Start-ups: they’re springing up everywhere, all the time. But does the fact that start-ups are ubiquitous mean that successful entrepreneurial ventures are easy to create? Well, not really – especially if you don’t have the guidance and knowledge you need to get you started on the right track.

First of all, you should make sure you have a passion, a great idea and a great product. But what then? This post is a practical guide on how to go about launching a start-up, we’ll provide you with useful advice on everything from product development to hiring and managing employees.

Have a solid foundation
Growth. It’s the one truly essential thing for success as a start-up. And while not growing quickly enough to gain traction is an obvious issue, growing too quickly can be just as detrimental. Before chasing expansion, it’s important to have a solid foundation in place that can support the ups and downs and twists and turns inherent with an expanding start-up. Having a plan is important. Having a vision is important. Having the right infrastructure in place is important. But strong foundations are more than the big-picture strategies. Strong foundations are about a mindset. A mindset of laying a foundation for growth as opposed to just growing.

Hire a great team
Every start-up needs a good idea but to make that idea work you need a great team. What makes a successful start-up team? When investors evaluate start-up teams, they should keep in mind that a great resume alone is not enough to achieve great performance. Building a successful start-up is a long and bumpy road; without entrepreneurial passion and strategic vision, a stellar resume merely becomes a piece of paper. Just as founders handle duties across several fields, early-stage employees should be comfortable managing everything from product development to PR to logistics. Once you’ve found great employees, their happiness should be a top priority. After all, you want them to stick around! Give them credit for what they achieve and help them make their work feel like less of a job and more of a calling.

Create great first impressions
Being able to close sales is the most important task for any business. Revenue is what will move your company away from relying on investors, and to get there you’ve got to be able to sell your product. While lead generation is important, there’s no point in generating leads if you can’t close on them. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs fail at making a sale by giving a bad first impression. If you’re going after new business, you have to be able to gain your client’s trust. Giving off a great first impression is one of the first steps to do that.

Build relationships with prospects
The first stage of any sales cycle is prospecting. During this time, your goal is to gather sufficient customer data to determine if the prospect is worth pursuing. While doing so, you have the opportunity to start a relationship that could lead to multiple sales in the future. Use it to:
• Introduce yourself to your prospective customer
• Develop an initial rapport with your prospect

Raise funds for your start-up
Entrepreneurs make a common mistake when it comes to raising money for their start-up—they don’t start soon enough. They think they should put their heads down and develop their prototypes or set up their business, and then put some thought into getting funding. But it doesn’t work like that. You can’t spend six months building a prototype, then wake up one morning and decide it’s time to fundraise and watch the money flow in. You have to network in the finance community as you build your business to secure the right funding.

Building a start-up isn’t easy. By taking steps to ensure you start off right, whether in your marketing, hiring processes or even your founding team, you can put your start-up on the path to success.