how-to-start-a-business

Step-by-Step Guide On How to Start a Business

I’ve devoted years of my life putting together all the materials and resources that have helped me along the way of becoming a digital entrepreneur and head of business development for a tech startup.

I thought it just made sense to document those things along the way so that I could form a more in-depth understanding by writing about it, and you, my reader, could gain insights and expertise, without spending hours and hours of research.

In this post, I’m assembling all the resources you need to get going with a business if you’re ready to leap becoming a digital entrepreneur. I suggest there are four key areas when starting your business, which we’ll group under the acronym of MOVE, standing for:

  • Mindset
  • Operations
  • Velocity (momentum)
  • and Execution

Each of those areas needs to be mastered to design, launch, and iterate a successful business. This isn’t a size fits all model, neither the only one possible. But it is a model that can help you.

Let’s look at each of them.

Mindset

When starting a business, in particular, a digital business, you should have a 10X mindset. The reason is you might be starting a venture in a competitive space; none knows your brand, you might be missing the budget to grow it steadily.

Thus, you need to think and act smart. You can’t rely on conventional wisdom, or already walked paths. While business best practices will be your baseline, you will need to have a growth mindset, where each action you take needs to be measured and deemed successful if it gives you massive traction.

Therefore, you’ll only select those strategies and tactics that will give you a competitive edge, and that enable fast pace growth. For that matter, you need to consult the resource below:

Moonshot Thinking: When Growth Marketing Becomes All About The 10X Rule

Operations

In a digital business, setting up the operations doesn’t necessarily mean to build up physical facilities. Instead, that is about drafting a business model that will allow you to be competitive in the marketplace.

This process isn’t a one-time thing. Indeed, before your business model would take off, you’ll need to iterate it over and over again.

When will your business model be competitive? Primarily when it has reached:

  • Recurring income
  • Flywheel effects
  • And fat margins

In short, the right business model will be able to have a built-in monetization strategy that generates income, based on repeatable processes, that are sustainable in the long run.

Also, your business model will need to leverage on a flywheel effect, where monetization powers up your brand, rather than diluting it. In other words, when you start making money, that monetization needs to reinforce your brand, so that more people will want to deal with your company.

As your brand gains momentum, you can leverage it to enjoy higher and higher margins. When you enjoy fat margins (there isn’t a fixed percentage, but it depends on the industry and competition), that’s when you’ve mastered the operational part.

In general, the more the gap between revenues and costs increases (revenues grow faster than costs), the more you’re on the right path to building a long-term competitive advantage.

For that matter, you’ll need a few resources. First of all, you can start from a simple one-page business plan:

How to Write a One-Page Business Plan

This business plan will help you to come up with a business model to test in the marketplace:

30 Successful Types of Business Models You Need to Know

You can use several tools to draft your business model:

You can use any of those tools, or combine the approaches from each of them to draft and thinker on your business model.

In this phase, what matters is to come up with a business and marketing strategy that allows you to test and iterate your business model, quickly. For that matter you can refer to the resource below:

Business Strategy Guide

It is important to remark that strategy isn’t about getting bogged down in theories and dozens of pages of plans. You need a simple checklist of what to do next.

If you’re spending more than 10-20% of your time, in general, theorizing, you might be wasting your time. Indeed, a good chunk of it will be spent in executing, gathering feedback, seeing what works and what doesn’t and go back to tweaking your business model, until it starts to fit the market.

Tools like the bullseye framework used by DuckDuckGo founder and the lean startup methodology are great companions in this phase.  The most important thing is that you need to gain velocity and momentum!

Velocity and Momentum

At this stage, before you go to the execution stage, it is crucial you know what distribution channels you can tap into. For that matter, you need to prioritize on the acquisition or growth channel that might work best, based on the strategy you picked.

Instead of trying to tap into all the possible distribution channels, mastering one, in the short run is probably the most effective strategy in many cases.

For that matter you need to understand whether you might want to leverage on business development, growth marketing, traditional sales, and marketing or else:

The Complete Guide To Business Development

SEO Hacking Guide

Growth Marketing Guide

Marketing vs. Sales 

Execution

When you start executing, that is when you will be able to gather critical feedback to understand whether or not you’re moving in the right direction. This is the most essential part of the MOVE model.

In this phase, you need to gather feedback on several areas:

  • Is my business gaining momentum? Remember, momentum will be judged on unconventional, two-fold, or 10X growth basis
  • Does the market like my business model? You can decide that by growth or profitability or both
  • How effective is my strategy? Is the real world validating it or do I need to go back and tweak my business model?
  • What distribution channel is the most effective one? You need to double down on what’s working
  • Am I spending too much time theorizing? If so, go back to the execution phase to gather more feedback from the marketplace!

Key takeaway

When you start moving, you also need to make sure you’re going in the right direction. That is why, in the execution phase, you need to reconsider whether what you’re doing is helping you achieve the 10X growth you were looking for at the beginning of the MOVE model.

Or whether your business model generates growing margins. Or yet, whether you need to leverage network effects to enhance growth. Moving back and forth in the MOVE model might help you gain traction to generate a long-term competitive advantage!

Key resources:

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Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Creator of FourWeekMBA.com | Head of Business Development at WordLift.io | International MBA

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