Preparing For The Future: Enabling Your Start-Up For Long-Term Success
We are currently in the midst of a start-up revolution. While we can all agree that 2020 must be marked with a big asterisk, the past decade has seen a real boom in the number of emerging start-ups. While there is rarely a singular reason for marketplace trends, there are two major factors that are accredited to the start-up surge.
The first reason is that technology and online resources have broken down barriers to entry into a lot of industries. E-commerce, digital services, and online-based companies can be established overnight and often require very little investment to get off the ground. There are free guides and tutorials available online to walk you through a successful venture. While this leads to increased competition, it provides entrepreneurs with a lot of support.
Secondly, the modern worker is shifting their priorities when it comes to a work-life balance. A large portion of the young workforce places more value on happiness and job satisfaction than previous generations. Having a dependable and steady income in a reputable company is moving down the pecking order in terms of work preferences.
With the availability of technology and resources combined with changing employee demands, entrepreneurial spirit is flourishing.
Although there are new start-ups coming out of the woodwork every day, the process of establishing a successful business doesn’t get any easier. It requires a serious amount of hard work, dedication, skill, and knowledge. Business owners must plan ahead, organise, and create operations that will lead to success in the long term.
While it’s common for start-ups to be profitable within the first number of years, the truth of the matter is that only half of new businesses make it past their fifth year. Whether this comes down to bad luck, failure to adapt, or incompetency, it demonstrates that work must be done to enable a start-up for long-term success.
Fortunately, there are key areas to focus on that can give you every opportunity to succeed. While success is never guaranteed, by taking affirmative action and making the right decisions, businesses can reduce the likelihood of failure.
If you’re trying to get a new start-up off the ground, here are some key tips to enable it for long-term success.
1-Establish clear goals and targets
Goals and targets are essential ingredients for success in every situation. Without them, it’s almost impossible to have a vision, direction, or strategy. You must define success and determine what it takes to achieve it.
Set clear goals and targets and ensure that you have effective ways to measure your progress in achieving them. All goals should be aligned with a strategy and an action list. Set short, medium, and long-term goals, with timelines and completion dates.
Make sure to adapt your goals should you face unforeseen circumstances.
Many start-ups operate with a permanent skeleton staff. Although this can be necessary to survive in the short-term, it frequently leads to certain employees being overburdened. Inevitably, this hampers progress and causes complacency in key areas.
Start-up owners must learn to delegate tasks and responsibilities that benefit future progress. Whether this involves hiring new employees, utilising management software, outsourcing, or changing the management system, tasks must be properly assigned and carried out.
3-Create a lasting brand
To be successful in the long-term, a business must create a strong identity. Customers need to trust and relate to brands. A company that connects with consumers beyond a buyer-seller level has a much better chance of creating a loyal customer base.
Logos, taglines, slogans, and consistent branding are important, but developing a positive identity that is reliable and consistent is essential in the long-term.
Find a purpose, values, and identity, and learn to connect with your target audience.
4-Use social media the right way
For start-ups and small businesses, social media is perhaps their most powerful marketing tool. The majority of businesses have social media channels and understand the importance of posting regularly. However, too few of them utilise these platforms to their potential.
Facebook and Instagram have built-in advertising managers, allowing you to create and run targeted campaigns. Seek out specific demographics and dedicate ad campaigns to convert them.
Social media platforms also provide businesses with a lot of data. Businesses can analyse their audience, viewers, advertisements, posts, and engagements, giving them key insights into the performance of the company.
Make the most of your social media and optimise your channels for maximum effectiveness.
5-Know your customers
Customers are the most important part of any business. Solving their needs and wants is an on-going process that requires attentiveness and focus. Start-ups must continue to engage with their customers and know exactly what they expect and desire.
Use data, marketing, and market research to connect with your customers. Ensure that you can meet their demands at all times. Note that customer demands are constantly changing so this must be done continuously
6-Pay attention to cash flow
Cash-flow problems lead to the failure of many new businesses. Start-ups must be aware of this and take the necessary actions to reduce the potential for such problems. Cash-flow issues can pop-up unexpectedly but there are some ways to keep on top of this:
Forecast and review monthly finances, open a line of credit to afford flexibility, minimise overheads, don’t rush progress, keep bookkeeping up-to-date, and set financial goals.
Don’t let cash-flow disrupt business operations due to disorganisation and a lack of planning.
7-Hire specialist services
Many start-ups are small companies made up of experts in the industries that they’re operating in. A lot of them can’t afford to hire members of staff to fulfil supplementary roles, such as marketing, accounting, I.T., etc.
Hiring specialist services to handle certain areas of the business can be cost-effective and beneficial. It gives you the opportunity to avail of expert services while gaining additional time to work on the core aspects of your business.
Marketing specialists like ProfitReach can fully optimise your digital marketing strategy by providing consultation or hands-on services.
Avoid neglecting or poorly executing important functions within your start-up.
Data and analytics are becoming some of the most vital aspects of business and marketing. With so much of people’s lives now revolving around technology, there is an abundance of customer data created every second.
Start-ups can learn a lot about internal processes, marketing performance, consumer behaviour, and potential customer targets through careful analysis. Utilise the data produced by company software, websites, and social media channels to drive future decision making.
Continuous analysis can help keep your start-up ahead of the curve, enabling it for success in the long-term.
A company website is essentially its digital shop window. It’s no longer acceptable for companies to have a lacklustre webpage. Modern consumers are so accustomed to quality and easy to navigate websites that the slightest of inconveniences can cause them to leave a webpage.
Optimise your website from usability and visual standpoints. Pay particular attention to the buyer’s journey. Ensure that there is minimal clutter and that all purchasing processes are convenient and straightforward. Make sure there is relevant call-to-action but avoid over-selling.
Develop SEO based content and focus on driving organic traffic to your site.
10-Aim for marketing excellence
Start-ups today are in an advantageous position whereby they have access to expert marketing resources and information at little to no cost. Marketing excellence can be achieved by utilising social media, targeted advertising, and other digital tools. Alternatively, outsourcing to specialist service providers is a great option.
Companies of all shapes and sizes are now leaning towards automation to improve processes. Early adopters of automation technology often avail of tremendous competitive advantages.
For start-ups, automation allows you to enhance productivity, efficiency, and other important functions without the need for significant additional resources. It gives businesses the opportunity to continue scaling upwards while maintaining the structure of the company.
Look to areas of the business that are repetitive, monotonous, and time-consuming. Certain aspects of marketing, HR, logistics, and data analysis can be automated to great effect, no matter your industry.
Automation is only in its infancy for most industries. Slowly adapt processes for future success and consider automation to help you get there.
12-Failure is your friend
As an entrepreneur, it’s critical that you understand the importance of failure. Nobody wants to fail and realising that you’ve fallen short certainly doesn’t feel good. However, failure is a key aspect of the learning process.
Failure only becomes negative in the long-term if you don’t learn from it. You must use every setback as a lesson and use them for future benefit.
Embrace failure and apply your learnings to enable you for success in the long run.
13-Create business relationships
Having trustworthy, reliable, and strategic connections in business are very valuable. As a fresh start-up, you might have to rely on others to help you out in certain situations. Whether this is through support or advice, positive relationships are key.
There are no freebies in business. Ensure that you have something to offer potential business partners. A mutually beneficial relationship is the only way to add consistent value in the long-term.
Network with other businesses and seek out dynamic business relationships that can springboard you to newer heights.