When starting a business it is important to have a plan of attack. Simply having the desire to create a startup is not enough to be successful. A person with specific goals and a plan of action for achieving those goals has a much better chance of being successful no matter what the pursuit is. In this article we will explore important milestones in creating your business and develop a general guideline for your own startup timeline. When I say startup timeline I mean a set of specific goals that your new business should reach within your first year of operations. This startup timeline is based on advice from other business owners who have been successful in this pursuit.
A year before startup:
In the year prior to launching your startup there is a lot of work to be done. The first things that should show up on your startup timeline are conducting research and scheduling meetings with business professionals (attorneys, accountants, bankers).
Conducting research allows you to understand the needs of your customer base as well as understand the industry that you will be joining. Knowing your growth potential and competition are key to developing a thriving business. While you are conducting research it is also important to decide on a business location and to write a business plan. Your business plan should be informed by the industry research you are conducting. A business plan is an important part of any operation as it is what you will be presenting to virtually any potential sources of funding (investors, banks, etc.).
Meeting with business professionals is also a vital step this early in the process for several reasons. Many business professionals such as accountants and bankers will be able to help you generate and develop your business plan. Additionally, attorneys will be crucial in protecting yourself from liability if anything were to go wrong with your startup as well as protecting your intellectual property.
9 Months from startup
This is the time to begin applying for local licences and permits. You should be sure that you are following all local laws and policies. It is likely that at the very minimum you will need to apply for a small business license along with any other licences or permits that are key to your line of work.
During this time it is also crucial to begin developing your Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Your MVP is an early version of the product that has enough features to attract potential users and validate the product from the get-go. The MVP also often serves the purpose of gathering user feedback to quickly improve the product.
6 Months from startup
At this point, you should be finishing up with your applications for all licences and permits that you need. If you plan on hiring employees you should now have your employer identification number. You should also be filing for articles of organization or articles of incorporation depending on your desires for your company. Additionally, this is the time to begin executing your marketing plan. Finally, you need have an established business bank account and if you plan on applying for loans now is the time.
Product wise this is the time to have a private beta launch. You should begin testing your MVP and utilizing it to gather preliminary data about what is working and what needs to be improved.
3 Months from startup
By now you should have most of your legal necessities taken care of. Now it is time to start focusing on the product itself. You should have the necessary equipment and inventory purchased.
1 Month from startup
You are getting close to crunch time! At this point, you should do a public beta launch. Having a public beta version of your product on the market gives you valuable insights such as features, bugs, and consumer feedback. Here you are preparing for your first real launch.
Month of launch:
You did it! You launched your product. Your biggest concern during this month is constant sustainable daily growth in clients. You should be monitoring your daily growth and making adjustments as necessary.
I hope this brief startup timeline is helpful in your plan to launch your own startup. It is crucial to remember that beginning a business from scratch is difficult and takes time. Do not be too hard on yourself and try to stay as motivated as you can. It is also a great idea to ask for help along the way. Here at Jonajo, we offer assistance to new startups by creating and developing websites, applications and supplementing your design or software team in any other way that you see fit. Best of luck in your business venture!
For more information about startup timelines you can also check out these other sources:
Anon, (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-key-milestones-for-a-tech-startup [Accessed 10 Oct. 2019].
Content.moneyinstructor.com. (2019). Business Plans: Initial Start-up Timeline – Money Instructor. [online] Available at: http://content.moneyinstructor.com/1228/start-up-timeline.html [Accessed 10 Oct. 2019].
Fuse Three – SME. (2019). Funding Timeline of a Tech Startup | Alternative Finance from Fuse3. [online] Available at: https://www.fusethree.co.uk/sme/funding-timeline-tech-startup/ [Accessed 10 Oct. 2019].
Guidant Financial. (2019). Small Business Timeline: How to Start a Successful Business. [online] Available at: https://www.guidantfinancial.com/blog/your-small-business-timeline-how-to-start-a-successful-business/ [Accessed 10 Oct. 2019].
Medium. (2019). I Launched A Tech Startup In 2017: Here’s Everything I Felt Important Enough To Write Down. [online] Available at: https://medium.com/swlh/i-launched-a-tech-startup-in-2017-heres-everything-i-felt-important-enough-to-write-down-4feb328b821f [Accessed 10 Oct. 2019].
Seedcamp. (2019). Setting Appropriate Milestones in an Early-Stage Startup. [online] Available at: https://seedcamp.com/resources/setting-appropriate-milestones-in-an-early-stage-startup/ [Accessed 10 Oct. 2019].
Smallbusiness.chron.com. (2019). A Timeline for Opening a Business. [online] Available at: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/timeline-opening-business-11352.html [Accessed 10 Oct. 2019].