Start-ups are born from great ideas. Whether it is Uber, the car-hailing app, AirBnB, the online hospitality service or ‘Dropbox’, the file hosting service, each of these businesses started with a single great idea. The timely execution of the ideas in the right manner resulted in their massive success.
However, not all start-ups can get off the ground. Why? It is because the owners often overlook certain factors that can contribute to a startup’s success.
In this post, we will discuss five factors that may be preventing your startup from becoming successful and also touch upon the ways to overcome them:
1. Having the Wrong Mindset
According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, “It’s all about your mindset.” Successful people tend to focus on growth, solving problems and self-improvement, while unsuccessful people think of their abilities as fixed assets and avoid challenges.”
If you want your startup to be successful, you need to have the right mindset. Everybody is out there to earn money, but you need to prepare the ground, get a good grip over your circumstances, and then go on to earn money.
Focus on building relationships with your customers, business associates, employees and everyone who matters to your business. Relationships are not built in a day, you need to work hard on the marketing aspects, expanding your abilities and formulating up your company policies to foster relationships.
Most entrepreneurs have limited budgets, so it is their mindset that helps them sustain their startups in the early years. Once you set the ground, money starts to pour in.
2. Lack of a Documented Content Strategy
Content marketing is the most powerful marketing tool for start-ups as it helps them gain visibility, improve brand awareness, and cut through the noise.
However, having a content strategy is not enough; documenting it is important to ensure success and reap the best benefits. According to Content Marketing Institute’s ‘2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America’ report, “53 percent of the most effective marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.”
Take the example of Leadpages, automated software that helps users build custom landing pages for their brand. The company maintains a blog full of useful resources that help readers improve their online marketing efforts.
The company also invests in an email campaign to keep readers in the loop. Leadpages also offers webinars and tutorials suitable to its platform. Maintaining a diverse content marketing campaign would have been impossible without a documented content strategy. The company focused on the right areas and its subscriber base grew from zero to 15,000 in just one year.
3. Not Targeting the Local Market First
Going global has become a lot easier. With the advent of the social media platforms, you can easily reach out to people in other parts of the world. But when it comes to marketing your startup, you should begin with local audience and then expand your reach.
According to Wordstream, “72 percent of consumers who did a local search visited a store within 5 miles.” Moreover, reports from Google indicates that 30 percent of all mobile searches are related to a location.
Start-ups can get enough traction by targeting local markets, as it is almost impossible to compete directly with larger competitors in other geographic locations. The benefits of targeting local markets include:
∙Access to familiar markets.
∙Low execution costs
∙Better scope of experimentation
∙Scope for quick improvement
Just because you operate locally does not mean everyone in your location will be interested in your products. Therefore, you need to identify your ideal customers. For instance, if you manufacture turnstile gates, you need to target shopping malls, retail shops, office complexes, and other customers who have a need for products that you create.
Identify your ideal customers by using various analytic tools and identify the keywords that your ideal customers would use to find products similar to yours. Use them strategically within your content. Create a documented content strategy to reach out to ideal customers and increase trust and loyalty among local customers. Once you have a strong grip over your local market, you can consider expanding your reach globally.
4. Security Matters
The Internet has brought along with it unprecedented resources and opportunities for both individuals and organizations. At the same time, it has also brought along a number of risks.
With the increase in ransomware attacks, ensuring security has become even more important. According to a June 2016 survey from Osterman Research, one out of every two respondents indicated that their organization has suffered at least one ransomware attack in the past 12 months.
Startup owners often overlook the security factor, because they start small (with a handful of resources); however, security still remains important. Therefore, start-ups must invest in firewalls and encryption software to protect their online identity and intellectual assets.
Physical security is also important in order to help organizations protect physical assets (laptops, servers, documents, etc.) and ensure better employee safety. Investing in alarms, fire alarms, and video surveillance cameras can be beneficial for a start-up. Even though you may have to invest a lot of money in the initial costs, high-tech security features will help sustain organizations in the long term.
5. Not Having a Crisis Management Plan
If you think crisis only hits large corporations, think again. Start-ups are vulnerable to the crisis too and not having a plan can result in a complete close-down. Crisis can come in any form, ranging from a PR crisis, losing an important client, facing a new competitor, manufacturing a defective product, or missing an important deadline.
Take the example of how Uber handled a crisis when a group of Uber drivers posted a letter that tainted the company’s reputation. The letter was about how the 35 percent rate cuts affected drivers’ pay. The letter went viral almost immediately. However, Founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick handled the situation smartly. Within hours he posted an article about the gross hourly rates for drivers in New York City, which featured data indicating a 6.3 percent increase in the drivers’ gross hourly rates in 2015.
Therefore, by having a crisis management plan in place, you can overcome any crisis situation.
Starting a business can be very exciting, but sustaining is the toughest part. Small mistakes can lead to huge after-effects, so make sure you take every step carefully. By addressing the factors discussed above, you can ensure success for your startup and grow your business rapidly.
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Rachel Oliver is a freelancer who has a way with words. She likes to write about anything and everything under the sun, but themes like business, self-improvement, motivations, interests her more. You can get in touch with her on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.