Running a startup is a stressful experience. There are countless different jobs for you to complete, orders to fulfill, branding to conjure up and questions from prospects to be answered.
When you’re building something from nothing, there’s a far higher probability of success than failure. This means that you’ll be fighting all the time to keep your startup alive and fuel the flames of its success. Although this is difficult, there are several proven ways that you can do this.
You could, for example, make sure that you don’t leave yourself vulnerable by hiring a full-time team too early on in the journey. Alternatively, you should focus much of your attention on market positioning to ensure you gain a steady stream of customers and differentiate yourself from the competition.
To help you understand these strategies better, here are five ways to ensure your startup is a success:
1. Make sure you have the right insurance
Your startup is vulnerable enough as it is without considering the risk of being sued by a customer, rival, or even one of your employees. New businesses are bound to make mistakes, so you don’t want to be liable for any legal action if there is a way of preventing it.
To help protect you from this, consider purchasing specialist insurance for your specific service. For example, if you provide professional advice, you may want to use professional indemnity insurance, which covers you from any legal action related to your advice.
2. Don’t hire a team too early
Although hiring a team is a vital part of the corporate growth process, hiring staff too early in the journey would be a mistake. This is because having a team on payroll costs a huge amount of money, which can be a big risk when your cash flow is still inconsistent.
Instead, consider using freelancers or part-time staff members when you’re just starting out.
3. Market positioning is key
Market positioning is arguably vital to starting and growing a successful company. To position your startup correctly, you need to identify and target a specific group of customers and set yourself apart from your competitors to meet their individual needs better.
When you have clearly identified this target market and worked out the problems your rivals are not fully solving, you will find it infinitely easier to stand out and grow quickly.
Moreover, a well-defined market position also makes it easier to develop your overall business strategy, including product development, marketing, and sales.
4. Your products need to solve an existing problem
One of the most crucial steps for a startup to take when entering the market for the first time is identifying existing problems that need solving. This is crucial for creating a product or service that meets a genuine desire or need and quickly differentiating yourself from the competition and establishing a unique value proposition.
Although you could say this is related to market positioning, it is subtly different. You may want to find a unique way of serving your customers, but there firstly needs to be an existing demand for your services. Without existing demand, you can’t know whether anyone wants to buy your products and services which can leave you dead in the water before you even get going.
A great way to find existing problems for your startup to solve is through market research.
This research can include surveys, focus groups, and interviews with potential customers to gain insight into their pain points and unmet needs.
You could also trawl through industry reports, online forums, and social media to gather information on common complaints and issues about your intended product or service.
Another approach to finding existing problems is to keep a close eye on industry trends and developments. By staying up to date on the latest innovations and advancements in your market, you can identify areas where current solutions are falling short and where there’s an opportunity to create something better.
You could also think about your personal experiences and frustrations, which could be solved better. When you have personal experience of the problem you want to solve, it can be easier to develop a stronger product quickly.
5. Focus on one product or service
Lastly, you must ensure that you focus all your resources in the right direction. It can be tempting to diversify and spread yourself across multiple products or services when you’re just beginning to capture more of the target market and gain more sales.
However, this is a fool’s errand. Not only does spreading yourself too thin damage your quality control, but it also prevents you from developing a reputation for solving a particular problem.