There are certain things about launching a small business that will never change. However, with disruptive technology always on the periphery, periodically infiltrating and transforming everything from product to market operations, it’s clear that there are challenges startups have to confront nowadays that businesses even five or ten years ago never had to.

Nevertheless, even some of the more traditional pieces of information need to be reiterated — because if everybody knew and followed them, everybody would be successful, right? At the very least, they’d stand better chances at thwarting disaster and setting themselves up for lasting success with a strong organizational foundation. That said, you should make sure of these seven things if you’re launching a small business or startup in 2018.

1. Make Sure That There’s a Need for Your Product or Service

Tech nowadays makes everything possible … but lack of need for a product happens to be the downfall of most new startups.

Brad Sugars, writing for Entrepreneur, suggests these four things:

  • Accept the market as a harsh but fair judge. The market will dictate your success whether you like it or not. Get information on revenues for your industry in local, regional, and national markets, learn competitors in each, and then determine whether it’s growing or static in nature.
  • Pick proven categories, then find your niche. Broad, general, and proven categories have been around long enough that you basically know they’ll turn profit if operated correctly. Find your category, and drill in on a niche from there.
  • Focus on wallet share, not market share. Repeat business will net you more in the long run than trying to get new market share or new customers. You’ll also have to spend less on marketing.
  • Put your ideas to the test. How will you ever know if there’s a market for your product if you don’t test it out beforehand?

2. Make Sure You Have a Good Business Plan

A good business plan is essentially a must. Noah Parsons, writing for BPlans.com, mentions that reasons for creating a business plan might include any of these:

  • Defining a new business
  • Supporting a loan application
  • Raising equity funding
  • Defining objectives and describe programs to achieve those objectives.
  • Evaluating a new product line, promotion, or expansion
  • Creating a regular business review and course correction process
  • Defining agreements between partners
  • Setting a value on a business for sale or legal purposes

It’s not that hard to write a business plan — they don’t have to be long, they don’t have to be complex, they just have to be functional. You can find tips for writing a business plan, also from Noah Parsons, here.

3. Make Sure You’re Well-Funded

One of the top reasons that small businesses and startups fail is that they are underfunded/that they have cash flow problems. Make sure that you get your funding, whether that be through a small business loan or otherwise.

Unfortunately, not everybody has great credit, or will qualify for a loan. Nicolas Cesare, writing for Fiscal Tiger, reminds that there are these alternative sources for small business funding

  • Angel Investors: Folks with cash that are willing to hear your ideas and take a bet on your vision — this is a chance to show that your business and your dreams are worth more than just numbers on paper.
  • Investments from Friends and Family: Your friends and family know you best — to them you’re more than a credit score, and they’re likely to know whether you’re actually capable of pulling off this business venture of yours.
  • Crowdfunding Platforms: IndieGoGo, GoFundMe, Kickstarter — these are all platforms that allow you to harness the power of social media and the support of community to make funding a reality.
  • Small Business Grants: Small business grants are generally awarded situationally, with many promising grants for minorities such as woman and members of the LGBTQ community.

4. Make Sure You’re Well-Protected

Protecting yourself nowadays means protecting yourself technologically. Money and assets aren’t stored in safes any more, they’re stored in code and in data. Unfortunately, the means to steal that money and data are getting easier and easier.

The rise of Ransomware over the last couple of years has proven lucrative for criminals, especially ones who aren’t tech-savvy. Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS) has become big business on the dark web, and hackers are now selling easy-to-deploy malware so that anybody with criminal intentions can be profit from viruses. Kroll OnTrack reports are showing that even Mac, Linux, and smartphone systems are becoming targets for ransomware.

Cyber protection is of the utmost importance nowadays because people don’t think of it — they take technology for granted. Looking into cyber insurance is also a smart idea, considering everything is connected to technology somehow nowadays.

5. Make Sure You’re Well-Balanced

“You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do,” writes Katie Thurmes, the Co-founder of

Artifact Uprising — and she’s right. New studies are showing that people who work too much actually perform worse than people who work less.

It’s the same reason that people have their best ideas in the shower; your brain is taking a break, able to look at things from a new perspective. Suddenly, something completely unrelated to work makes you think of something about work, and you realize you’ve just had a great idea.

It’s also worth mentioning that fatigue, both emotionally and mentally, causes businesses to suffer. Sure, you might see a short boost in productivity in the short run, but in the long run you look at burning out and making mistakes.

6. Make Sure You’re Always Testing and Measuring

Testing and measuring is an essential part of making sure you actually have a product or service that sells, but it’s also about making sure that it’s going to continue to sell. Big data has made everything measurable, for the most part — all you have to do is tap into that data and derive conclusions.

Marketing data will come from Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, as well as from your own research. Without new ideas and without testing and learning and even failing, you won’t ever know what’s going to work and what won’t. This is also essential to staying adaptive.

7. Make Sure You Stay Adaptive

One of the reasons that you always have to test and measure is that you have to stay adaptive and agile. It’s not just businesses that are starting up in 2018 — it was Blockbuster, when Netflix came around the former decided not to adapt to the movie-in-the-mail and streaming on demand model.

Disruptive technology means that things are changing faster than ever. What’s viable yesterday isn’t viable today, and what’s viable today won’t be tomorrow. The way that you play the game is by adapting and moving forward along with everything else.

The world is an ever-changing place, and technology is truly the catalyst. It means that we can work remotely, from anywhere in the world, with nothing but a laptop and an internet connection — but on the other hand, it also means you need to know how to properly navigate a world dominated by the disruptive, constant churn of new devices and software. However, if you make sure of these seven things, you’ll be setting yourself up for success from the get-go. Just because the world is getting more confusing doesn’t mean you have to be confused. Keep up on your knowledge, and revel in success.