Are you an entrepreneur looking for tips on how to make your business successful? Are you a visionary planning to launch your own startup? Read ahead. This guide for startups might be the motivation you have been looking for!
Nothing around you looks in your favor. New businesses and startups are getting launched every day. According to SBA, there were 30.7 million small businesses, in the US alone, in 2019. The marketspace looks saturated. The competition is fierce. Global economic growth is at the lowest. As a matter of fact, the net economic growth in 2019, at 2.3%, was the “lowest of the entire decade”, according to the UN.
Where does one find the motivation to add one more business to this list? You definitely don’t want your business to be “just another business”. You would want your startup to stand out in this crowd. You need a startup guide that helps you to make your mark.
You are in the right place. The guide for startups has the key elements that will help you to not only run your small business but also to make your startup successful in 2020.
Tips for Startups: The Beginning Phase
If you are wondering what is the best time to launch your startup, here’s your answer. A neutral or slow economy is considered the best time to launch your startup or push your small business to the next level.
Every company launched after the dot com boom, such as Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, is a perfect example of this. This means right now is the best time to materialize your business idea and launch your startup!
Running a small business or startup is more difficult than starting one. I believe that there is not just one right way to run a small business or startup. You just have to be correct about whether this is the right way for your business.
For instance, a strategy that has worked for a business 5 years ago might not work for you. Today’s disruptive market is getting weary of copy cats and is rewarding innovation in full.
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs
One common problem that entrepreneurs face, when running a small business or startup, are financial resources. You, as a business owner, understand this better than anyone else. If you are planning to launch your startup, you should better be prepared for this!
The first trick you should stick to, for your startup or small business, is striking a balance. Maintain a balance between all the focus areas. Don’t spend too much on marketing your products/services. Similarly, don’t invest your resources in just product development or the betterment of your services.
VO2 Sportswear, a UK startup, failed to maintain cash inflow and ran out of business, in spite of making £250k in its third year. Draw inspiration from failed startups in the past. Educate yourself and swear never to repeat their mistakes!
Tips for Startups: How to Use Technology in Small Business?
You know how everyone keeps talking about why you should use technology in your business but no one tells you how to? Well, I will tell you a few ways you can use technology to support your startup or small business.
If you are still wondering why you should use technology in your business, it’s 2020! Don’t be a caveman. Besides, consider the dollars you are going to save using technology in your small business.
I am not telling you to start using robots right away in your startup. Or build a fancy infrastructure using AI. That would not be wise.
Start by using technology in areas when it has already proven its worth. This could be as trivial as generating bills or tracking productivity. The use of even simple mobile apps saves small business employees 725 million work hours per year.
It could also be as important as handling your consumers/clients or directing marketing strategies. The use of technology can come in really handy, especially for small businesses. Small businesses and startups usually run low on employees and other resources. You, as an entrepreneur, can’t handle everything even after overworking yourself!
One of the technologies that startups and small businesses must use right from the beginning is email management software. This can really help you to keep up with the large volume of daily emails.
Another technological application you should start using for your startup/small business is project management software. This will help you to get organized and identify pain areas in your business processes.
Tip: Even if you are finding the use of technology really impactful in your startup or small business, be mindful about the part of your budget you spend for the same.
Invest in the use of technology for your small business only until it supports its sustainability and growth! Don’t overspend.
Tips for Startups: How to Build Customer Loyalty?
Spoiler alert: Building customer loyalty for your startup or small business is going to be really tough. Stay clear of the click baits that promise to offer you the “golden mantra”. There is no easy crack or shortcut to this.
Any startup or small business functions on the needs of its customers. As a startup, you are either creating a need among your consumers or filling a void in the existing market.
A loyal consumer base defines the existence of your startup or small business. You have to make sure that your consumers feel more connected to your products/services than your competitors. Think of the brands you use daily in your life.
For instance, if you have to buy clothes, you go to a brand X. Similarly, if you are planning to get groceries, you go to a supermarket or an online store Y. X and Y may have been in business for really long. Over the years, they have led you to believe that there are no better options out there. It could be through quality consumer service, delivering consistent quality or anything else!
You, as the CEO of a startup or a small business, cannot achieve this overnight. But you have to start at some point, right? Start small and start right.
