You may have the perfect business idea for a startup, but if your execution doesn’t take that idea and turn it into a reality the right way, all your dreams could easily go up in smoke. While of course all entrepreneurs learn a lot along the way, it does pay to do your research and learn as much as you can about the best ways of building a business from scratch before you open your doors.
If you’re keen to launch a new venture over the coming months or years, read on for some top tips you should follow to help you attain startup success, no matter the industry.
1. Solve a Problem
One of the first things you need to do when evaluating your business idea is to work out whether or not you would be really solving a problem if you launched. If you believe so, the next step is to question if there are plenty of people out there who are searching for a solution to this particular problem. If your research leads you to believe that the market would only be very small, then you have to consider if your business would ever be able to find its feet financially as a result.
2. Have a Point of Difference
Successful businesses are also those which can demonstrate a strong point of difference from other ventures in their sector. If you plan to start a business which sells the same types of products or services as other firms, and in the same ways, then you likely won’t have enough of a unique selling proposition to generate lots of sales and build a loyal customer base. You may be able to tweak your idea though to come up with a really strong point of difference that will help you stand out from the crowd.
3. Use Strong Branding
Another way to get your business known in a competitive environment is to have strong branding that is used consistently across all avenues, from your business cards and email signatures, to your social media profiles, website, packaging, marketing and more.
Branding that gets results will:
- Be different to that used by your competitors
- Be tailored for your specific target market
- Showcase your company’s point of difference
- Look professional
It’s best to hire the services of a graphic designer or other specialist in this area to help you come up with the right branding for your needs.
4. Accept Credit and Debit Cards
In this day and age, if you really want to kick start your business sales you need to provide multiple payment options for customers. Most people prefer to pay with a card (or via PayPal) these days, rather than carry cash on them. As such, if you don’t want to limit your potential sales, you should partner with a reputable merchant services provider so that you can accept debit and credit card payments at the checkout.
5. Have a Professional Website
These days it’s also vital to have a professional-looking website that current and potential customers can use to find out about your company. The best websites have a user-friendly navigation, display great graphics, leave plenty of white space for an uncluttered look, and contain helpful information.
Consumers use websites for a variety of purposes. They research products and services, read testimonials and product reviews, join up to newsletters, participate in forums, get in touch with businesses, and buy online. As such, you will miss out on many sales if you don’t put your best foot forward with a website.
6. Utilize Social Media
When it comes to having an online presence and using marketing tactics, you also shouldn’t miss utilizing social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+. Many people around the world go straight to social media websites for inspiration and information when they want to buy a product or service, so you need to be active on at least one platform.
If you feel overwhelmed by the variety of sites to post on, just start with one or two and build up from there. As well, depending on your industry, some sites may work better than others, so you will need to evaluate this individually for your particular business.
7. Surround Yourself With the Right People
Another important element in startup success is being surrounded with the right people. It pays to learn from mentors, business consultants and other people who have the experience to guide you as you navigate the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur.
You also need to hire the right staff to build your team as you grow. Look for candidates who are not only more versed than you in the particular area you’re hiring for, but that also display key personality traits such as positivity, flexibility, a desire to learn, and adaptability.