By Pirah Aijaz
Managing your own business, and calling yourself an entrepreneur sounds cool. Being an entrepreneur sounds glamorous, but it’s challenging from identifying problems and provide solutions. Go through the uncertainties. And voila, you have discovered what you wanted to do. This doesn’t end here, as there are certain questions that every person in Pakistan must consider before launching their startup in Pakistan. Here’s a complete guide to launching a startup in Pakistan that will help you throughout the process.
A Complete Guide to Launch a Startup in Pakistan
What is Ideation?
If you are planning to launch a startup then you should have a big idea. This ideation process takes time as you have to identify the actual problem and then provide a solution in terms of launching a product. Your idea has to solve an existing problem or be unique.
For Instance, Careem was first launched in Pakistan and provides an ease to commute within cities, and now between cities. And also, it was tailored so that everyone province of Pakistan had its Careem promo codes and greetings for the residents of that particular city.
Likewise, you may have some best ideas, but if you are not able to solve an existing issue and create a business plan, develop, and execute that idea, chances of sustainability would be less for the success of your startup in the long run.
How do we Finance It?
After finalizing your idea, it is imperative to think about its finances. Managing finances is important. So, first, assess yourself whether you are ready to take risks or are you ready to face win/loss situations in the business.
Hold on! Don’t worry! In Pakistan, numerous organizations are unlocking entrepreneur funding opportunities to scale up or launch a startup.
Recently, the British Council of Pakistan, SMEDA-USAID, and Seed Enterprises in collaboration with Philip Morris and other international organizations have conducted business training for women entrepreneurs to scale up their businesses. Also, they conducted pitch competitions and gave them seed amounts to help establish their business in Pakistan.
What about Marketing?
If you are not a pro in marketing, then you should become one. It is mandatory to have proper knowledge of marketing and its strategies. It would be a great help to establish your business. Luckily, you can learn all about marketing from different online platforms, such as; Google Courses, Udemy, LinkedIn, Coursera, Skillshare, and others.
These days, many online platforms are conducting 2-day workshops on teaching marketing skills. You can learn about Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and ad campaigns to run your business ads on your social media handles. Also, you can market your brand in Facebook’s larger groups.
Do You have a Mentor?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your experts. There is nothing wrong or shame if you ask for help. Even though you may think you are good at everything, but still, you must have a mentor who can guide you from the beginning till the end.
It’s not hard to find a mentor as many incubators and investors can help you out in this regard.
Are You Passionate?
Being passionate about launching a startup is good, but it requires a lot of hard work. First and foremost is your passion, and the most important is patience and consistency. That’s all you need to have from the beginning till the end of successfully launching a startup.
The bitter truth is that 71% of businesses fail within their early years because of improper planning and executing strategies. So, if you don’t want to be a part of these statistics, then you should have crispy ingredients, such as; Passion, Patience, and Consistency.
How to Write a Business Plan?
This is the most important segment of your startup. You must have your business plan as it helps to clarify your ideas, identify and solve problems, get feedback/reviews from others, and guide you when your business grows.
- Start With Writing An Executive Summary
At this point, you describe the brand, product, or service that you are going to sell. The summary should be precise, clear, and catchy to hold everyone’s attention. In the summary, describe the objectives, goals, and vision of your business in a few sentences. So that you can easily memorize it.
- Define/Target Your Customers
You should know about the customers to whom you are going to sell your products or services. While defining your customers, keep in mind that you have to know everything about them, such as; demographic information, their needs, problems, etc. After getting complete information about your customers, target your actual customers by listing their location, problems, age group, etc. This way, you would know about your target audience and it will help you to sell your products or services to that particular group of people.
- Possible Opportunities
Jot down your possible opportunities to grow your business. Simply put, in this segment, you describe your next/upcoming moves to grow your business. For this, you must have plans that what you are going to do in the future.
- Know Your Competitors
At this point, you should know your competitors. To know what they are doing best or why they are different from others. You have to research so that you will know what’s more in the market that you can avail of or you can do better than your competitors.
- Build a Financial Plan
In this segment, you describe your financial plan whether you have a huge capital to invest or you have a small budget. Also, you can add the making and buying costs of your products, costs for labor, raw material, and manufacturing, staff salaries, distribution, and marketing costs are also important to build a financial plan.
- Build a Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan includes the price of the product or service and the positioning of your product or service in the market. Also, you describe the modes of marketing, such as friend & family, word-of-mouth, social media channels, print media, Facebook ad campaign, and influential marketing. Moreover, you describe the profit you expect to earn per item or service.
- Get the Right Team
Hire the right team for your startup. Build a team of capable, skilled people and assign them tasks accordingly. Define the clear purpose and value of your brand to the team and encourage them to share a common vision with different effective strategies.
- Keep It Simple
Keep it simple. Plan your operations. Now, this is the time to execute the overall strategy. Remember, if you have everything in writing, then you won’t face any hurdles before launching your startup. Building a simple, precise, and clear business plan will help you out in this regard.
How to Pitch Your Idea?
Making millions or billions in the early years of business is quite difficult. At the moment, you need to have a strong pitch to not just communicate with your customers, yet investors for raising funds for your new startup or to scale up your business.
Serious investors are looking for unique ideas, business plans to fund new businesses. If you have a great idea, then you can give a killer pitch in front of your investors.
Here are some tips to make a killer pitch for raising funds from your investors.
- First of all, take a business model template, like ‘The Lean Canvas Model’ which is brief and easy to understand. Fill it with required business details, such as; identified problems, provided solutions, target audience, marketing channels, revenue streams, matrices, unique selling point, competitors, and your other business details.
- While giving a pitch in front of your investors, start with a catchy statement about your business, and then continue by telling a brief brand story to grab the audience’s attention. Don’t drag it. Just complete your first slide in a few seconds.
- Then, you have to move on next slides and explain everything briefly. Tell them what problems you have identified and solved.
- Tell your investors why you are different from your competitors. Also, tell them what you have done so far in your business, and give them solid statistics to help them understand easily.
- While delivering a pitch, tell your investors about your revenue streams, milestones/breakeven you have achieved, and also, tell them about your future opportunities for which you are going to raise funds.
- Give them a clear explanation of your expenses and costs for which you want to raise funds from them and finish it by telling them about your experience, and introducing your team members and their roles.
How to raise funds from Family & Friends?
- You can ask them for a certain amount to achieve a specific milestone.
- You can offer them a formal agreement or you can make a deal.
- Only focus on your close family members and friends whom you call your strong support system.
- You can ask your regular customers who can help you in this regard.
- Building trust is the most important factor for raising funds from your close ones.
However, before launching your startup in Pakistan, you can take help from your experts so that they will guide you from the beginning.