Why do only 10% of Startups Succeed?

Statistics show that around 90% of all startups fail, but what we can’t understand from this fact is why it happens so often? Another thing we can’t learn from such cold statistics, but experience has proven it time and time again, is that many startups fail even before they start working.

This, however, doesn’t mean that people should be put off and give up on the idea before they have even registered their company. On the contrary, this should send a message to all those interested that they need to stay focused, work hard and be realistic about their expectations. So, what are the characteristics of those startups that have made it?

Right product or service

Your offer may be of excellent quality, but if people don’t need it, you won’t be able to survive as an entrepreneur. As a matter of fact, most owners of failed startups list “lack of market need for their product” as the main reason for their failure.

This means that you have to be spot on when it comes to what you’re going to offer. It as to be unique and different, in a good way, from what your competitors are offering. In order to be sure there’s demand for your product or service, it is necessary to conduct market research, so that you don’t rely simply on your gut feeling.

Being involved in everything

A startup doesn’t really allow roles to be very clearly divided, since things tend to be pretty organic and responsibilities often overlap. That’s why all entrepreneurs need to pay attention to absolutely everything that’s going on. They don’t have the luxury to ignore anything, believing that someone else will take care of it.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that each task is equally urgent and important, which is why you need to be able to prioritize well. If you allow various less significant tasks to distract you from what’s really important, you won’t be able to focus on the things that really matter to your business.

Ready for fast growth

Depending on the line of business you’re in, you might face a rapid growth, which you have to respond to appropriately. Contrary to popular belief, fast growth is sustainable. It is also exactly what entrepreneurs and investors dream about and a sign that you’ve made it.

Startups should be looking at a double-digit growth rate after several months of operation. Otherwise, they’ll never be able to grow enough to reach the point when they can be considered a well-established business. Finally, startups sometimes run out of financial resources exactly because they haven’t grown fast enough. So, those companies that have made it wanted and achieved a fast growth in the early phase.

A capable team

Since there are different types of problems startups are facing, it’s always a good idea to have a versatile team of people to respond to all challenges, from the owner to a professional virtual receptionist. The versatility we’re talking about here refers more to a mindset, rather than a skillset.

Teams have to be ready to adjust their plans, change products, take new approaches or even start all over again. A good team can take a blow and recover and, most importantly, learn from their mistakes.

Aggressive marketing

Successful startups use aggressive and appropriate marketing methods to attract attention and inform people about the offer. In order to have an efficient campaign, you need to exactly who you are going to target and how you’re going to do that. That means you should be aware of the demographics, age and gender of your target groups and their shopping habits.

Using social media has become a must and all successful startups have exploited them quite extensively and efficiently. Those who have failed to embrace this and many other modern trends simply missed out on an opportunity to capitalize on some very efficient channels through which many new customers can be attracted.

Conclusion

If you want your startup to be among the 10% that make it, you should most definitely pay attention to these and many other things. Remember that most business endeavors fail because they either offer something not many people need or because they don’t bring any added value to their offer. Both of these issues stem from the period before the company is registered, which means you need to do your homework and research the market.

Needless to say, you need a lot of courage and flexibility to adapt your plans, but if you play your cards right, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing experience of witnessing your startup grow and a financial compensation for all your effort and troubles.

 

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Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog

5 Ways to Market Your Business Online

With technology only improving, businesses and consumers are becoming closer than ever before. Social media is more prevalent in society than in the past, and small businesses everywhere are embracing the new ways to market their services using online tools to help promote further customer reach. Here is a list of 5 ways to help market your business online:

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  • Facebook

Facebook is a great way of advertising and raising awareness of your product. By creating a page for a business and adding its location you are opening up the possibility of having customers digitally check themselves into your venue. Customers are then able to engage and review a businesses services and share this with their social network. It is important to remember to reply to comments to continue to build the rapport between business and consumer. Facebook also offers paid advertising and marketing campaigns through their business portal

  • Twitter

Twitter is another way of attracting customers, although it does take longer to build a large network on Twitter. The key to a successful Twitter is to always engage in relevant posts, follow any relevant profiles and be smart while still being funny. Engagements are what build your followers on Twitter. If you’re worried about having the time of running your social networks, organisations out there to provide social media help to develop a content marketing strategy that will help build your online growth.

