A Brief Guide on Evolving From Startup to SME

Startups are constantly under pressure to keep their head above water and ensure that they can stay relevant. It doesn’t take much for a larger company to bully a startup out of existence, and there’s nothing worse than a slow and painful company death that not only wastes money but also time.

So to keep your business successful, we’re going to help you by offering a brief guide on how to evolve your startup into an SME with minimal stress and maximum efficiency.

Fail Faster?

Failing faster is a mantra that entrepreneurs swear by, but as with any controversial statement that is misunderstood, it’s often over exaggerated. Failing faster doesn’t mean to quite literally fail faster, and it also doesn’t mean that you should give up your business and run it into the ground just for the sake of failing. Some people assume it means pushing boundaries to see how far you can go with an idea, but the reality is that you can’t exactly use that as a method of failing faster.

Failing faster is another way of saying “learn faster”. You learn through failures because you figure out what you did wrong and how to fix it. The idea of failing faster is so that you can understand what mistakes you made so you can correct them the next time around, and this is a key of evolving from a startup to an SME. You need to realize what you’ve done poorly and how you can improve your next project.

In short, you need to fail in order to grow your business, but it takes a lot of time until you’ve built up the necessary knowledge to learn efficiently from your mistakes. Many people consider failing faster to be a ridiculous way to learn and progress, but in reality, it’s one of the fastest ways to improve your company and your practices as long as you’re consistent and mindful.

Recognizing When You Need Help

Another common issue with startups is that they’re typically very stubborn. Many companies refuse to rely on outside help, believing it to be too expensive, or saying that their employees won’t learn much if they rely too much on outside help. However, outsourced IT support, outsourcing repairs and other services can be incredibly important to the productivity and efficiency of any business.

It’s important to realize that you can’t go alone, even as an entrepreneur with a small startup. Services need to be relied on if you want the best from your business and to actually make a profit while also growing your business. Be it community management, social media assistance, computer repairs or technological advice, make sure you outsource any services that you’re unfamiliar with or don’t have much experience with.

Final Words

Growing a business from a mere startup is a challenging task, but with the right mindset, it’s possible to make great strides and surge into the industry. Evolving into an SME is no easy task, and it comes with many unique challenges that are bound to trip you up. However, by recognizing when you need help, it’s entirely possible to overcome those problems.

4 Ways Surveys Can Help Build Your Startup Company Strategy

Running a startup business is, in fact, quite difficult. Aside from trying to find a way to make it on the market, there are also a lot of challenges and obstacles startup owners face. It’s also quite complicated to fully understand whether or not your business idea will succeed on the market and if there’ll be any demand for your products or services. What’s more, startup businesses usually lack the sufficient funds to conduct extensive and thorough market research.

Luckily, where there’s a will there’s a way – and that’s conducting surveys. That way, startup owners can obtain the necessary information that will help them create a good strategy, without investing too many resources into it. In addition, you can rely on relevant data you’ve obtained directly from your target audience and potential customers. Simply put, you’ll be able to make more strategic and smart decisions. Here are a few ways surveys can help you build a startup company strategy.

Identifying your target audience

As mentioned before, startup businesses are generally not funded enough to conduct in-depth market research. You can assume who is most likely to be interested in your products and services, but you can’t know for sure nor do you know anything important about those potential customers. However, the key to success is knowing all there is to know about your target audience. Fortunately, surveying people doesn’t involve a hefty investment at all.

When creating a survey for your research purposes, make sure you include questions that will shed light on your audience’s demographics, overall interests, preferences and expectations. This will help you familiarize yourself with your target audience and understand their needs as consumers. That information will help you improve your products or services, so that you’ll have a better product/market fit for your startup. You can conduct the surveys both online and in person. Just make sure you analyze the data properly in order to extract vital information from it.

Tracking customer satisfaction

If you’ve started to build an online presence for your startup and also started making sales, it’s important to know how your audience perceives you so far. Customer satisfaction is essential for business success. The main reason is that if your customers aren’t happy, your reputation, bottom line and chances of success may drastically decline. That’s why it’s important to follow-up with your customers after interactions, sales and other activities.

Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask your customers for feedback. You can offer a simple incentive to your customers and ask them to participate in paid surveys online. That way, in exchange for their feedback, your customers will gain something of value in return. This will help you gain information that will assist you in improving your customer service and support. Not only that, but it will show your customers that you’re making an effort and that their opinions matter to you.

Testing products and features

Every business looks to grow and develop further by introducing innovation. Adding features to your products or services may be a good way to boost engagement with your customers, but it may also backfire if not done properly. If you want to add something new, it’s safer not to surprise your customers, but instead, ask them for their opinions. You can conduct a survey where you’ll describe new features to customers in detail and ask them what they think about it.

If your audience is generally pleased with the improvements, you can move on to the implementation stage. If not, you should avoid it altogether. That way, you not only show your customer that you care and that their best interest comes first when designing new features, but it also saves you time and resources on developing features that might fail from the start.

Assessing your marketing performance

When launching a marketing campaign that has a purpose of promoting your startup business and inspiring your audience to engage, it’s always a good idea to track important metrics and key performance indicators (KPI). However, without a general input from the customers themselves, you can’t be absolutely sure how well-received your marketing campaign actually is. It’s very risky to keep an ineffective marketing campaign running.

That’s why you should turn to surveying your audience once again. Ask for feedback on your marketing efforts and encourage customers to speak up. Make sure you ask the right questions, so that you can gather the most valuable information from the answers. Their feedback will provide you with information on how to improve your content, promotions and offers. In short, it will help you improve your marketing campaigns, so that they become more efficient in delivering value to both your customers and your startup.

It’s no secret that many startup businesses have difficulties maintaining their growth while trying to figure out the best approach to stand out on the market. That being said, surveys can be quite beneficial to startup owners, especially when they lack the means and the funds to conduct proper research. If you ask the right question from the right people, you’ll gain valuable information that will help you develop an exceptional startup company strategy.

Guest author, Raul Harman, is a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he’s not enjoying football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com

How to Make a Basement Startup a Successful Business

William S. Harley was only 21 when he built his first motorcycle in his friend’s garage. Clear back in 1923, Walt Disney created the first Disney studio in his uncle’s house. In 1974, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple in Jobs’s home in Cupertino, California. Jeff Bezos started Amazon in his home in Bellevue, Washington, in 1994. If you are trying to get your own business off the ground, then make sure you take some practical steps.

Create a Network

It is hard to succeed in business if you live inside a bubble. Therefore, you need to form a network of other professionals who can help you. Harley would not have been able to build his first motorcycle consisting of placing an electric motor on a bicycle without the bicycle builder. The first Apple computers were constructed of parts made by others. Make sure that you connect with others who are good at their jobs.

Market Your Product

You may have the perfect product, but if no one knows about it then it will still be a failure. You must connect with customers who can use their product to solve their problems. You need a plan on how you intend to tell the world about your product. Your plan may include the internet, direct marketing, door-to-door marketing and email marketing. If you do not have marketing skills, then make sure to work with a professional.

Create a Positive Work Environment

While the average American worker usually works 34.4 hours each week, the average micro-business owner usually works 52 hours each week. Make sure that you have a good work environment. Use replacement windows to let the light in as you work. Install work tables and other surfaces so that you have a dedicated area for your main activities. Choose energy-creating colors for your work environment. As you start to hire people, expand the work area so that everyone can be comfortable.

Take Care of Yourself

Getting a startup business off the ground can be hard work. Make sure that you are eating a reasonable diet. Take time to exercise on a regular basis. Get away from it all by spending time doing something that you enjoy. While it can seem like you need to be working continually, doing so will have a negative effect on your enthusiasm and motivation.

Use these tips and your own ingenuity to grow your basement business. You will succeed if you want to bad enough and there is a need for your product.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

3 Critical Things Your Startup Business Needs!

Startup businesses are a risky thing to own as it’s the phase in a business’s life where it’s most likely to fail! The key to avoiding failure is to be properly prepared because startup businesses face many perils that can finish them without a seconds notice, so we have to get ready for these things and avoids the pitfalls that await us, but what can we do to avoid these failures from happening? Well, if you read on, you’ll find out!

