According to new data, fewer and fewer startups are launching.

How can those that are improve their odds of success?

Plonked, the new—and free—search engine that allows businesses, VCs and job hunters to discover and analyze companies, has come out with a few pre-launch tips for startups:

  • ​Research, research, research: Identify and research all possible competitors using more than one search tool (LinkedIn, Google, Plonked, Twitter). The more you know about your space, the better.
  • Don’t rush your messaging or branding: Your branding has to be pitch-perfect — don’t rush it. Finalize company messaging and rehearse messaging with all executives before putting your brand out into the world.
  • Establish and update social presence: Create and populate all social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Co-founders and all employees should make sure that professional and social profiles are updated to include new positions and company information.
  • Get to know yourself: Become fluent on all parts of the business–including all differentiators–and make sure your employees are too. Follow your company on all social channels and set up news alerts on keywords that are relevant to your business
  • Network and Connect: Leverage search and connection tools to identify and connect with potential VC firms, clients and other business development connections
  • Be prepared for a few setbacks, and don’t give up easily: Things rarely go as planned or run on schedule. Expect to hit some bumps in the road and be ready to pick yourself right back up and keep going.

Plonked unlocks connections, leads and M&A possibilities, and provides higher order metrics that give greater insight into how companies are actually doing. It also gives users insight into social connections, and how they may be connected to the company they are researching.