Owning a startup can indeed be a daunting task at times. Here are 8 tips that can help you battle the most common obstacles startups face during their growth.
1. Utilize your budget to its maximum
It does not matter what you are dealing in, marketing should always be at the top of your list of priorities. This being said, one of the easiest ways to market yourself is to create a website of your own and start promoting your business on social media. As you start to grow your company every single marketing effort you make should revolve around your website.
Even though you are running on a limited budget it should always be important that you present your product to potential customer base. It is true that building a website on your own might be a scary prospect, bit it is actually much easier than one might suspect.
Before making anything, you should spend some time doing research on popular content management systems, such as WordPress that will greatly reduce the amount of technical knowledge needed to create a website. Also make sure that you are aware of proper content architecture techniques, to prevent your otherwise well-made website be hard to read and interpret.
After your website is up and running, the next thing on your marketing to-do list should be creating an online presence through social media marketing. The best way to do this is by creating relevant content on your blog and promoting it through your business’ social media accounts.
2. Increase the Capital Available to You
For any business to be successful it is vital that the proper working capital be established. This coupled with good money management techniques can make or break a company in a very short period of time. One of the things any entrepreneur should be aware of is the balance between assets available and possible liabilities that a certain action poses.
There may come a time when you are dissatisfied with the amount of sales your business is conducting and your capital seems too small to run said business properly. Or the problem might be that your business has enough funds to run properly, but not enough for excess expanses like marketing, product development or something else. If you are struggling with short-term funding problems there are services online like Kabbage that offer money loans to businesses ranging from $2,000 to $100,000.
3. Create Long-Term Relationships With Good Clients
One of the strongest marketing assets you have at your disposal are the satisfied customers that leave your business. Checking up on customer satisfaction, responding to any inquiries in a timely manner and offering free content can all positively influence your customer’s view of your business.
The problem here begins when the amount of responses needed keeps you locked to your computer for prolonged periods of time. This is where Customer Relationship Management systems like LifeTopix come in handy to sort customers and manage responses.
You can also utilize one of the e-mailing services like MailChimp or Aweber to send out personalized messages to your customers when you wish to inform them of something that they might find useful like promotions or new features.
4. Manage Your Time Effectively
When you become an owner of a business, you will no longer be able to have a normal 40-hour work week. Since you will be constantly working on managing your business it is important that you also manage your time properly in order to prevent a burnout.
When creating your goals for the future, you should make sure that they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based. When you make sure that your goals meet all of these criteria you can start putting them into action.
All of your projects, actions and tasks should be carefully analyzed before started. Breaking down projects into small tasks and handing these tasks to different people can increase the pace at which projects are completed.
One of the most important things when it comes to running a business is focus. Advice from customers and investors, demands of employees and changes in market can all offset you from the goals you set for yourself and your business. Take a look at successful businesses that focused on their goals in startup stage and how it affected their growth.
5. Make Sure You Have the Right People Working For You
Finding the people who share your views of the business and work that needs to be done is one of the most important things when hiring for a startup. Those people need to have the ability to work in a small group and complete the work on their own. It is also helpful that your employees have a set of skills that cover many different areas rather than being specifically oriented to a single one.
Your employees need to be able to do what is needed without the need for greater amount of explanation of the job.
With the recruiting firms’ costs being too steep for a new business, it might be a better choice to take care of recruiting on your own. Use your local resources and services like LinkedIn to find the people willing to work for you.
6. Make Sure That Your Online Reputation is Well Maintained
The most important thing when it comes to marketing your product to a wider audience are the online reviews of previous users or customers. While the word-of-mouth is the most effective way to market, online reviews are the next best thing, since they act in much the same way.
The best way to combat negative reviews is to be ready to answer them in a calm and friendly manner and offer to resolve the issue as soon as possible. It is natural that at one point somebody will post a negative review and the most important thing is to try to win that customer back.
Make sure that you are checking review sites like Yelp and Google Reviews on a regular basis. If you can, respond to both negative and positive reviews as soon as possible. Software like Google Alerts can help you manage your reviews by letting you know when one is made regarding your business.
7. Stay Competitive Even Against Big Companies
It is not uncommon for startups to find competition in large, developed firms. Even though these companies have much greater budget and resources both material and contact-wise, there is still a way for a small business to succeed. Make sure that you keep your focus. Since most big companies have to cover many different areas they will have focus on none of them and this is where small businesses thrive.
Another thing to look out for is your prices. Your focus on a single aspect of your work will make your service stand out and if you can provide exceptional service for less money the customers are sure to show up.
Most importantly, you should maintain contact with customers. Big companies loose the ability to communicate with customers day to day due to their sheer amount. You should use this and make sure that every customer leaves your business 100% satisfied. This will make sure that people are telling good things about your business in turn attracting more customers for you.
8. Make the Supply Chain as Efficient as Possible
What differentiates American Giant from other companies is the fact that they altered their supply chain and are selling their products directly from storage. This reduces the transportation and distribution costs and allows for greater focus on the quality of the product. They are essentially following a model that software developers are using and that is to get the product directly to the user without the need for a third party.
This proves that a little creativity goes a long way. Do not be afraid to innovate and shape your business in a way that is most cost-efficient and productive, even though the approach you might take is not widely utilized.