RACO Investment founder Randall Castillo Ortega explains what’s needed for a startup to take off

Everyone has ideas. Some of these ideas may be quite decent, while others are probably not as good. But, even if your idea is great, there is a big difference between having a good idea and creating a successful startup. Randall Castillo Ortega, an entrepreneur and the founder of SME backer RACO Investment, provides the steps needed to get a startup going.

If you’ve never started a business, it can seem like an intimidating task. It will require hard work, dedication, money, some sleepless nights, and even failure for you to succeed. Once you’ve got your company off the ground, you have to work equally hard to keep it standing every year. That said, it’s always helpful to have a guide and set of instructions that can help you get started.

Create a business plan. A business plan is a must. A complete business plan will increase your chances of securing financial assistance and achieving success. A business plan is a key advantage.

To get started, you’ll need sufficient capital. There is no one size fits all. Castillo explains that startup costs will vary by industry so you may need more or less funding, depending on your situation. It may be less than $10,000 for a small startup that is part-time and has no overhead costs, employees, or equipment.

Every business plan includes a financial plan. The plan usually includes a balance sheet and sales project. It also contains a cash flow statement. Cash flow problems account for 82% of business failures. These financial statements will help you determine how much funding is needed to get your business off the ground.

Small businesses receive 22% of all business loans. Most loans are given to established companies. This is why the number of loans is so low. Large banks are less likely than small businesses to lend large sums of money to those with little income and no resources to support the loan. Bank financing is the best option for financial support.

Private lenders are more sensible. Castillo says, “Make sure that you have a great presentation to give them a copy. But you also need to know how you can effectively communicate your startup’s strategy.” It is essential that your business plan includes an executive summary. Investors are busy and may not have the time or motivation to read through the entire plan.

A lawyer, accountant, and financial consultant are also good options. These three professionals can save you money long-term, even if you are not an expert in finance or law. Depending on the structure of your business, they can help you understand the tax requirements and legal aspects.

A website is also a must. You should not wait to start creating your website before you launch your business. It is never too late to promote your business. Customers searching online for products or services in your industry will want to know that you are available. Your website can be used to generate income.

After your website has been created, it is time to increase your digital presence. You can use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These platforms are used daily by your prospects, so it is important that you also have a presence on them.

You need to learn marketing skills if you are not one. Your startup may have the most innovative product or service, but no one will know about it. Learn digital marketing techniques. You will have trouble getting your startup off of the ground if you are stuck in a rut and don’t know how to adapt to changing marketing trends.

First, you need to get a customer to buy your product. This is only the beginning. You must keep your customers coming back. This is true for both eCommerce and physical businesses. Your customer must be your first priority. Customers are your lifeblood and must be treated accordingly.

It will be difficult to manage the company’s lifecycle over the years, even after you have launched your business. While managing your company, you will experience ups and downs. There will be setbacks and mistakes. You cannot control certain situations, such as natural catastrophes or national economic crises. Learning from your mistakes is part of being an entrepreneur.

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