Written by Sarah Shelley

There is something unequivocally fulfilling about starting your own business. Taking the skills and knowledge that you have acquired, and pouring your passion into an entity that allows you to live out your dreams, is an experience that is unmatched. Those interested in learning how to start a startup business should first consider investing in their education. By earning a business administration degree, you can learn more about the current startup landscape and develop the skills needed to write your own small business administration plan. 


The Startup Landscape 

In an era where technology makes anything possible and social media connects us to niche markets, starting a business is a natural choice, especially for those interested in small business administration. 

While the possibilities are quite literally endless, the startup landscape is also notoriously challenging and complex. According to LinkedIn, the trends currently shaping the startup landscape include: 

  • Venture capital may be slowing down in the near term, which can limit investment opportunities for those looking to start a new business. 
  • The interest in startup businesses is on the rise, with individual investors being more willing to give startup businesses a chance. 
  • Technology will continue to impact and redefine startup businesses, with many entrepreneurs looking into the best ways to leverage advanced technology, such as AI and VR technology. 

What Is a Startup Business and How Is It Different? 

So, what is a startup business exactly? A startup is a business term that refers to a new corporation in its first weeks and months of operation. Startups are typically founded by entrepreneurs interested in launching a company that offers innovative products and new services, often to meet the changing demands of consumers. Given the costs associated with starting a new business, most entrepreneurs must secure funding from investors and venture capitalists. 

Startup businesses differ from established organizations because they require a period of incubation in which they can grow and prosper. Entrepreneurs interested in launching a startup will need to know more than just how to write a small business administration plan. They also will have to secure funding, establish a legal structure and identify norms and protocols for their new organization. 

The Role of Innovation in Shaping Startups 

For the most part, entrepreneurs launch startups to meet the dynamic needs of consumers, which means that innovation plays a critical role in these fledgling companies. Most entrepreneurs are working to leverage the power of technology to develop a new product or release a unique service that will spark interest in consumers, ultimately leading to a successful company in the long term. They will need to be able to prove that their innovative techniques and ideas will work, as this is crucial to securing funding for a startup. Investors want to see innovation at the forefront of any small business administration plan. 

The Importance of a Business Administration Degree 

Entrepreneurs are independent professionals who often want to chart their own course, and as a result, many aspiring entrepreneurs think that they can move forward with their dreams and ideas without an educational foundation. However, that can be one of the most significant mistakes that you can make. Before you can begin bringing your startup to life, you will want to study the most advanced business concepts, techniques and strategies to develop the business acumen needed to navigate the current, ever-changing startup landscape. 

Equipping Yourself With the Right Skills 

Throughout your business administration degree program, you will have the opportunity to complete collaborative projects and experience simulated business transactions. This allows you to develop the business acumen needed to launch a startup. 

These are the most important business skills to develop throughout your degree program: 

  • Market Research — Knowing how to collect and evaluate data related to consumer trends and demand will allow you to put together an effective proposal that you can show to potential investors. 
  • Communication — Communication is a key part of business, and knowing how to effectively communicate in business settings utilizing the most advanced tools will allow you to easily navigate the startup landscape. 
  • Management and Leadership — Entrepreneurs are born leaders, but sometimes you will need to hone your management and leadership skills. Knowing how to delegate, inspire and lead your team will allow you to effortlessly launch a new company. 
  • Digital Literacy — Technology will continue to play a vital role in the business world, and innovation is the key to any successful startup. Knowing how to use the best and most advanced business technology tools will allow you to be more successful in your endeavors. 

How Education Helps in Strategic Planning and Execution 

A formal education can also equip you with the strategic planning skills needed to effectively execute your startup business plan. Throughout your business administration degree program, you will explore relevant topics throughout your coursework, such as: 

  • Microeconomics and Macroeconomics 
  • Legal Business Structures 
  • Business Analytics 
  • Management Principles 
  • Operations Management 
  • Marketing Principles 

Preparing to Launch Your Startup 

After earning your business administration degree, you can begin to prepare to launch your startup. Taking actionable and strategic steps will ensure that you can launch your startup as quickly and effectively as possible. It's important to take the time you need to prepare for the launch, including working to craft a small business administration plan, as preparation is often the key to long-term success with startups. 

Essential Resources Every Entrepreneur Needs 

These are the most important resources for entrepreneurs interested in launching a startup: 

  • Intellectual Capital — First and foremost, you need to have the brains behind the idea. Formulate a small team of entrepreneurs who have the academic background and mental fitness needed to develop a creative, strategic and intuitive small business administration plan. 
  • Financial Resources — Funding is absolutely essential. You may find that you will need to secure funding from a variety of sources, including personal contacts, individual investors and venture capitalists. 
  • Digital Tools and Technology — You may find that you need to build an online presence for your startup before you even launch the business. An active website and social media may be necessary to secure funding for your startup. 
  • Physical Resources — Depending on the purpose of your startup and the products and services that you will be offering, you will want to make sure that you have the physical resources available that you need to start your startup. These resources may include office space, warehouse space, inventory and more. 

Assessing Your Market: Identifying Needs and Opportunities 

As you work to develop your business plan, you will want to simultaneously perform market research to learn more about the needs in your local market and the unique opportunities that will be available. Some of the top market research methods for entrepreneurs include conducting focus groups, distributing surveys, studying consumer behavior both in-person and online, observing trends and habits on social media and collecting and analyzing consumer data from a variety of trusted sources. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Starting Your Startup 

Knowing that you want to launch a new company is the first step. After you have recognized your dream and developed an idea that will allow you to make it happen, it's time to take the strategic and actionable steps needed to bring that dream to life. 

