How to set up a vegan startup in 3 steps

Posted on 27 September 2018

We had the extreme pleasure to speak at Vevolution's topics event, which happened last year.
 

 PS: If you've received our Newsletter, your coupon code expires in 3 days! Just as a friendly reminder 😉.

 

In this video, we will cover how to come up with an idea, what to look out for when you launch your business, and, last but not least, we will talk (very briefly) about what three marketing channels you should focus on the most.

 

I) IDEA GENERATION:

To come up with an idea, you can, of course, listen to your gut feeling. 

 

Most likely, you are vegan yourself, so you know already what the most significant pain points are of being vegan. 

 

And because of that, you quite likely already have a few ideas for a vegan start-up around those pain points (a 100% vegan-only Deliveroo, anyone?).

 

However, just because you think it would be a great idea, and because your (vegan) friends said it would work (maybe they are just being nice), doesn't mean it would work in real life and that people will open their purse to spend their hard-earned cash.

 

Luckily for you, there are many tools that we can use to evaluate the (actual) demand for your idea.

 

Also, with those tools, you will be able to see if there are any pain points that you haven't thought about yet. I will give you an example below.

 

The best tool to evaluate demand is Google's Keyword Planner. They have, however, changed things in the recent past and you need to be a paying Google Adwords customer now to use it.

 

Luckily for you (again), there is now Ubersuggest by Neil Patel, which we cannot recommend enough. It gives you pretty much the same data, and it is entirely free of charge. 

 

Just type in your idea as you would do in a Google search ("gluten-free vegan pizza", "sugar-free vegan snack" "Vegan Bristol", etc.) and you will see how many people have googled for this already in the past. 

 

This will help you find out if you are the only person who thinks your idea will work or if there are other (paying) customers for this product. 

 

Cause let's be honest, if someone already typed it into Google (or used Alexa, Siri, etc.), they evidently have an interest in this product or this solution (this is where you come in to serve them).

 

Speaking of search queries, the longer the search query, the lower the search volume (but, the higher the intent to buy). 

 

The term "vegan" will always have more search volume than "vegan-friendly restaurants in North East England."

 

So, don't be discouraged if your idea does not have much volume. Just reduce the number of words in your query ("vegan restaurant Manchester") and see what the search volume is. 

 

Speaking of volume, anything that has more than 4,000 monthly searches on average can be seen as an excellent place to start. 

 

If your keyword or keyword combination is below that, don't worry veganism is (one of) the fastest growing lifestyles in the UK. There might be little demand right now. However, it is very likely to increase. 

 

Don't go too broad in the beginning. Narrow down your focus on a small niche of the market.

 

Whether your goal is money or not, the riches is in the niches (pronounced as "nitches"). So, focus instead and find your tribe, your 1,000 (true) fans.

 

Last but not least, we advise looking at "Keyword ideas". This is where you can find some long tail keywords and ideas that you might not have looked at.

 

So, if your idea is to launch a vegan T-Shirt business ("vegan shirt"), you might find out in Ubersuggest that a fair amount of people are searching for "ethical vegan shirts", and/or for "sustainably made vegan shirts."

 

You can use this information to pivot your business (or your idea) towards a more eco-friendly and ethical vegan t-shirt business.

 

II) LAUNCH:

Once you have come up with an idea (and evaluated it), it is time to launch it. 

 

Depending on your vegan business, different approaches are proven to work for various industries. 

 

At the end of the day, a vegan food stall will need different marketing than a vegan, cruelty-free cosmetics start-up.

 

Two tools that we do want to talk about, nevertheless, are Jeff Walker's PLF and virality marketing.

 

The former, Jeff Walker's Product Launch Formula (PLF) should be your go-to source for launching pretty much anything.

 

His book (Launch) was the main inspiration to motivate ALIVE Boutique's founder Lucas to set up his business.

 

Because of time, we will not go into detail about the PLF and will instead forward you to Jeff's great Youtube channel with tons of excellent materials.

 

The second tool we wanted to recommend is Queueat which will help you create a virtual queue for your product, even before you launch it.

 

It will help you get your audience to share and sell your business, so they help to do the marketing for you. This service works beautifully as well with crowdfunding, which, of course, is another fantastic way of launching any kind of business.

 

As crucial as a well-orchestrated launch is, we recommend not to overthink this step. It's much better to launch a product today that is only 95% perfect than procrastinating and waiting to get to those (not even necessary) 100%.

 

III) Marketing:

Once you have launched, it is time to do marketing.

 

To limit ourselves a bit, we will reduce this to email marketing, social media (Instagram) and content marketing.

 

Email marketing is still the king. Yes, there are particular social networks, that come and go, bringing an insane marketing budget with them. 

 

Because of that, all we think about is going Live and doing stories on all kind of social networks (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Messenger, etc.). 

 

However, what is the likelihood of you using the exact same social media you're using today, in 5 years? 

 

Think about how much your use of Facebook has changed over the last 5 years, or since you started using it (probably more than 10 years!). 

 

What hasn't changed (much) is your use of Email. You might even still have the same email address! So, once you get someone to sign up to your newsletter, this email address is an asset.

 

Yes, Social media is here to stay, no one would ever deny that. Your Instagram followers, however, will be less valuable in 5 years than they are now because those users will have moved on to the next platform. 
 

Most likely to sign up with the same Gmail address they've had for 20 years... 

 

So, build your list today. Set up a MailChimp account for free and start collecting emails.

 

If you don't yet have a website, that is not a problem.  

The easiest way of doing this is connecting your Facebook fan page to your MailChimp account so people can sign up to it. 

 

You can find more information on how that works here.

 

Your next question might be: "Fine, I'll focus on Email. But what the hell am I supposed to send them?"

 

We get it. We've asked ourselves the same questions. 

 

The good news is (well, there is no bad news actually) that there are tools we can use to come up with content ideas.

 

The best one of them is Buzzsumo, which will show what content is already being shared over the internet. 

 

Find the topics that your audience evidently likes to read and create similar, yet even better content.

 

By sharing that content not only on your website but also doing guest blogs on other platforms, you can get social proof as more people will see your content.

 

Plus, you will get tons of traffic from those other vegan blogs.

 

SUMMARY:

So, this is pretty much it.

 

Make sure that there is enough demand for your idea because otherwise, you will have a lot of marketing to sell it to the right audience. 

 

Once you have defined your idea, it's time to prepare your launch. 

 

And last but not least, do not underestimate marketing. Organic reach, whether on Google, Facebook, or Instagram has been decreasing, and it does not seem to be stopping anytime soon.

 

What about you? Do you have an idea to start a  (vegan) business or did someone tell you to set up a start-up?

 

Or, have you launched a business in the past and can you recommend us some tools and give us some tips?

 

Do let us know in the comments below.

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