Every person who has an idea for a new business or who runs their own startup wants it to be a big success. The dream and common ambition are for people to be talking about your brand and product worldwide, with five-star reviews from contented customers and a happy workforce and ever-increasing earnings. To get to this point, you not only need a good idea or product, but you also need to focus on the small details to make sure that the bigger picture works. This will involve thorough research as well as knowing what your target customer truly wants to try to ensure you give it to them. Spend time making a winning marketing plan that can take your product to your customer base, making it easy for people to find you. With a clear focus on what you do and where you want to be, the road to getting there will be far smoother, and your business will be more productive when you keep the goal in sight. Follow these tips below to make your business start-up a success.
Do thorough research
Knowing your target audience, your market and your product inside and out is key to being successful. Do thorough research to make sure you are on the right track, as after all, you may have what you think is a great idea, but if it does not fulfill a need that anyone has, then it will not sell. Get to know your customers and find out what they really want. Hold focus groups and individual research sessions with members of your target customer base. You can employ market research firms to run these for you or post online surveys to gather feedback. Do not simply rely on feedback from those that you know. It is likely that they will either be biased or not want to hurt your feelings, and of far more benefit would be to get honest feedback from strangers who may want to buy your product in the future.
Research your competition thoroughly too. You cannot launch a product without knowing what the competition is and how yours will fit into the market. Know what they are offering and work out how you can offer something a little different. Find your niche or your unique selling point (USP). Once you know your USP, your marketing can highlight this, and it can truly help you to stand out from the competition. Making sure that you get the price point of your product correct is important, and good research will help you with this. Work out at what end of the market you want to place yourself. A high price point can result in fewer sales but of higher value, whereas pricing your product at the cheaper end will hopefully mean you sell more, but you will earn less per item.
Get your marketing right
A strong marketing strategy can make a product popular and more appealing by ensuring that the right people see it and want it. Notice what your competitors are doing and see where their strong points are. If they have a good marketing strategy, look to work on yours in a similar fashion in order to reach your own target audience. What can you offer that can put you ahead? Use social media as a wonderful tool to reach new audiences, and if you create high-quality, shareable content, your name can spread far and wide without needing a big budget behind you.
Keep your focus on what you do and make sure that you do it as best you can. That way, you will have satisfied customers and repeat business, and benefit from positive word of mouth marketing. Write down the goals for your business, as implementing this in itself can help you to focus on them. Anything that does not work towards achieving the main goal should be let go of. For example, if you have a side product that sells a little, yet marketing it is taking time and energy away from marketing your main product, then think about cutting it and re-focusing everything on your one main product. Make a five-year plan and then break it down year on year so you can create realistic smaller steps to work towards achieving it.
Keep your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. SMART goals are far more likely to become a reality, so try to ensure that your team also works towards SMART aims. Ensuring that your aims are realistic and breaking them down into smaller steps is vital as although you may aim high you need to be able to achieve the individual steps to keep your motivation and belief going. By breaking down your goals, you can also see if there are any gaps in knowledge or experience and then work towards filling them, either by hiring the right people or by undertaking further training. Knowing how to delegate and share responsibility is also important when it comes to maintaining focus on growing the business. If you have the best people working in the right areas your business will flourish.
Ensuring that you and your workforce are as productive as possible should be a top priority. When it comes to meetings, always have a clear agenda set before-hand that can be distributed to all attendees. That way you will be more likely to stay on track and not verge off on tangents. Try holding your work meetings standing up. This can help people stay motivated and energized, stopping any slumping in posture or mood, and is another tool to keep the meetings on track and concise. Part of being productive as a business is adapting when something is not working and getting honest feedback from employees and customers is important to this. Set up an anonymous feedback box in your foyer or reception, allowing employees to raise any grievances without any fear of reprisal. Make sure that anything raised is dealt with in a professional and appropriate manner. After all, a happy workforce is more likely to be a productive one.
Ensure Company Morale
Incorporate more work practices based on boosting happiness and morale in your workforce, knowing that this will, in turn, boost productivity. For example, set up a relaxing area with sofas and encourage people to take regular breaks. Once a month you could get freelance masseurs to come in and offer free head and neck massages to your employees, at the company’s expense. Small costs to you can equal big payoffs in terms of workers staying at the company long-term and being more productive and motivated.
Vacation policy is another area where if you can be more flexible, you may be rewarded with a more productive workforce. Companies that have adopted an unlimited vacation policy, where the employees are responsible for how much vacation time they take off and when have actually resulted in less sick leave being taken and a greater focus on achievements, as opposed to the time, spent sitting at a desk. With big companies such as Netflix opting for unlimited vacation policies it is something you may wish to consider. Incorporate ways of incentivizing employees, such as monthly competitions for the star employee that month or the person who has sold the most or rewarding excellent work with a voucher. Small touches can make a big difference to your workforce and their motivation.
Outsource or automate where possible
Outsourcing or automating elements of your daily duties can help to ease the strains on your employees and free up time to focus on the core of your business. It is a valuable way in which you can streamline your business. Outsourcing allows you access to top-level skills and experience without needing to pay for an in-house expert, which to many small businesses would be prohibitive. Instead of needing an IT person in the office you can simply call a team of experts when something goes wrong. This way you can also benefit from having access to more than one person and a range of expertise. For example, Los Angeles IT Outsourcing can manage, monitor and maintain your computer network for you, letting you focus on the nature of your business instead. They can help ensure that your technology is working for you to maximize your efficiency, taking tech concerns off your hands and solving any issues promptly as and when they appear.
Work to your strengths and the strengths of those in your team when deciding which tasks to outsource. Ideally you will outsource tasks that are repetitive and do not need to be done by anyone with specialist knowledge, such as general data entry, tasks that require high-level knowledge, such as IT, and tasks that require a high level of skill and experience, which is where a freelance consultant may be a good investment. A freelance consultant would come into work with your team in a specific area for a few days or weeks as appropriate.
Use programs that can automate duties, such as an accounting package that will automatically automate generating bills and invoices, and keep track of late payments, emailing to remind people. The extra time this frees up can be hugely valuable to a small workforce. Automating your HR services is another way that small businesses or start-ups can save time and money.