The Art of Running a Successful Startup
Running a startup is more than just running a successful business, it’s a form of art. Keeping your project on schedule while at the same time effectively engaging your target audience is nothing short of a balancing act. Startups are quite different from your regular business in this regard as they have extremely limited resources to achieve the same objectives. As a result, many budding startups resort to bootstrapping to fund their ongoing projects, and as such often need the support of their loyal fans and followers to do so. Yet, this feat requires a few pre-requisites to be fulfilled first, so without further ado, let’s get the show on the road and get straight to it:
Marketing magic tricks
Before running your own show, you need to be aware of all the tricks your competitors’ have up their sleeves, and what’s the magic behind them. For example, is it their unique product? Their branding? Their market niche? What exactly are the things that are doing so well for them, and why? Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should be a straight-up copy-cat, but it’ll give you a sense of what your products, or services, are up against. Also, you want to be sure that there’s a healthy market out there for your business for years to come. To do this, you need to collect data via interviews, surveys, mock e-commerce platforms, and social media to check the demand for your business idea. Once you have the necessary info you can proceed with the planning of the rest.
Sculpting your dream team
As you’ll be pretty understaffed, it’s important to create a team that will synergize well with its members to get the most out of them. Hence, you need to find unique individuals, each with their own sets of strengths and weaknesses, to fill your roster. Having co-workers which are too similar to you in both skill and personality, won’t bring anything new to the table, and would be a waste of resources. For example, you need someone who’s a natural-born leader and a shot-caller to be your project manager, someone with enough passion and ambition to drive your startup forward. Likewise, you also want to have someone who’s more level-headed than that project manager in order to pull the breaks when the team has too much on their plate to handle.
Crafting brand awareness
If you want people to recognize your startup, you need to work on your brand awareness. Mind you, this isn’t just placing a logo in front of your name and calling it a day. Your brand should form an emotional connection with your customers, and you achieve this by staying consistent with your style and character. For example, Apple is best known for its somewhat smug and snobbish attitude about the superiority of their products over all others, as can be seen in their commercials. Hence, you need to discover your own style and tone which correspond well with your target audience. However, if you’re unsure on exactly how to find your own brand voice, don’t hesitate to look for business consulting services willing to help you with that creative block.
Financial juggling act
Funding a startup is a financial juggling act, and the success could largely depend on the amount of cash flowing into the business. For this reason, startups need to focus more on generating cash rather than thinking about profits. Running out of cash could very well be the end of the project itself, so startups need to look for alternative ways of funding, lest they run out of steam. Depending on your brand awareness, one thing you could try is crowdfunding, as for years Kickstarter has been the go-to platform for startups. The financial support from fans and followers was enough for Oculus Rift to go from a small startup into a multi-million business, before finally getting acquired by Facebook. Another way of collecting funds is by releasing paid closed-beta testing or allow pre-purchases of products to be made.
Social media performance
Finally, social media platforms are an excellent way for small businesses and startups to break through the competition and gain some brand recognition. Out there, any shared content has the potential to become viral if it offers something unique and engaging to the viewers, no matter who the poster of that content was. Meaning, even a bootstrapping startup can achieve some success and gain a huge following by employing contemporary social media strategies. One of the most popular ones nowadays is influencer marketing, which utilizes influential social media personas to engage your followers and generate new ones.
All in all, successful startups are not in need of businessmen but artists, with a wide range of skills, to run the show.
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