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So you want to turn your bright idea into a business. But what’s your game plan? Founding a startup involves much more than having a light bulb moment—you also need a strategy to bring the big picture to life. Here at The Vine, strategy, networking and innovation are part of our daily routine. Our industry experience gives us a unique perspective on what it takes to turn great ideas into successful startups. If you’re ready to kickstart your startup journey, check out our list of business savvy tips.

1.  Start with a Solid Business Model

While it might be tempting to jump into designing branded swag or mapping out your office, no startup can thrive without a strong business strategy. Every decision you make, from finance to marketing, should be informed by accurate data that accounts for both long-term and short-term success. To set realistic expectations, look at how your competitors are faring in the global marketplace. What’s their baseline when it comes to generating leads or purchases? This number should inform your company’s metrics and goals.

There are a variety of effective tools available to kickstart your startup business plan. Startup Stash offers an expertly curated directory of resources exclusively designed for startup-oriented strategy. Project management software, such as Asana and Basecamp, and investor relations services, like Visible, are just a few featured options. Additionally, Slack, a cloud-based communication tool, and Insightly, a CRM service, are popular strategic tools for growing businesses.

2.  Keep an Eye on Your Finances

When starting a business, there may be some bumps in the road. Maintaining an emergency financial reserve will provide enough funds to weather any challenges your company may face. To avoid monetary mismanagement, be sure to incorporate strategic financial planning into your business model. Carefully analyze purchases to ensure they are a top priority and keep the future of your startup in mind. As your startup grows, you will need to pay for employees who expect regular paychecks, 401Ks and other benefits.

3.  Feedback is Your Best Friend

One of the best parts of joining the startup community is the networking opportunities. Innovators from around the world come together to share ideas, test big ideas and move industries forward. At The Vine, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to connect with an exclusive network of successful entrepreneurs who can share their knowledge. In addition, The Vine provides startups with collaborative workspaces that promote communication.

Working among peers who are well-versed in everything from software development to marketing has many benefits, one of which is obtaining feedback. Letting others test your product will point out bugs in your software, flaws in your business model and nuanced user experience issues. Feedback may even encourage you to pivot and steer your startup in a new direction. Plus, when your company succeeds, these relationships will be a boon to future endeavors.

4.  Get People Excited

In the early stages of a startup, expressing passion for your product is crucial. Communicating enthusiasm and belief in what your startup is selling will build confidence among your customers and your employees. Getting a startup off the ground requires a solid customer base and a well-defined company culture, as both customers and employees are your biggest salespeople. When every dollar is going toward growing your business, you may need to rely on word-of-mouth and networking to market at a grassroots level. Instilling a sense of excitement within your community is a surefire way to create buzz and publicize your product.

5.  Never Underestimate the Smallest Successes

The world of entrepreneurship is fast-paced and dynamic. With every milestone comes more responsibility. That said, as your company hits goal after goal, it’s important to acknowledge these successes, no matter how small they may seem. Before moving on to the next task, take the time to give yourself and your team a pat on the back for every achievement. In the long run, high morale and a happy team will prove to be one of your best investments.

With these tips, you can rest assured your seed-stage business is built on a strong foundation. Learn more about how you can establish your startup and get your business growing at The Vine today.

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