Aspiring entrepreneurs have many tools at their disposal to build a potential business empire.
14 march 2019
Aspiring entrepreneurs have many tools at their disposal to build a potential business empire. Examples of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Ayaz Shabutdinov in the post-Soviet space inspire hundreds and thousands of students to search for unique business ideas.
In 2018, a large-scale study of the Russian startup market was carried out, which showed:
- 47% of startup founders are young people under the age of 30.
- 70% of entrepreneurs are focused on the domestic market, 30% strive to create international projects.
- The team of start-up projects employs up to 10 people.
But the startup also has negative statistics: 64% of respondents face various difficulties leading to the closure of the enterprise. The main problems: a non-working business idea, insufficient funding, difficulties in finding investors and specialists. How to solve them and what to do for those who are determined to start a startup?
Check the idea for profitability
The main reason for the failure of startups is an underdeveloped business idea. According to the collected data, aspiring entrepreneurs in Russia and the CIS countries prefer to create marketplaces, fintech and SaaS projects, because it is easier to attract investors to them, including from abroad. But this does not mean that the idea should be limited to innovative computer developments. Remember Ayaz: he decided to invest in hostels, and this brought him success.
If you already have a business idea, answer the question: why do you want to engage in this area? Motivation should not be limited to earnings. The more passionate you are about an idea, the easier it is to attract investors and build a team. Plus, most startups start making good profits only a year after launch. Your inner “passion” and dedication should be enough for you to work on the project for at least 365 days.
There are other recommendations:
- Don’t hide your idea. Aspiring entrepreneurs often fear that their vision will be implemented by someone else. There is a similar risk, but if you don’t share your idea with anyone, you will not be able to start implementing it.
- Conduct financial analysis. Make sure your product will appeal to customers. Talk to your target audience, outline your idea, and find out what they think about it. Perhaps a similar product or service already exists or is not in demand.
- Tailor your idea to meet customer needs. Chances are, during development, your original design will undergo significant changes. This is normal, moreover, it shows that you are adapting the product to the realities of the market.
Once you’ve tested your business idea and believed in its profitability, it’s time to raise your startup capital.
According to the statistics of Startup Barometer 2018, only 29% of Russian startups have attracted investments, 71% are developing through internal funding. This situation limits the growth of projects, especially if the entrepreneur does not have start-up capital. Therefore, the second step after the financial analysis of a business idea is to attract investors.
Investing in startups is not as developed in Russia and the CIS as in the United States and Europe, where large business associations are more willing to provide funds to “newcomers” and are willing to take big risks. But even in the post-Soviet space, a start-up business can find funds. There are two main channels for raising money:
- Participation in thematic regional conferences. There are a lot of them, the main thing is to track the events and be ready for the presentation. You also need to determine the budget in advance: the trip will require certain expenses.
- Application for all-Russian conferences. The most ambitious one is organized by Skolkovo – this is Startup Village, in which both Russian entrepreneurs and projects from the CIS take part.
Another way to find an investor is to look at resources like NABA. They bring together entrepreneurs interested in profitable and interesting investments. You can also turn to crowdfunding. In Russia, the most authoritative platforms for collecting “people’s money” are Boomstarter, Planeta.ru, Kroogi.
The success of fundraising depends not so much on the chosen channel for finding investors, but on the credibility of your presentation. The more clearly you outline the product and the benefits of using it, the higher the likelihood of investing in a startup.
Create a strong marketing strategy
Effective sales are what makes a startup successful. Consider the following steps:
- Choosing a speaking domain. You can check a domain name for availability on different services. It is optimal if the project name and domain are the same – this will simplify the search for your company for potential buyers.
- Search for relevant channels for promotion on the Internet. Decide what you will use: contextual advertising, social networks, YouTube channel. At this stage, start SEO-optimization of the site (if not already done). At the initial stage, try to minimize your PR costs. This is not as difficult as it seems. For example, you can manually optimize your portal using free tools. One of them is the CL Clusterizer, which breaks down key queries into groups. To do this, it is enough to upload the prepared database of keywords to the online form.
- Cooperation with regional or all-Russian media. Traditional advertising channels help build a recognizable brand, and this is an important step towards success. Choose topical and authoritative publications. If at first this niche is closed for you, compensate for it by blogging and an active presence on social networks. You can start by watching a short video.
How to create your blog https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZvH7-oxuC4&t=5s
Assemble a team of professionals
Finding qualified professionals can be as difficult as attracting investors. Ideal if you’re starting a startup with a team that is as passionate about the idea as you are. But in reality, this is rare.
Most aspiring entrepreneurs are looking to hire freelancers. You can find them on various exchanges, for example, on FL.ru.
You can try hiring full-time employees, but this option is expensive and unprofitable with a limited budget. By constantly promoting your project and telling as many people as possible about it, you will surely attract enthusiasts who will want to join a startup. They can be a good driving force for a startup business.
Being a student is one of the best periods for starting a startup. The main thing is to follow simple instructions:
- Conduct financial analysis for your business idea. Define sales markets, sales channels, target audience and existing demand for the final product.
- Attract investors by attending thematic conferences or participating in all-Russian events. Such sites help aspiring entrepreneurs to make themselves known.
- Develop an effective marketing strategy and start implementing it. For example, start a YouTube channel.
- Gather a team of passionate professionals around you. Perhaps this is the most important point for a startup to go through all the difficulties and become a profitable business.
The author of the article is Anatoly Ulitovsky