It’s exciting to start a new business, especially if you have something that consumers will want to purchase. Unfortunately, it’s also true that 90% of start-ups fail, according to Forbes. So, how can you be part of the other 10%?
The first thing to do is carry out research and see what’s already on the market. What are the recent trends? What market sectors are on the rise and why? Where are your customers hanging out, and where can you find them? Who are your competitors? Are you sure no one else has already produced your product or service? If you’re joining a competitive market, what makes you stand out?
After you’ve carried out extensive research and are convinced that what you have created will be a new addition to the market and beneficial to a group of consumers, here’s what you should take into account in order to succeed.
1. Don’t Be Afraid of the Competition
Entering a competitive market can be daunting. But, most probably, you have created or developed something that will set you apart from your competitors. You’ve seen there’s a gap in the market, and you’re there to fill that hole.
You know that whatever you’re selling, whether it be a product, service, experience or feature, is worth the initial risk of entering a crowded market. So, believe in your offering. Believe that whatever you provide will improve the life of a group of consumers; your future customers.
If you understand your customers, there is no need to be afraid of the competition. Who is it for? Ask yourself that question to help you narrow down your target audience and deal with the nonbelievers.
I made this for you, not for anyone else, but for you.
When you understand your customer’s worldview, you know that whatever you’re offering will help someone solve a problem and make things better for those you seek to serve.
2. Go Digital
The pandemic has affected how consumers shop, now relying on online purchases. Also, Covid-19 has accelerated the development of e-commerce by around five years.
Nowadays, people are spending more time online than ever, with the average person spending around 3 hours and 15 minutes on their mobile phones every day. Chances are, your customers will be online, and so should you be.
Improve Online Conversion
Create your website; include information that will help your customers understand why you are different and what you have to offer. Make sure to list your products/services or features in a clear and aesthetically pleasing way. Also, it’s always a good idea to make your company approachable with contact details, social channels and live chat just in case any of your customers have questions or a problem that needs solving.
The more places you are online, the better. Why? Because it will help you grow your SEO and online visibility. Also, by joining different third-party platforms, you’ll be able to showcase your products or services to a larger community of consumers.
Psydro is another viable Google listing, offering start-ups and small businesses a range of unique features that will help them grow and attract new customers.
Finally, if you haven’t done so yet, you should create a business page on the most popular social media platforms. The average person spends around two and a half hours on these platforms every day. So, if you’re a new company looking to attract new customers and promote your brand, social media will help you out. Nowadays, you can even sell your products/ services on these platforms, which will help boost sales.
3. Create a Professional Image
Building up your credibility is essential to maintaining a professional image.
How to Find Consumer Insights?
First up, don’t be afraid to fail, especially in the beginning. Every business goes through this, and many are still going through it. It is crucial to get feedback (e.g. reviews) from your potential customers about your products or services as soon as possible. This enables you to better your offering. It’s important not to be afraid to fail, but if you do, it’s vital to fail quickly and cheaply and then, from that, take lessons to pivot or improve.
Customers, as opposed to friends and family, will give you their honest and unbiased opinions that will help your business grow and develop. So, if you use this feedback to your advantage, you’ll build up your status in the market and earn credibility because consumers will see you’re doing a good job.
4. Form Relationships and Listen to Your Customers
Customer loyalty means everything, especially for a small business or start-up. Customer loyalty will lead to word of mouth; they will tell their friends and family about you and how great your product/service is. So, it’s important to keep them happy, and by doing that, others will come.
Reading customer reviews and replying to them will help you understand what you’re doing well and what needs improving. Also, by replying, you’ll show that you care about those you serve.
Reviews can help you to get to know what your audience wants, knows and believes. What you sell is really just a means to an end; what consumers really want is to gain a specific emotional state such as belonging, status, connection, peace of mind, freedom, health, power or any other common human feeling.
If a consumer purchases Matcha tea, it’s probably because they want to feel healthy. Someone who wants to rise in status will buy an exclusive Airline membership, and a user joining a social media platform is most likely to be seeking a sense of belonging.
Every decision that we make has a reason behind it, even if we rarely acknowledge it. When you understand this, you can use this to your advantage. You’re not really selling a product or service, you’re selling a feeling.
Likewise, we humans are lonely creatures, and we’re always seeking to be part of something bigger, a community that will accept us. You can create that community through brand marketing. Everything you do in your business, from how you package your products to the way you answer your customers, is seen as a form of brand marketing.
Remember to always promote your ethos, mission and goals to your customers. Show them that you’re not just a business, but a community that stands for certain values, values that your followers also sympathise with.
For example, Lululemon has built a community that empowers its customers to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. The brand is also on a mission to fight climate change and promote physical and mental wellbeing to its community by partnering with local and global organizations. These values resonate with like-minded people, which helps the brand build a strong emotional connection with its customers.
This strategy will help create customer loyalty and a memorable image in the eyes of the ones you seek to serve.
5. Put Yourself Out There
In whatever market you’re entering (or have already entered), it will be competitive. So, it’s crucial to put yourself out there. Build up a business with a clear identity and end goal. Be persistent, consistent and frequent with whatever you’re doing. Even if it sounds dull and monotonous to you after a while, your customers will start absorbing your brand’s ethos and notice you. In this way, you’ll manage to earn attention, trust and action from your potential customers.
Being part of a start-up or small business can feel like the work never ends. There’s always something to do, and there always will be. However, do remember to separate your work from your private life and not become a work addict!
Finally, no business rises to fame and fortune overnight, so be patient and, most importantly, have fun! There’s no point in starting a business if it makes you feel anxious and emotionally drained.