The business startup scene is one of the most ruthless sectors in the world. With a 90% failure rate, it’s obvious most startups don’t make the cut. Sure, some of the blame can be placed on market saturation, but the bitter truth is that most startups simply don’t know how to, well, start.
Having a great idea is one thing; seeing that idea to fruition is a whole different story. Grit, gumption, tenacity -- these are the traits you need to survive in the industry.
If you’re looking to test your mettle in the startup world, here are four tips to help you start moving.
1. Start by defining your goals
First things first, if you want to grow a business, you need to outline exactly how you expect to do it. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised by how many startups simply fail to outline their goals beforehand. Amateur mistake.
When starting your initial outline for how you want your startup to look like, it’s important to ask yourself one simple question: “What does success look like to you?"
Your business plan is bound to change as you clear the clutter and get a more visible picture of how you want to grow your brand. The extras can be tackled later on down the line -- the important thing now is to hit the ground running.
2. Work on your sales pitch
Field of Dreams had it wrong: Even if you build it, they won’t necessarily come. The key to succeeding in the startup industry is to know your product inside and out. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Knowing your product means identifying all the pros, addressing the cons, and focusing on how it can benefit the user.
Once you have those initial logistics down, you then need to define your audience. That’s where content marketing, curated campaigns, and other tailored content initiatives kick in. A little market research never hurt anyone, and you should also start looking at competitors in the market space.
Remember, today’s consumer craves accessibility. The average attention span is shorter than ever, and marketing your product has never been more difficult. Sure, there are more mediums to promote your brand -- Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. -- but that doesn’t mean those clicks will turn into cash. This is why it’s important to start slow and work your way up.
3. Channel your focus
The early stages of creating a startup can be filled with a lot of emotion and energy. That’s why the trick to staying grounded is to focus on the here and now. Take the time to list all the obstacles standing between you and your dream, and then start brainstorming ways to tackle them.
Your product has to be unique; it has to stand out from the crowd and offer something that competitors simply don’t -- or can’t. Ironically one of the best ways to find your USP (unique selling point) is through market feedback.
If possible, try releasing your product to a closed test market to see how it’s received. With your product out in the open, you can take advantage of invaluable (and honest) customer feedback to see how and where you can improve. Once you conducted a few trials, you can use that feedback to redesign your image, reevaluate your USP, and work toward taking your startup to the next level.
4. Aim for greatness but expect troubled waters
The bitter truth is that most startups never make it to the finish line. Whether this is due to a lack of capital, a narrow vision, or trying to do too much too soon is moot; the big takeaway here is that it’s important to start slow, set tangible goals, and then work your way up.
The CEO of UrbanStems, which is now one of the largest online flower delivery systems in the world, started his business by buying flowers from Costco and then driving around town to see who wanted to buy them. By getting out there and doing it himself he learned a lot about the process and kept making incremental changes that increased customer satisfaction.
When it comes down to it, there are no hard-set rules to developing a startup. If you’re able to influence at least one decision maker every day 365 days, that’s a success. Using that initial stepping stone to grow your vision is the best, easiest, and most effective way to see your startup through the end of the day, the most important step you take is the first one.
Still not sure where to start? We’re here to help! Reach out to StellaPop today to see how we can turn your dream into a reality.