Launching a new business always comes with challenges and in this difficult economic climate, a certain amount of uncertainty. There are a lot of incredibly talented young entrepreneurs out there nowadays, ideas flowing and brilliant businesses being setup. It can be a real challenge though, for anyone of any age, but, particularly when you're younger and less likely to have a successful track record in business, to get together the things you need to start on the front-foot.
As a young entrepreneur and founder of The Omyx Club, the new lifestyle club for discerning gay men, below I share my insight and practical advice:
Financially Prepare for Launch
If you're serious about launching a business, at any age, whether it's your first business or your seventh, look at how much you'll need to support the business. It's all very well considering production or development costs but it's just as important to factor in legal and accountancy fees, employers tax on salaries and a pot of money called 'other' for those unexpected bills - and trust me there are several of those! There are some businesses that turnover revenue from day one and haven't required any funding to get them off the ground, but these viral success stories are very hard to find. The truth of the matter is that most start-ups you see out there today have been working hard for months or even years, to prepare for launch, with the financial backing of seed investors, crowdfunding or even considerable personal savings.
Targeting investors who are likely to have a personal interest in your venture usually yields a higher success rate. Simply put, it's a lot easier to sell a product to someone who wants to buy it and our investors all understand the gay market and agree that there's a clear gap that needs to be filled. They get the market, they get the gap, and all feel that what we are doing is going to lead the way for a new and better standard of socialising, networking, dating, travel and many other things, for a more discerning gay man.
Developing Your Product or Service
Now you've got the investment, you need to begin developing the products or services. There's a pretty fine balance between calculating when development funds are going to run out and how long it will realistically take you to develop the business to the point at which it's ready for launch. However, do factor in some breathing space and be prepared to miss deadlines as with a first business, it is easy to be optimistic and underestimate the time that goes into each stage.
Appealing and Reaching Your Consumer
We live in a highly marketing saturated world where you can't look anywhere without seeing an advertising campaign, so having a strong marketing and launch strategy in place is key. The most important thing is to have an in-depth understanding of your target market, what they read, which websites they visit, which social networking influencers they follow and so on. Whether you plan to heavily market your advert offline in print media, in the London Underground or online through search engines, social media, email marketing or many others -ensure you have a strategy.