Entrepreneurs–especially new entrepreneurs–make lots of mistakes when they are launching a new venture. One of the biggest is the idea that everything about a product, service or business has to be absolutely perfect before it can be launched to the public.
While it’s great that you want your business to be perfect, and that you care about it enough to really want to work on it before you open its proverbial doors, it is very important that you understand one thing: your company is never going to be completely perfect. If you keep putting off your launch because things aren’t exactly right, you’re never going to get up and off the ground.
That said, there are some things that you definitely want to have in place and/or up and running properly before you attempt even a soft opening.
Your Internet Connection
A lot of new entrepreneurs simply piggy-back their business internet off of their home or personal internet account. It’s easier, especially if you’re running your new business out of your spare bedroom or garage, to simply use a connection that is already in place. Sometimes, though, that isn’t the best idea. For one thing, if you want to be able to write off your internet connection costs come tax time, you need to use a separate connection than the one you use personally. Also, if you’re using a satellite based internet connection, you could wind up paying exorbitant fees just to be able to use the internet without any lag time.
If you are dependent upon satellite internet or want to get away from your municipal/corporate account, Skyriver, a San Diego broadband provider, recommends using fixed wireless broadband. It works much like satellite (which is good for rural entrepreneurs) but doesn’t have the usage restrictions or lag time.
You don’t have to have a super pretty and fully branded website. In fact, something simple and straight to the point might serve you better, especially in your startup days. The website should, though, be fully fleshed out with your manifesto, details of your products or services, contact information and a solid method for processing orders. It is important that you have your own domain name and email set up and that your hosting provider is able to handle a sudden influx of traffic in the event that your soft launch goes better than you had hoped.
Make sure you run all of the proper tests before you allow the public to access and use your company website. The last thing you need is for things to be buggy for your first customers!
Market, Market, Market Yourself
A lot of entrepreneurs wait until they get they launch their companies to start marketing and branding themselves. This is one of the worst things you can do! It’s much better to start building up attention and demand for your products and services before you officially launch your company. Market your soft launch for what it is: a soft launch. It might even help to call it a “beta test.” If you’ve launched other products or companies in the past you can build upon those reputations. Even if you haven’t, you should still start marketing yourself and your expertise so that there is a demand and an audience for what you’re offering…when you’re ready to officially sell it.
There are all sorts of things that you need to do before you launch your company. From getting business cards printed up to installing your separate company internet and phone lines to spreading the word about all of your fabulous products and services. It’s easy to think of “just one more thing” that you absolutely must do before you call yourself a real business or start taking orders. Try not to fall into that trap! Instead, do only what absolutely must be done. You can fine tune the rest once you’re up and running.