs of the customers?

Knowing where to start conducting a viable market research plan is key to garnering essential business knowledge and the outcome can make or break your startup. Many entrepreneurs I know evade this critical first step, as it may seem too obvious. The startup must first identify the market you belong to and is only thereafter, the business can determine their precise target market and continue with your market research.

Understanding your Market: Understanding the market and more specifically, your niche will help grow your business towards success. There is the need to consider the primary and secondary sources of research. The startup must generate the primary research by directly contacting their customers. This type of firsthand information is crucial for understanding your buyer personas and segmenting the target market. The Secondary sources involve research generated from a variety of areas and made available on the internet, trade magazines, and other literature.

Building a Team: Building a successful team is about more than finding a group of people with the right mix of professional skills. Your team insights will help you lay the groundwork for a highly productive team that can communicate, cooperate and innovate in an atmosphere of trust and respect. Hiring the right people is the most important part of building a strong team and delegating to give people more autonomy is a powerful motivator. The entrepreneurs need to be ready to sell their vision to potential co-founders, core team members, or even middle or junior team members.

Fundraising: While it may seem too early for a startup to think about fundraising, there is the need to carve out your fund-raising cycles in the early days of operations. How much would you need to raise? Who are the active investors in your space? Raising capital is a core part of building a successful business. Having sufficient capital can mean the difference between success in introducing a new product or expansion into a new market. Fundraising is a process and startups need to fund themselves through a series of investments and capital raisings. As the business grows, its capital requirements grow as well. Self-funding, friends, and family is the best way to start prospecting for fundraising opportunities.

Do not stop Learning: The startup entrepreneur has no end to learning when setting up their business. Every entrepreneur must have an open mind from both external and internal stakeholders. There is so much to learn while interacting with people from diverse backgrounds that can apply to their own products and services.

I will advise entrepreneurs to read a lot and read books every day about specific skills which they lack. There is also the need for the entrepreneur to get a mentor to support in making critical decisions. The ideal mentor may not necessarily be a family member or the biggest name in the startup industry, but people who have gone through the journey before and can provide unbiased advice without being judgmental.

Andrews Ayiku
Lecturer
University of Professional Studies Accra Ghana
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