First of all, this is not a rehash of redundant tips for Startups but a series of tips based on my own experience which was acquired while working with and for technological companies (Startups) since I started my professional career. After all this professional company experience is fulfilled; I have come to a point where I can identify all those factors that make a company grow, stagnate or fail.
Business tips for Startups
- If we talk about a technological Startup, flawless technology is essential. It cannot grow when its technological core is failing. On the other hand, other factor that helps a lot is to have a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or also a multidisciplinary Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Many technology teams get burned out while they receive erroneous orders from a CEO or from Product Managers who do not have technical skills. To do and undo is quite annoying for the one who programs, especially if it was avoidable and caused by an incoherent decision. Indeed, it is not the same thing to think and figure out the functionalities than their development. So, it is as important to have a good Chief as a Technology development team to make the «in-house» production. Forget about freelances unless it is for easy-to-do tasks like static landings. Outsourcing projects can be very expensive.
- Secondly, surround yourself with talented people. You will never be able to launch a Startup when there are people who do not add to the team. In this sector «there is no place for connections» and this is one of the reasons why I like it so much. The teams remain motivated as fresh as a daisy. Here, the lower the team (minimum 2 people), the better, but there must be the maximum human capital. Talent is something that will allow the company to optimize time, technology and also properly change course when necessary.
- Offering a solution to a real problem or generating an improved, quantifiable quality of life of customers / clients is important. Without this aim, it is useless to get into an enterprising adventure with great expectations. Speak a lot with your clients, understand which are their needs and how much they are willing to pay and if they are ready to use your products.
- It is always better to set a «pre-sale»-that is to say, develop a product line according to the customers needs, contrary to «what you think that they need»-. Nevertheless, do not invest only in their needs satisfaction if there is not an agreement or certain assurance that they are going to buy to you.
- Do not become exclusive supplier of one of your customers, seek to obtain a scalable product which can be easily implementable in other organizations or by other clients (automate everything possible and minimize costs and implementation actions).
- Get metrics and interpret them, numbers speak for themselves. As much in B2B as in B2C but, especially in B2C, when selling to companies where also done deals and stages of negotiations prevail. A guide to perceive whether a company does well are numbers like its quantity of clients, downloads (in case of Apps), interactions with your platform, recidivism rate, cost of acquisition of new users, billing and many others.
- Searching for success without forgetting the excellence of your product and sales. Do not certain capitalist investors and other that do not add significant value to have great desition on your business. The customer who pays to use your product is the best kind of investor.
- Look for investment, customers and talent where available. Do not be afraid of crossing borders if that is the suitable thing to do in order to get what you need. Even in this way, value the expenses that it entails and the real value that will provide to the project.
- Try to take into account all shares. It carries a communication strategy which agrees on sales and investment. Make some noise when necessary and when there is a real possibility. Do not make constant noise because you can go from being interesting to be very much disliked.
- Define your position. This sector is very volatile. There are many Startups and only a few leading ones. If you master knowledge about this sector, put it into practice. It is a competitive advantage that will make you stand before your opponents.
- Define your position as much in the matter of customers as online, SEO will help you grow organically. It is advisable to have a Blog in your services page with updated contents to get a good positioning in web search engines like Google. Avoid aggressive marketing strategies, only implement them if necessary and at the right time.
- Your customers and users are the most precious acquisition you have. They give meaning to your company. Value them, interact the minimum with them and put things easy to them; both in usability and when it comes to receive help. A good support service is a must. It is always easier to lose customers than to win them so invest in keeping them happy regarding your service and their relationship with your company. Treat them as they deserve. In specific cases, they may be really helpful with their feedback in order to improve the product and remember that a satisfied customer is feasible and at the same time a reliable source of sales.
- Be realistic. If in 6 months after launching your product, there is no traction by your potential customers; trust in pivoting and switching to find the secret recipe. Stiffness is a mater of large rigid and traditional companies; being small has many advantages, make the most of it.
- My last tip is directly aimed at people, with any kind of responsibility: Those of us who have an active professional life, we invest great part of our time working. Thus, to be happy is crucial that what you do motivates you, that your professional environment is agreeable, that you work in the sector of your interest and finally, that you feel yourself valued. If all these conditions do not happen and you perceive that it is not going to change, becoming hazy is not a solution. Look for opportunities that really fill you and do not think twice – Changes in innovative and challenging environments enrich the inner self of people.
Value how you wish to spend the next years of your life.