  • Website

Having a website allows you a stronger online presence, and gives businesses the opportunity to display a list of the services available to customers. A website is also a great way of sharing the products, events, sales and opening times. Services such as WordPress are simple website builders. For a low cost it is possible to buy your own domain from these sites, with the option of an email address attached.

  • Emails

In the modern world email is the best form of contact for most customers. Whether you sign up for a free email service or get one through a website, email is a great way of responding to customers enquiries in a professional manner. Customers respond positively to speedy responses from businesses. Through having a registered email address assigned to your business, you can provide subscription services directly to customers, providing them with the option of being notified of sales or further events.

  • Coupons Vouchers

Everyone loves to think they’re getting a good deal. Sharing coupon vouchers through your social platforms will drive business and grow the customer base. New companies that have provided new customer discounts or free delivery have been successful in entering the market in major cities across the globe. Through having a campaign offering free services or VIP sales to clients, for things such as signing up to your email subscription service, discounts on their birthdays, free delivery or new customer discounts, consumers are urged to try a product for the first time.

It is important to not to put all your eggs within one basket, and be able to see the broader picture. One method of marketing may work better for you than another, however the important thing to remember is that all this does not have to be done alone. Consulting with services that provide provide social media help can alleviate some of the stress that can be added when struggling between traditional face to face services and online services allowing the balance to be achieved within the business.

 

 

 

 

3 Goals to Make Before Starting Your Business

So the entrepreneurial bug has bitten you? Starting a business is an exciting and worthwhile decision, but you shouldn’t leap into it without having clear goals in mind. When you have a strong focus and know what you’re working toward, you’re more likely to succeed. Here are a few goals you should consider setting before your business opens its doors.

Please Your Customers

You never want to take your customers for granted.  Even if you have a monopoly on a certain type of business in your area, you should still have a strong focus on making your customers happy. If you don’t, you’ll find your business besieged by poor online reviews. When a competing business eventually does open up, you’ll find yourself hurting.

Good customer service can even help you expand your business. As happy customers go online or talk to their friends and family about the positive experiences they had with you, the people they contact are more likely to flock to you.

It’s important to measure your progress toward any goals you set. Therefore, consider setting up a customer-service survey for your business, or you could keep an eye on online reviews sites and make note of the number of negative and positive reviews you receive.

Be Innovative

If your business has nothing that makes it stand out from the company down the block, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to find your niche. Regardless of what industry you work in, the goal should be to stand out among your competitors.

The thing that sets you apart could be as simple as an amazing refund policy, or it could be directly related to the products or services you provide. Frequently brainstorm new ideas that could take your business’ innovation to the next level. Also, don’t take the entire burden of innovation on your own shoulders. When you hire employees, encourage them to voice their ideas for how the business could improve.

Achieve Financial Success

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Image via Flickr by Violette79

What do you personally want to gain from your business? Do you want to make enough to send your kids to college, retire to a luxe condo in Florida, or take an amazing vacation around the world? You might even have greater ambitions; you could follow in the footsteps of billionaire Daryl Katz and be able to purchase a multi-million-dollar home in Los Angeles.

Whatever you personally want to achieve, put that goal in writing and regularly monitor your progress toward it. True, not everyone makes it big in business, but if you have a clear objective in mind and make decisions centered around it, your odds of success are greater.

Whether you’ve owned business before or this is the first time you’ve put on the hat of an entrepreneur, it would behoove you to give serious thought to what you want your business to achieve even before you open its doors. A few simple goals you could set are to please your customers, be innovative, and strive for personal financial success.

