Today I want to give a quick and dirty guide to “launching” your business when you’re not actually ready to launch your business yet. If you’re heading into 2016 with the new year’s resolution of finally getting your new business off the ground but you’re telling yourself you just have to whatever, whatever, whatever before you can, at least commit to “launching” your business no later than January 2 (I’ll give you a pass on January 1 if you’re recovering from the NYE festivities).
Maybe you don’t have enough money, maybe you’ve given your two weeks notice but are still at your old job, maybe you haven’t even started your planning yet so you don’t know how you’ll build your business but you know you want to. There are a million reasons you might know you’re going to build a business but not be quite ready to launch.
In entrepreneurship, you want to take advantage of every single second you have, however, so even if you’re not ready to launch your business just yet, you should definitely “launch” it immediately and here is my 5-step guide to doing just that.
Step 1 is to buy your domain name. You probably have a business name in mind so go to godaddy or domain.com and lock up that domain name so that you own it.
Step 2 is to get web hosting. You now own the domain name but you still need to find somewhere to host your website. Depending on where you buy your domain name, you may be able to do these two steps together. If you don’t know where to begin, I have used both godaddy and inmotionhosting as website hosts in the past for myself and for my clients.
Step 3 if to actually build your website. If you can code, awesome, get to it. If not, you can either hire someone to build a site for you or use one of the many novice-friendly website building options available. I use wordpress and a free theme and if you want to do the same you can easily Google tons of great tutorials. If you’re just starting out, you’re basically building one landing page where you will collect email addresses or pre-sell your products. You shouldn’t need much serious design here and can do this yourself in a few hours or a weekend if you watch some YouTube videos to learn the basics.
Step 4 is to tell everyone you know. Once you have your mini site up where you can collect email addresses and/or pre-sell your products, you need to spread the word. Tell anyone and everyone you know what you’re building and share the link to your website with all of them,
Finally, step 5 is to start doing the real planning. Remember, this was the “launch” plan. The real plan takes a lot more effort. Once you’ve got your place-holder site up so you can start getting a list of everyone who’s interested, you should dig into really planning how to launch, manage, and grow your business. If you don’t know how to do that, check out some of my other videos here in New Venture Mentor or, better yet, enroll in my Business Builder Workshop at Curious. The link is below the video if you’re watching at YouTube or in the body of the post if you’re at CateCosta.com or on Linkedin.
Bonus step – if you’ve done enough planning to know what legal business type you should form your company as, make that step #1. If you’re going to do an LLC, which many of you will, you can get that done for around $100 in most states. Forming the business so you’re legit as you go through the other steps can be really valuable and you should definitely do it if you can. If, for some reason, that’s just not an option though, go ahead and go through the 5 steps as I originally laid them out for you and then come back to this step.
While you do need to create a serious plan and, often, have a decent amount of money before you can successfully launch and grow your business, while you get that planning and money together, you should be sure to capture the contact info of anyone interested. Follow these 5 steps and you’ll be well on your way with a great list of potential customers once you are able to get things up and running.
If you’ve committed to launching, or at least “launching,” your new business by January 3, 2016, please leave a comment and let me know what your business is and where we can find your “launch” page 🙂