56% of customers are more loyal to a brand that “gets them”.
It’s almost impossible for a giant conglomerate to reach out or acknowledge complaints of every consumer/client no matter how hard they try. You, as a startup, can do better than that.
Promote a transparent and easy feedback channel in your business. Make your consumers feel special and try adding a personal touch to your products/services for your customers and clients.
Tips for Startups: Importance of Employees in Small Business
Everything that I have mentioned in this blog demands one common thing – skilled employees. Investing in employees always pays off. But how are employees important for the growth of your small business?
Setting up a pool of talented employees is important. From the use of technology to customer loyalty and more, everything depends on the quality of the workforce your startup or small business has. But how will you do that?
To see things with a better perspective, consider this. You are someone who is just starting off. Your business is not stable right now. According to SBA, 5 out of every 10 new businesses don’t last for even 5 years!
Stats like these sound pretty scary to a potential employee. I understand that qualified candidates have become more open about working with startups over the years but should this your last resort? Besides, can you even afford them?
A candidate with 5-10 years of experience with job offers from a world-renowned company, like Amazon, and your startup/small business will probably choose Amazon for obvious reasons.
This comes later in the hiring cycle. You will have to first filter the right candidates and interview/test them to check if they match your expectations.
Do you, as a startup or small business, have the resources to invest without any assurance of positive results? Now, considering the importance of employees, how should you go about staffing your startup?
There are limited options if you want a quality workforce for your business. Having a full-fledged in-house team is off the table. The only staffing solution you are left with is working with remote employees.
There are two ways to go about working with remote employees – either hire freelancers or choose managed remote employees for your business using the Staff Augmentation Model.
You don’t want a short term solution like working with freelancers to ruin the reputation of your startup or small business, do you? This is where the reliability, affordability, and quality of managed remote employees through the Staff Augmentation model come in. The staff augmentation allows you to set your remote team while saving money and achieving top-quality work for your consumers/clients.
Employees are important for your business. But you have to make smart choices when it comes to hiring them. Choose the option that allows you to do more and cost less!
Tips for Startups: How to Market Your Small Business?
When the question of “how to market your startup or small business” is put up, you can find hundreds of online guides but how do you know the right one for your business? You can’t go one trying everything online for marketing your small business or startup.
The bad news every business needs a tailored marketing strategy. And for creating a custom marketing strategy, you might have to follow “hit and trial” and choose the one that gives you the best Return On Investment (ROI).
Though I believe that innovation automatically generates revenue for a business, you’ll have to be smart about the marketing of your startup. Before I move on to how to market your startup or small business, the budget cap for marketing should be defined first.
If you follow the 5% marketing rule for startups, the marketing budget for your small business or startup should be between 2-5% of your net sales revenue. I believe that this rule can be flexible as per the requirements of your startup.
Start by allocating an amount that you can afford to risk and invest it in a well-established marketing strategy. And irrespective of the marketing strategy you choose, don’t forget to track its performance.
For instance, if your current focus is to drive organic traffic on your website, make sure that you mend the exit pages, optimize conversion rates, reduce bounce rates and modify your sales funnel as per the behavior of users on your website. Your marketing budget will drain down in the gutter without the use of proper analytics.
Having said that, the first step of marketing your startup should be creating online visibility. Building a healthy digital footprint has become mandatory for every business. Work on creating a smart digital marketing strategy and split your budget into organic & paid strategies.
Keep a close eye on your competitors and try to identify their marketing techniques. Don’t copy them entirely, of course. Leverage social media to create buzz, build consumer relationships and networking. Find ways to interact with your customers. Create useful content and work on establishing authority in your industry.
Tips for Startups: The Final Statement
Running a successful startup or small business will require your undivided attention. You, as an entrepreneur, should be open to taking calculated risks. Every minor decision you make today will define the future of your startup.
Right from materializing your startup idea to running it successfully, be proactive about adapting to market disruption and your consumer needs. Focus on “standing out” in your industry.
Make sure that the decisions you make are backed up with proper research. Identify the main focus areas in your startups and invest your resources accordingly. Here’s an eBook on how to fund your startup to help you get started with your business idea. Good luck!
Read more: Practices for Scaling Your Startup
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