When starting a business, successful entrepreneurs have taken a different approach to the typical business plan by starting backward, according to a recent Entrepreneur feature.

The article continues by offering seven ways entrepreneurs can guarantee success when starting a business.

  1. First, identify a customer you want to serve. “Begin by identifying the people you want to wake up every day and trade your life to serve,” stated the article. Finding your desired customer base right off the bat will help you feel more satisfied as you start your business.
  2. Talk to your clientele. Once your ideal customer base has been identified, rather than guess what products and services they want, ask them.
  3. Have your customers create your business. Since your customers know what exactly they want and the specific challenges they face, they make for the ideal marketing experts for your business.
  4. Presell your products. Next step is to establish how much you want to charge for your products/services. Keeping in mind that your customers are marketing experts for your business, “ask them, ‘If I were to bring something like this to market, how much would you pay for this?’ Then ask them to pay for it upfront.” You can also offer some incentive by proposing that they become a founding member or beta-user. You can establish this incentive by giving them personal access to you as the founder, allowing them to give feedback on service/produce development — which in turn helps you, too. You can also offer an introductory rate and lock that rate in for life as another incentive.
  5. When funds are sufficient, launch your business. After preselling enough services/product to cover the startup costs, you can start to build your business. This not only helps safeguard against a lack of sufficient funds, but it also helps you start a business with a strong customer base already established.
  6. Create an MVP and let your customers enhance it. Get a minimum viable product (MVP) to your founding members, which — with that incentivized personal access — will in turn provide you with great customer feedback to help improve that product/service.
  7. Scale your business. After following the above steps, now it is time to scale your business. “A few ways you can do this is by investing in marketing and considering affiliate relationships and joint ventures.” You can do this successfully because now you have a product created for your customers, by your customers.

Read the entire article here.