It can be difficult to take time to catch your breath once you’ve come up with an idea that you believe is going to change the world. However, pausing to focus and come up with a plan for launching a startup company the right way could mean the difference between failure and success. There are actually some universal rules to follow that will position your startup company for success. Take a look at the four key rules to follow when the time comes to launch your product.

Study Your Competitors

The strange thing about launching a startup company is that your greatest enemies can actually become your greatest assets in certain ways. The companies that already exist in the market you’re trying to break into can offer you so much valuable information. It is so important to take time to study the histories, patterns, failures and successes of your competitors before you begin crafting your own plan for launching a business. In addition to learning from the mistakes and wins of your competitors, you can also learn how to differentiate your brand from what already exists. You may decide that the best strategy is to deviate from the pack when developing attributes and features in the product you’re creating. Doing so could set your product apart and help you court a uniquely loyal segment of the market.

Know Your Customers

There is no room for hubris when launching a startup company. There is simply too much money, time and emotional investment on the line to let pride blind you into overestimating how many people will actually seek out and use your product. The science of identifying your customers has to be precise. In addition to knowing who your customers are, you also need to know where you can find them. It is important to come up with a plan for reaching customers right from the start. A failure to capture the attention of your desired client base early on will cause your product to flop.

Don’t Leave Marketing to Chance

Aside from actually developing a good product, marketing is the most important aspect of launching a startup company. Visibility is so important when it comes to making your way into the market and becoming a trusted, valuable player. The good news is that a new company doesn’t need to be able to afford a flashing billboard in the middle of Times Square just to make a memorable entrance into the market. In fact, an entrance that flashy might not be effective at all if you’re launching a tech startup company. A targeted marketing strategy is so much more effective for tech startups. This means that you have to make sure all of your marketing dollars actually get funneled into strategies that will introduce your to product to people who actually have a use and desire for it. Most startups develop marketing strategies that are simply too broad. The bottom line is that the world doesn’t have to know your name in order for your brand to become successful. What’s important is that the segment of the population that you’ve identified as potential clients sees you. This can be achieved using inbound marketing strategies that deliver useful information to key groups of people. If you’re willing to be patient, this strategy can help you gain the trust of followers and become an authoritative voice in your sector.

Hire the Right People

No man is an island. While it can be difficult to give up even an ounce of control regarding your company, the reality is that people are everything when it comes to launching a successful startup. You really do need to take time to find people who possess the qualities and expertise that will help you form an effective strategy for building your brand. Many startup owners are intimidated by this prospect because they don’t yet have the capital to bring on full-time staff members. In addition, trying to grow before you’re truly ready can cause your company to get bogged down by high costs and management issues. The good news is that you can still stay focused on your product and benefit from the expertise of others if you rely on third-party firms to do the heavy lifting when it comes to things like promotions and marketing. Passing on the difficult work of growing awareness about your brand and turning leads into conversions is a smart strategy because it allows you to stay focused on developing your product.

What do you do when the product you’ve been working on is finally ready to be introduced to the market? It is easy to get stage fright when it comes to unveiling your product and building a sustainable distribution model.