There is a growing consensus on how to be successful when you create a startup. It’s always hard to take those first steps when you create a brand, a firm, a startup. It requires a lot of energy, experience and confidence. Because creating a startup does not only mean that you are a founder, you are also a leader, a CEO. You have to live up to the expectations along with trying to expand or even survive. Creating your startup requires for you to create your brand, marketing your services or products, getting investors on board, all of these are not easy and requires a high volume of knowledge. In this article, you are going to see 5 steps (or things) about how to be successful for startups, how to expand, how to market your startup or things that matter the most when you are new to this stage and explain those steps from different perspectives and proven truths.
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is — it is what consumers tell each other it is.”
— Scott Cook
This is the most important step for any new thing you build from scratch. Go to a Nike store around you and pick a shirt. I believe that probably the shirt is around 30–40$. Now, imagine that shirt without that little Nike logo somewhere on the upper side of the shirt. What is the maximum amount you would be willing to pay? I think around 5–10$. This is branding. When you see that Nike logo, you believe that it is worth the money because you can show off with that and you also know that it is a quality one. This is branding. This is what you have to do. Make people know your brand and pay more than the average because you are reliable and strong. For example, a perfect branding and also a marketing move by Coca-Cola was putting names on the bottles. That way Coca-Cola reached out to millions of people by spending exactly 0$. People shared that name on the bottle, people bought Coca-Cola when they saw their name and that created an even stronger brand name for Coca-Cola.
These are pretty easy examples but shows the exact point that I want to mention. Branding takes time. Coca-Cola didn’t get to be known as one of the best drinks of all time overnight. Nike didn’t start selling their shirts or shoes with extraordinarily high prices overnight. Those things take time, you gear up slowly and reach to your highest speed at the latest gear which takes years to reach to.
The most important thing about branding is the power of mouth-to-mouth. This is the most efficient strategy and there are many ways to do it. Apart from giving a good & efficient service, you have to be loyal to your customer, praise them and give something special for every customer, that way they will share it on their accounts and spread the word about your company. This way, people come to you both for the service and for that special thing you give. This might be a share on your social made pages that includes their name or their photograph, or it could be something you give as a present to your service.
“Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.”
— David Packard, Co-Founder, HP
Marketing is a fragile thing. You have to know exactly what you are doing and mistakes aren’t really on the table because you are all about publicity, thus, one wrong thing can demolish a thousand things alone. There are a lot of aspects and ways to marketing and market your company or brand. It requires everyone to participate and include themselves with ideas or in the ads because you are representing the company and that includes not only your service/product but everything within your company.
You have to make a difference than your competitors. You have to take risks and try new things but the most important thing is to take advantage of the trends every day. You have to be active and always be in the trends so that people can talk about you one way or another. Also, giving out TV ads or billboards doesn’t work anymore, adapt to the new technology, use social media for every one of your marketing moves, don’t ever hesitate.
“Networking is an investment in your business. It takes time and when done correctly can yield great results for years to come.”
— Diane Helbig
This might be more important than the other two. I mean, everything that I list here is important but networking can bring you numerous opportunities without even trying. Nowadays, networking is easier and people are eager to do this due to COVID-19. Everyone is trying to do it online and on platforms like LinkedIn, everything starts with a connection request or a message to the person that you want to reach out to.
You have to try to talk with everyone, connect with everyone. Not every person that you try this will answer back but at least if you get one person out of ten, that is a success and that might open a lot of doors for you in the future or the present according to the situation. Along with trying to network, you have to know that you can’t go to everyone only for opportunities. Do this just to meet with new people, to learn from them or to teach them. You never know when the opportunity knocks. Just talk to them about your projects, what you want to do and if something comes up to them, they will immediately come to you.
4. ALWAYS ON THE MOVE
The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.
— Rupert Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox
The world is evolving every second when you are sleeping when you are eating or when you are in the shower. But the most crucial thing is to not stay behind those changes. You have to adapt to them. You always have to be on the move to know these changes, adapt to it and implement them to your startup. The biggest example for this, Instagram putting Snapchat feature to its program. Instagram wanted to demolish Snapchat by doing this and Snapchat did nothing. Now, their users are the lowest since it reached its peak.
There are a lot of examples to study about this. But you have to create your environment for your startup and do the best thing for you and your startup, the rest will come. You just have to understand the basics of it and doing so, you also have to be creative and do things that no one else does. Don’t try to copy the same thing, copy it but do it stronger, offer more things and be better at it. It is not those who create the idea but who perfect it is known better.
The most important thing is the ability to always look for opportunities and not miss anything, always move, always be on the lookout, talk with people. Networking plays an important role in this, everything is connected for success.
“If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going.”
– Kevin Systrom, Founder, Instagram
The last and the most important thing on our list is to hustle. It doesn’t matter whether you have the skill for something specific or not, hustle will get you further than you can ever imagine. Hustle can teach you something way faster if you know how to. Go at it, always come up with new ideas, learn new skills that are suitable for your team and your startup.
Most of the CEOs of successful companies started small and they took their steps to become one of the big guys by hustling, they fought to make their startup better than it is. None of them started with the knowledge they have today. They learnt, they tried and failed. In the end, their startups became successful, everyone wants to work with them, wants to use their services. You have to have the hours in, you have to work day and night for your startup to be successful. If not, you lose. Hustle. All the time.