Ashley is a full time student writing her way through college. When she’s not writing she enjoys hiking and any other outdoor activity imaginable.

How to Build a Strong Online Presence

A couple of years ago, BIA/Kelsey conducted a survey of over 100 sample consumers. A subsequent data analysis revealed that 97% of modern consumers use the Internet when researching local products and services. The percentage is probably the same today, but seeing how the number of both Internet (according to ITU data, it grew from 2.1 to 3.4 billion today) and mobile users (according to Cisco research, the number quintupled since 2000) grew immensely since then, you only now have a lot of more potential customers online. The bottom line is, for most people in the 21st century, their first introduction to your business and your brand is by discovering it online.

A strong online presence will not only increase your brand’s reputation, but it will also establish you as an authority figure in your particular niche. So the biggest question is this: How can you exactly stand apart from every other business that is trying to reach new customers online? According to last year’s findings from the Kauffman Foundation, there are over 530,000 new business in the US every month, so if you really want to differentiate yourself from the competition, you will have to use certain branding and marketing methods to increase your online presence.

Properly Optimizing Your Site

At this point, there is no valid reason why you should not have a business website. But surprisingly, according to the findings from the US Small Business Administration, over 50% of small businesses in America do not have an official website. When you consider how many people are searching for products online, this fact is troublesome, to say the least. Nevertheless, assuming that you already have a website, you have to make sure that it is properly optimized. It has to be mobile-friendly and it needs to have frequent information updates.

Going Beyond Blogging

Regularly updating your blog will build trust and help you define your brand’s voice, but you should not limit yourself to blog posts alone when creating new content. Instead, you should develop multiple forms of content such as infographics, eBooks or short, online videos. Dr. James L. McQuivey of Forrester Research argues that the only one minute of video is worth around 1.8 million words– that is an equivalent of 3,600 typical web pages. So just ask yourself do you really have the energy to write almost 2 million words? And even you are a quick writer, and write let us say, two pages an hour, it would take you two and a half month of writing to achieve the impact of 60 seconds of video.

Increasing Visibility through Email

And while many people today are quick to dismiss email, the fact is, email marketing is still ridiculously effective. A recent McKinsey & Company study found that email is still a more effective way of acquiring customers than social media. The researchers explain that the main reason for this is that more than 90% of consumers still use email on a daily basis. According to their report, email is 40 times more effective than Twitter and Facebook combined. This is one of the reasons why companies in the highly-competitive travel industry depend on email to boost their visibility and increase conversions. Therefore, if you are not sure where to start with building your online presence, maybe it would be a good idea to start with the most “primitive” tool you have at your disposal.

Conclusion – Staying on Your Toes

For instance, while we mentioned that you should definitely try some other forms of content rather than sticking to blogging, you have to keep in mind that guest blogging is powerful tool. While guest blogging is primarily used for link building purposes, it can also help you earn credibility and drive your site’s traffic. Simply put, if the audience of an established website (think Forbes or Entrepreneur) enjoys your posts, they will surely visit your site and possibly follow you on social media.

Finally, if you are not convinced that investing in your online visibility is essential to the success of your company, one fact will undoubtedly convince you – your competitors are already doing it. And if your business falls too far behind, it may become irrelevant in just a few years time. For that reason, you need to build your online presence, and increase the “findability” of your website, products, and services, if you want to stay one step ahead of your competitors both.

Oscar is a writer from Sydney and one of the editors at Bizzmarkblog. He enjoys conducting research in the vast fields of business and marketing and writing about the useful insights he gathers on a daily basis. Follow Oscar on Twitter.to stay updated with his latest posts.

7 Reasons Why #SocialMedia is Serious #Business

It’s been 23 years – and counting – since the advent of the search engines Excite (1993), Yahoo (1994), and Google (1997) revolutionized the way information was sorted and found. Basing their results on keywords and optimization analytics, the intention was to give their users the best possible experience.