Hire Website Developers

Your website is your businesses face to the world, it’s where people come to your business in order to use your services so it has to be a good one! The problem with most startup businesses is that they don’t have a proper website; they have one that the owner has made themselves, and this just isn’t going to cut it if you’ve not got professional skills! If your website is poor, it’s going to put people off your company, so how do we get around this issue? Well, it’s simple; you get professional skills in! By hiring website developers, you can be safe in the knowledge that your website is going to be unique and easy to use, so you can captivate customers and get them to buy your services.

Target Only Your Demographic

Most big businesses will only advertise to their target demographic and no one else, why? Because if you’re advertising to people who aren’t your target demographic, you’re simply not going to get anywhere with them! You need to know what the best ways are to reach out to your audience, because that’s the way that good advertising is done. Take a seat and think about who you’re mainly going to be selling to, and then base your advertisements off that. If you put your adverts in the wrong place then you’re going to be paying for nothing, so think first before you start putting out wide adverts.

Getting A Business Loan

When people start off a business, they often underestimate the costs of running it and decide to fund it themselves, however this is a mistake that often puts businesses under entirely and is therefore something you want to avoid! Websites like businesslineof.credit offer loans specifically for businesses. They can help you with paying all of the costs that come with having a business as you’re going to make a loss for for the first few years until you start getting cash in, so loans like this help you ease the pain of this by giving you a nice sum of money to sit on!

Keep in mind all of these things if you want your startup to succeed. Hire a website developer to get a professional website that will look good and will be easy to use for customers, make sure you’re advertising in the right place and not wasting your money on reaching out to people who don’t care and make sure you get a business loan to keep your financial needs satisfied! On top of loans, another good way to get funding is through lines of credit which you can read up about here.

Make the Right Impact with Your Start-up

impact

Giving your start-up a good name should be number one on your new business to-do list.

You really shouldn’t be doing anything else before you name your company. Everything depends on it, from your logo design to your future success.

Here are some tips for coming up with the right name for your start-up in order to get off on the right foot:

  1. Communicate what you’re selling

The name of your start-up needs to clearly communicate what your business is about.

It might be tempting to make up a word that’s not even in the dictionary, but for a start-up, even that fake word better be obvious to everyone what your business sells.

For example, even if you just landed here from Mars, you might guess that a company called Facebook is a website about people’s faces; identities; who they are.

Of course, models used face books for decades before. They were portfolio books that held clippings from the models’ previous work.

When Mark Zuckerberg and his buddies wanted a name for a website that would allow college students to post photos of them, Facebook, with the two words pushed together, would have been an obvious progression.

Wherever you stand on the great Facebook divide, you have to admit the name is near genius.

  1. Reflect company culture

Your start-up name also needs to be reflective of your company’s culture.

When you hear a name like Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Fields, you can assume that you’re going to get a product that reminds you of your grandmother’s cooking.

The same goes with a name like Victoria’s Secret. Most men – and women – understand that Victoria has a secret underneath her proper clothes. Victoria’s Secret definitely isn’t going to be a fabulous recipe for flapjacks.

One of the best, iconic start-up names was conceived by Daymond John.

When Daymond John came up with FuBu, he landed on a start-up name that perfectly embodied the company culture he created.

Fubu – for us, by us – is a brand built by an African American, for African Americans. And his target demographic got it, immediately. So much so that Daymond himself is now a famous and beloved multi-millionaire.

If you want to come up with something that might make you a millionaire, read “Five Tips on Naming Your Start-Up for Impact.”

  1. Easy to spell

Since you live in a world that is post-Internet, you need a name that people can easily type into their computer browser’s search field.

If you concocted some crazy, hip and trendy name that no one can spell, your target demographic is going to be frustrated when they try to spell your start-up name in 50 different variations and they still can’t find you.

Your start-up name has to be easy to spell.

Choose a word that is so common that everybody on the planet can spell it.

A perfect example is About.com. The name is simple, everyone can spell it, and it communicates what the site is about. About.

Keeping these things in mind, you should be able to come up with a short list of potential names for your start-up.

It’s harder than it looks, but once you land on the right one, you’ll know.

About the Author: Kate Supino is a small business owner who writes extensively about best business practices.