We too were once a startup and wow, what a fun time it was! But it wasn’t smooth sailing and lessons were learned – here are the eight we consider to be the most important affecting the startup market in 2019.
It is rare for a company to offer an entirely new, innovative product that’s never been presented to the market, which means you should expect competition. Who are your competitors? What will you do that they don’t? Research into the opposition is key to the development of your product or service. Poor competitor analysis will doom your startup from day one.
2. Knowing exactly what your product is
As strange as it sounds, this problem is more common than expected. Not being clear about what your product or service is will send out a confused message. People don’t want to guess at what it is you offer, they want to know how you will add value to their lives. If you don’t know, you will never convince someone else to buy what you don’t understand.
A product may be the greatest ever invented, a game-changer, über-innovative, but if no one knows about it, it will never sell. Marketing is easily overlooked, but essential if your startup is going to thrive. Your logo, website, print material, copy, SEO, social media, Google pay-per-click, all of it has to be beautifully designed, uniformly branded and it must convey the corporate message with style and impact. To do that you need an ongoing marketing plan, creative talent, and consistent delivery. If you don’t have the talent in-house, this is one of the easiest aspects of your startup to outsource and will remove much of the initial stress of running a business.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there? Without a plan you are merely a dervish, whirling in the wind, whipping the dust around you in spectacular style but with little to show when the spinning stops. And it’s not just about setting goals, it’s about making sure you make the most of your time and resources. Limits on either require sensible planning, keen foresight, and the ability to be flexible (even the best plans change).
You have the ideas, but do you have the energy to drive them home? A startup is a huge undertaking. There will be long hours, little appreciation, mistakes, you will occasionally exercise poor judgement – all of these factors will mount and cause you to question what you’re doing – that’s when motivation and drive to see one through the tough times. Not giving up is the key factor to the success for the majority of entrepreneurs. Yes, luck, skill and ability play their parts, but without the motivation to keep going in the face of adversity, you are merely a quitter.
6. Prospering on finite resources
This may sound a little crazy, but working with limited resources is one of the best things a startup can experience. Having to think laterally or create solutions to problems within a limited budget allows for innovation. It tests the abilities of the founders and pushes them to achieve more. Startups rarely have the funds to employ all the experts or tools needed at the start of the venture. The founders have to dig deep and discover hidden talents, allowing them take on multiple roles. This is an exciting time and the best opportunity to learn new skills and broaden one’s understanding of all aspects of running and growing a company.
Time is the one thing people value least but need most. We don’t need to tell you that time flies, and when you are starting a new enterprise, that time flies super-fast. Plan and monitor your time. Use an app like Clockify (you can find our review of the app here) to track every task and at the end of the week, critically analyse what you’ve done and why. Optimising your day will allow you to do more and be effective at what you do.
8. The capricious nature of startups
Once all of the above is in order, be prepared for the operation, culture, personnel, and most others things to change constantly, on a whim, and with little notice. What should never change are your core values; those that guide your decision making and make you the person you are. Everything springs from you. Experience, time, and the ability to learn from your mistakes (there will be mistakes) will build the confidence you will need to handle the needs of an ever-changing landscape.
Lastly, if you are the beginning of your status adventure, all the team at Holton & Company wish you the very best of luck! And you are looking to outsource your marketing department, you’re in the right place. Contact us here.