Enter SEO, the business of bringing customers to your door by improving the way you rank with those search engines. Unfortunately, because algorithm updates were few and far between, it left the door open for less than ethical (black hat) techniques, like excessive tagging and spammy backlinks to manipulate rankings.

Nowadays, the giants of the Internet (like Google) have it down to a science. Whenever there are elusive tactics introduced (to circumvent honest ranking results) they are swiftly smacked down, and we experience abrupt shifts in the rules and regulations. This works to reign in abusers, but unfortunately it also takes the good guys (white hat) down as well; hence the ever-changing SEO industry must adapt its capabilities to the shifting wind, all in the name of making sure your customers can find you.

Enter social media optimization (SMO) – the next generation of search strategy. Let’s take a look at several reasons why social media is more important to your business than you realized.

  1. Visibility is crucial

Social media optimization should be a part of any SEO efforts you’re making to market your business online. People may find you by typing a couple of words into search boxes, a referral link from someone else, or looking for you by your company name when they already know about you. If you don’t have a website, of course that’s going to be a challenge, and if your site has been penalized it can drop off the first page of the SERPs faster than a speeding bullet.

  1. Social shares count

When people share your name or things you’ve written it’s beautiful – the best of all worlds. Be careful that you aren’t just gathering links indiscriminately because if there’s no relevance or value when people arrive on your page it can result in unfollows, which decrease the authority of your name. Don’t go overboard, 1000 followers with a good reputation are better than 50,000 just exchanging links for the sake of SEO.

  1. Engagement is gold

Why would you spend time and money to put your service or product in front of a potential consumer – and then not respond when they connect? Whether it’s your Facebook account, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram – engage with the person who has taken the time to reach out! A mere ‘like’ or other ‘high five’ could be a customer peeking in the window. That’s the point, folks. No response is another path to being unfollowed, which can also put you on the search engine’s radar for being a link gatherer rather than an honest enterprise.

  1. Keywords aren’t everything

Overuse of analyzed keywords on your pages is not only redundant and boring, it hurts your credibility. Just like the saying a rising tide lifts all ships, when content is informative and makes sense its share-ability factors go up – and so does the authority of your site. In 2013 Google first introduced the Hummingbird algorithm. Essentially it meant that they were now paying attention to the ‘meaning’ in a search query more than just specific words. This conversational search allows people to ask their real question to receive relevant and on-point results; i.e. are daffodils toxic for pets vs. daffodils poisonous.

  1. Online groups and forums

Nobody is going to question the importance of you having a proper LinkedIn profile, but you may not have noticed the industry-specific groups you can join there. Missed opportunities in life are many, and so when you have one smack dab in front of you – be sure to jump in and participate. It’s a great way to meet like minds (who have followers too) when you may not otherwise have the chance to connect in person.

  1. Expanding your reach

Okay, so you have a blog, and you post a few times a week. That’s awesome and great for your devotees – as long as you keep it in their lane. Why do they turn to your company, what would they like to know if they could ask, what’s new in your industry? Now that you’ve published some interesting content – make sure everyone knows! Share it with your social connections via a snippet about the post with a link so they can visit and read the entire article. Be sure your blog has an RSS Feed for those visitors who want to be kept informed as you build your blog.

  1. ‘Be’ the source

Just because you don’t use Twitter or haven’t set up a Facebook page, it doesn’t mean you don’t already have a presence on the web. Surprised? Remember, other people may have mentioned you, and former customers may have posted a review. It’s time to take control, load up your own channels and make certain people see and hear what you have to say!

 

Laura O’Donnell writes smart content on behalf of the digital marketing experts at The Marketing Zen Group. As an avid writer and learner, she loves to use her skills for engaging others in important topics in creative and effective ways. When she is not working, she loves meeting new people, traveling, and bringing her Pinterest dreams to life. Find her on LinkedIn.

 

Why is Your Brand on Life Support?

Your brand is the lifeblood of your company.

