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How to start a (startup) business (in Austria) - a step-by-step guide

Updated: Jul 16, 2021

You have this glorious idea but you're lacking the knowledge how to turn in into a business? Sometimes you stumble over problems and business opportunities in everyday life. Great, now the magic lies in getting things done. This guide should support you on your way to start a business.

concept phase

1. market research. Is your idea already available in your city/country? Does it exist abroad? Which are current alternative offers? How is the problem being solved at the moment? And don't worry, if a similar product already exists. Actually, competition is a very good sign - the market is there and the business idea is working. It's your turn now to find out if there's a niche in that area or you get creative and find a way to stand out from the competition.

2. customer survey. Now it's time to get to know your potential customers. It's important to narrow down the target group as much as possible. For example, we narrowed down the female factor to women between the ages of 24 and 35 who live in Vienna, speak English, are currently in a transitional phase in life and would like to take active steps to develop their full potential.

3. team finding. Can you get started alone or do you need to add more skills to be successful? If you're not striving for growth, it's more likely that you can move independently. The more complex the project gets, the higher the chances that you don't have all the necessary skills. It's advisable to cover the core competencies needed within the founding team. If you and your team members have a shared work history, even better! Most important: speak openly about expectations and exit scenarios and keep them contractually.

4. market test. The most common mistake is to develop things that are not used. Try to test your market without major investments before going all in. For example: instead of opening your own clothing shop right away, because you want to produce a sustainable baby line, sell first a few pieces on a fashion market and see how your target group reacts. After this experience you can still go into mass production and open a shop. Of course this doesn't work for all ideas, but there is always a "lean" way to do things.

planning phase

The best idea is worth nothing, if you don't execute it!

It takes courage, and many people are failing here. Always ask yourself: What would be the worst that could happen to me? Especially in places like Austria, there is an excellent social system in place, that catches you if things go wrong.

5. concept. Those who want to start their own business should take a closer look at one tool - the Business Model Canvas, a method to check your business model at a glance: customer segments, sales and communication channels, necessary resources, ... It shows you what you need for a successful business and its potential weaknesses. You are forced to think about and formulate all aspects of the idea economically. A proper business plan can be useful, especially for banks and funding options.

6. financing. First thing: Clarify how much capital you need. Can you finance yourself? Do you have to take out a loan? Common financing options are public funding, business angels or crowdfunding. Best case: Financing your business out of your cashflow by actually selling your services or goods.

7. marketing & sales. To actually market your product, you have to reach your relevant customer group. Think about the right channels and messages to address them. But also designs, PR strategy and sales have to be prepared.

foundation phase

Done, your own business is about to start. But before it finally becomes official, a few to do's have to be clarified.

8. legal form. Depending on which business you start, in Austria the Chamber of Commerce advises if you have to register a (free) "Gewerbe" and provides information about the appropriate legal form. Alternatively, you can also get advise of a tax adviser or lawyer.

9. launch. Let's get this started! Depending on how your business develops, it may be necessary to adjust decisions made during the idea and planning phase.

Very few people know exactly what to expect when they start.

Remember, it's not the end of the world, if something goes wrong. What helps most is a great network that can support you. You do not have to do everything on your own - the power lies in the right team and knowing where to go to solve a problem.

Ready to advance your career and create business opportunities? Join the inner circle! 


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