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Six key milestones to launching a startup

When it comes to launching a startup, what does it take to get started? We spoke to Richard Scutt, Head of Growth and Incubation for STEAMhouse Business Incubator, offers some key insights and milestones.
Photo of Richard Scutt

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Six key milestones to launching a startup

When it comes to launching a startup, what does it take to get started? We spoke to Richard Scutt, Head of Growth and Incubation for STEAMhouse Business Incubator, offers some key insights and milestones.
Photo of Richard Scutt

1). Think carefully about your business plan

There are three reasons for writing a business plan:

  1. Direction of travel (where you want your business to go) and to potentially raise investment.
  2. Executive summary – This is the most important part as it’ll provide a succinct description of what your business does.
  3. A reminder of why you started your business in the first place.

The executive summary, in particular, is a vital part of your business planning process. You won’t appeal to investors if your business plan doesn’t say what problems you are going to solve.

It’s not enough to say “I’m going to sell you dolls”, for example. You need to say “I’m going to sell dolls because I’ll be targeting a specific demographic that has never been reached before.”

2). The days of big business plans are over

In the old days of launching a startup, you’d be writing a lengthy, technical document. Not anymore.

It now needs to be informal and less detailed. People need to pivot and change quickly – just look at Covid-19. If you’ve got a 50-page plan, you’re never going to be able to change.

At STEAMhouse Incubator, we do a small, 10-page business plan, allowing room to pivot.

3). Don’t forget your sales forecast

One of the things that people forget is their sales forecast. It’s an essential part of the startup business cycle and should not be treated lightly.

People don’t understand the forecasting and that’s what investors look at. If you’re investing in someone and they don’t know when they’re going to break even or when they’re going to make a point, you’re not going to invest.

90 percent of businesses fall down when it comes to this. STEAMhouse Incubator makes this a priority.

4). Get networking

An essential part of your business planning process is the elevator pitch. For those that don’t know, the elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that arouses interest in your business.

You need to have full confidence in your product, of course, and us here at the Incubator will develop milestones to help you build your confidence.

5). Be aware of the competition

Competitor analysis is a core part of the startup business cycle. You’ve got to be aware of your competitors, but not so much that it dictates the strategy of your business. Do not plan your business around your competition.

The big thing has to be that you have a product that represents good value for money. You need to understand your customers’ value and you need to know your customers.

6). Concentrate on one part at a time… and ask yourself some tough questions

Take it one challenge at a time rather than focusing on multiple obstacles.

For example, Simon Caulton – STEAMhouse Incubator’s first ever client – has recently launched his company, Ones Trainers. However, along the way, he focused on those small wins – getting the trainers designed, getting them manufactured, raising the money.

If you try and do it all in one stage, then it won’t work.

Ask yourself some tough questions – can I get the product designed? Can I raise the funding? Can I dot he marketing? What have your competitors done that I can improve upon?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you on your journey to launching a startup.

Help from STEAMhouse Incubator

To become a member of our Incubator, you need a viable business idea. You need to have an appetite for collaboration and a willingness to learn new things.

You’ll get to work with a diverse group of organisations.

Since launching in early 2020, we’ve had a digital marketing agency, an online fashion magazine, a shoe manufacturer, a digital skills educator and many more sign up.

Plus, we’ll be moving to the breath-taking, five-storey STEAMhouse building in early 2022, replete with excellent, state-of-the-art facilities that will provide you with key expertise, collaborative opportunities and much more.


If you would like to learn more about the STEAMhouse Business Incubator or would like to apply for membership, visit the Incubator page.

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