1869e56With that in mind, why are you treating it like a long-lost cousin? If for no other reason, you should be showing your brand love because it is ultimately what will keep a roof over your head and put food on the table.

So, why is your brand not getting the attention it deserves? More importantly, what do you plan to do about getting it to a healthy and competitive place in the marketplace?

Your Brand Needs More Attention

In order to get your brand the attention it deserves, you need to be active on a number of fronts, among them:

  1. Message – Front and center, your message must be consistent. What is it about your brand that sets you apart from the competition? Why should your brand be trusted above all others? Lastly, is your brand in it for the long haul or are you just along for the ride? Create a clear and relevant message as to why your brand is the one consumer’s should opt for without being too in love with your brand. Look to help the consumer, not hit them over the head with a sales pitch ;
  2. Delivery – The greatness (or at least that you perceive it to be) of your brand means nothing if you’re not adept at delivering your message. Your message needs to be delivered on a number of fronts, thereby beginning with great content. From your own blog to writing guest posts on other sites, make sure your content is of value to readers. If you are too busy going on and on about you and your brand, you run the risk of turning many people off. Certainly talk about your brand, but also offer solutions to consumer needs along the way;
  3. Consistency – You can’t truly succeed in having a healthy brand if you’re not always looking to improve it. Just like fine-tuning an automobile as it gets older, you should be consistently looking at how you present your brand to the public. For instance, are you a regular on social media? If the answer is yes, then you should be in a good position to success socially. If the answer is no, fix this issue sooner rather than later. You can have your brand spread across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and more without much success if you are not constantly tending to it. Instead of spreading yourself too thin on social media, focus in on a few sites and hammer away at them.

With your brand being what keeps you going each day, reviving it when it is struggling for life takes great effort and time.

When you consistently deliver a positive message, more times than not, the results will be good.

About the Author: Miguel Salcido has been a professional search marketing consultant for over 11 years. He is the founder and CEO of Organic Media Group, a content driven SEO agency. He also likes to blog at OrganicSEOConsultant.com and share insights into advanced SEO. 

Do You Prioritize Generating Leads?

As a small business owner, you may be wearing several different hats on a daily basis.

shutterstock_113623723 It can also be a struggle to try to concentrate on what you might think of as administrative tasks when you need to get actual work done that pays the bills. Marketing may be one of those admin tasks that you’ve been putting aside so you can focus on order fulfillment and billing concerns.

If you’re not careful, you run the risk of being on the hamster ball, where all you’re doing is servicing existing clients who may or may not be the kind of clients that will provide sustainability for your business.

Set Aside Time for Generation

The fact is, you need to devote at least a few hours each week to generating new leads for your business.

Optimally, you would have a whole team dedicated to this “chore,” but since it’s just you, a few hours will work. If you can spend one whole day generating leads; that would be even better. But better than that would be if you could somehow outsource this to a third-party lead generation firm.

As the following article shows, they know how to generate leads in a manner that is professional, efficient, and most important, automated.

The Importance of Replacement

You should realize that only a tiny fraction of your current customers are going to be with you one, two or even three years from now, let alone six months from now.

It’s not that they will become dissatisfied with your service – it’s more that they may outgrow your business or change in a fundamental way that prevents them from needing your business.

If you want to grow, for every one business customer that you lose, you should be able to replace them with two.

Lead generation can help with that.

Remember that leads are not sales. Leads are leads unless you can convert them. But your sales team needs to have something to work with, and leads are it.

When you generate leads, you are essentially generating possibilities, which is what any good sales team thrives on. Leads are like food for your sales force.

Lead generation has to hold pride of place in your organization.

Whether you sell advertising, porcelain figurines or handmade linen sachets, you won’t be in business for long unless you prioritize your lead generation efforts.

Have the courage to stop what you’re doing for a few hours, or one whole day and focus on what it would take to generate a whole new batch of leads for your company.

It will pay off in the long-term and might just make the difference between staying in business and losing your business.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about marketing and best business practices.