By following these seven steps, you will learn how to start a startup business: 

Step 1: Crafting a Business Plan That Attracts Investors 

No dream is going to come to life based on whims and fantasies. You must have a plan in place that will convince investors that you have what it takes to succeed in a competitive and dynamic landscape. You can craft an attractive and appealing business plan by: 

  • Identifying your target market segment. 
  • Showcasing market research results that prove the need for your startup. 
  • Highlighting the innovative techniques that you will use to stand out. 
  • Describing your products and services in detail, proving how they will revolutionize the current market. 
  • Being clear and forthright about your funding requirements. 
  • Outlining how you plan to make your business profitable as soon as possible. 

Step 2: Legal Considerations for New Businesses 

Entrepreneurs are often focused on dreams and ideas, but business professionals and investors know that the legal structure of any organization is key to its overall success. By being aware of the key legal issues for startups and formulating a legal structure in advance, you can thwart any potential legal complications in the long-term. The top legal considerations for new businesses include: 

  • Developing a legal structure. 
  • Ensuring that all taxes and documents will be filed properly. 
  • Implementing all licensing requirements. 
  • Maintaining all regulatory compliance standards for your industry. 
  • Acquiring proper insurance coverage. 

Step 3: Securing Funding for Your Venture 

Once you have a business plan in place and a legal structure outlined for your business, you can begin securing funding for your startup. Most entrepreneurs work with a variety of sources to secure the funding needed to launch their business. Investors may include personal contacts, individual industry investors and venture capitalists interested in being a part of the exciting and dynamic startup landscape. 

Step 4: Building Your Team 

As you begin to secure funding for your startup, you can start to realize the scope of your endeavor. This will allow you to expand your team and bring new minds to the table who can help you navigate challenges as well as develop creative solutions for your new company. You may want to have people on hand who have expertise in marketing, finance, management and product development, to name a few. 

Step 5: Marketing Your Startup to Your Target Audience 

Once you have the foundation established for your startup, it's time to begin promoting your products and services to your target audience. In many cases, entrepreneurs begin developing an online presence for their brand before their startup has actually come to fruition. This ultimately allows them to begin with a base audience already interested in and excited about what they have to offer. 

Depending on the nature of your startup, you may find that you need to employ a variety of traditional and modern marketing techniques to generate buzz among your target audience. Digital marketing is often seen as the most affordable and effective way to begin establishing your identity and distributing information about what you have to offer. However, if you are launching a small business, you won't want to ignore the power of traditional print marketing materials. 

Conducting effective market research in advance will allow you to focus on the niche audience most interested in your products and most motivated to make purchases. 

Step 6: Launching Your Product or Service 

After your initial marketing campaign is complete, you can begin launching your products or services. At this stage of your startup, your success depends heavily on the quality of your products and services as well as your commitment to customer service as a whole. You have set the standard and your target audience has expectations that align with what you have promoted, so it's important to deliver and provide them with the results that they expect. In the event of any quality control issues, it's necessary to be as transparent and upright as possible. Mistakes happen, and customers will forgive them, as long as you are willing to take accountability and action to make them right. 

Step 7: Analyzing Feedback and Iterating 

In the first weeks and months after launching your startup, it's vitally important that you stop taking action and start simply listening to what your customers and team members are saying. Actively soliciting feedback, and analyzing the information provided to you, will allow you to make changes accordingly and continue to grow your startup in the right direction. 

Launching a business can feel like an incredibly personal endeavor, especially since you have poured your heart, soul and financial resources into making this dream come true. That said, it's important to avoid becoming too defensive and to be willing to listen to feedback, as this will allow you to effortlessly navigate the complex startup landscape. 

Navigating Challenges as a Startup Founder 

Even when you have taken the time to formulate an effective business plan and secured the most reliable investors for your startup, you will find that challenges are inevitable when you are a startup founder. By being aware of the most common challenges and making moves as swiftly as possible, you can quickly implement creative solutions that allow you to keep moving forward with your new startup. 

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them 

These are some of the most common pitfalls that startup founders face, and tips you can take to avoid them: 

  • Finding the right professionals to join your team. Startups are notoriously risky, which can make it difficult for you to assemble the most qualified and motivated team members. By crafting an effective startup business plan and outlining how you plan to become profitable, you can convince team members to join in the same way that you motivate investors to provide funding. 
  • Launching a product that is desirable and appealing. Your idea of the perfect product or service may not meet the needs of your consumers. To avoid this frustrating challenge, be sure to complete extensive market research in advance and begin soliciting feedback early so that you can modify your products and services as necessary. 
  • Scaling your business. Growing your business once you have launched it can be particularly challenging. By starting with the basics and expanding from there, you can grow your product offerings and your team simultaneously. 

Staying Agile in a Competitive Market 

The startup landscape is fiercely competitive, requiring you to remain aware of shifting trends and changing consumer demands. By staying agile in a competitive market, you and your team can quickly change gears and adapt accordingly. Resilience is the key to success when it comes to launching a startup. 

Learn How to Start a Startup Business at University of the Cumberlands 

At University of the Cumberlands, we offer both a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and an Online Entrepreneurship and New Venture Development Certifiate, allowing you to develop the skills needed to launch your own startup. The advanced business techniques and strategies incorporated into the curriculum, combined with the focus on developing intuitive business acumen, allows graduates to move forward with confidence knowing that they can take on the challenge of becoming an entrepreneur. 

Request more information about our online degree programs today.