Throwing yourself into a startup is always a bold move. While you may have some investors, a mentor, a bit of experience, and maybe support, there are always risks involved. There are certainly things every entrepreneur can prepare in order to give their business the best chance of prevailing, but in truth, success is the result of a variety of factors and actions.
One of the most important things an entrepreneur can do is make decisions in a way that places focus on the holistic development of their business. Consider how each action affects every other aspect of the enterprise. Then work to make changes that can benefit multiple levels of operation.
This is why we’re giving you a few more things to consider when it comes to the success of your startup. Another handful of actions to bear in mind, and tips for how they might be implemented to complement the rest of your model.
Social media is one of the key ways in which we communicate today, yet many business owners still struggle with understanding quite how it can benefit their startups. As explored in the linked resource, social media does not just represent a platform on which to post pictures or a hot take, but it is also an analytical tool and a marketing tool that is relevant to current demographics.
So how best to use this tool?
- Your social media accounts are the face and voice of your brand. The topics you choose to post about and the ways in which you interact with other users help to define your startup. This is the ultimate first impression, so care must be taken to curate your social media content in a way that is both on-brand and personal.
- While all platforms have the ability to engage with customers, those that are primarily text-based — Twitter or Facebook — can become valuable conduits for customer service. By always having a member of staff responsible for manning the social media account, you can respond to complaints, concerns, and compliments swiftly.
- Analyze the data. Most social media platforms — particularly those that offer business accounts — offer the option to view insights. These provide you with valuable data on who is visiting your page, where they are located, their age and gender demographics, and how they engage with you. Monitor your insights on a regular basis, in order to understand what audiences appreciate about your social media approach, and what they don’t quite go for.
In all likelihood, your startup will have customers of just one segment — whether that’s the general public, B2B (business to business), or SaaS (software as a service). As a result, it is imperative that your customers receive the best possible experience from engaging with you. Yes, you could play this by ear and hope to get by on your charisma, but, much like the importance of building and reviewing your business plan, a more effective approach is to implement a customer experience strategy.
Creating your customer experience strategy allows you to better understand what your goals for your customers are, and what services you can introduce that best reflects those. As detailed in the linked resource, this begins with taking the time to better understand who your customer is and what they need, before graduating to making certain that this is communicated throughout the business and encouraging behavior that exemplifies these needs.
You should have a good idea about what you want your customers’ optimal experience to be, and plan activities that reflect this; the tone with which communication should be undertaken, how convenient it is for them to access your services. This strategy should be ongoing. Implement a customer experience management system to frequently review your business’ adherence to your ideals.
The Grand Scheme
For many entrepreneurs, there is no bigger cause than their own dream business. It becomes a primary focus for their energies. This isn’t a negative trait in itself, but success in business is increasingly dependent upon entrepreneurs’ ability to also look outward. Customers are savvy about choosing businesses with solid ethics. Millennials, who make up the majority of the current workforce, place a premium on companies who exhibit socially responsible practices.
It’s important not just to implement sustainable practices, such as going paperless or reducing emissions; as a business leader you must ensure the methods for going green are communicated to each link in the chain of your company. This is key not just for your business to play a role as a responsible member of a global community, but — “73% of Americans would stop purchasing from a company that doesn’t care about climate change.”
It is vital to be sincere in your efforts. Some businesses have suffered consequences due to their culture of “greenwashing” — making a false environmentally-friendly claim or advertisement about their company in order to gain kudos while acting to the contrary. Part of any risk planning for a startup should include learning from the mistakes of others; don’t stray down an unethical path.
The success of your startup is unlikely to be the result of any single factor. Rather, you should be implementing processes throughout your business that provide you with a solid structure upon which to build and operate your enterprise. Among these elements, focus should be placed on effective social media use, a strategy for customer experience, and embracing opportunities to contribute to the wider community. Keep planning, keep reviewing, and keep open to new ideas that could be tailored to your vision for your startup.