4 Essential Elements for a Startup Looking to Grow
Guest post from freelance contributor, Lindsey Patterson, who specializes in business technology, customer relationship management, and lead management.
Starting a business is more than just buying a domain and getting the word out. There is finesse needed, along with much needed research and planning. You can find countless “recipes for success” that will tell you “industry secrets” and so much more. But setting up your business for success can really come down to these four things.
1. Envision the Long-Term But Plan for the Short Term
Among the most important steps to building a successful business is your business plan. Your plan shouldn’t be seen as a ball and chain, but as a quick reference for typical situations that will arise. Often, if a plan isn’t in place, it can be easy to be pressured into making decisions and this can lead to possible disaster.
Having a written business plan doesn’t have to be a long or stressful ordeal though. Outline financing, sales and marketing, a few objectives and strategies, and anything else you deem necessary. Your business plan doesn’t need to answer every question, but it should pique your investors’ or readers’ interest.
The biggest part of your business plan is that it should state your long-term desires and vision (about five years into the future), but it should state short term goals that will be achieved in the first year. As a Forbes article says “Envision the long-term but plan for the short term.” You can do this by determining what you need to achieve in the first year in order to have your business on the right path to achieving your five-year goals.
2. Branding Your Startup
In today’s business world, branding has become a huge part of a successful business. Probably the most obvious reason why branding can equal success is that it will help you stand out in your industry and in such a competitive marketplace.
Some key factors for a successful and top-notch brand are its audience knowledge, the uniqueness, consistency and exposure. For exposure, you need to be sure that your brand is reaching consumers through a variety of media and channels. This can range from television commercials to Instagram accounts. Whether you have a large marketing budget or not, social media has made it far easier for big and small businesses to get their brand out there. With just about all design factors, being consistent is very important. Think of Apple, their logo is just one small apple and it is that image across all their products. This doesn’t mean you need to have something that simple, but it needs to be consistent across your website, products and all marketing.
Uniqueness and audience knowledge can be no-duh factors, but it might surprise you how many companies miss this mark. Be sure to know your audience, and know them well. If you’re selling motorcycles, having a flowery logo might not be the right choice (unless you are targeting more feminine customers). As for uniqueness, don’t miss the mark with something so unique that it doesn’t relate to your audience or even your business. But still, don’t copy your competitors look with just a different array of colors.
3. Insuring Your Startup Business
Starting a business can be a very risky business. But thankfully, there is business insurance out there that can take some of the worry and stress out of this. Invest in a good business insurance plan that can help you avoid certain risks that are well, unavoidable. We aren’t saying that you should be dumping large amounts of money into premiums for something that will never happen. No. Instead, we are saying to invest in a policy that will get your back with something as small as a legal hazard surfaces.
For smaller businesses, insurance is a near must as, generally, any uninsured loss can threaten the business itself or your own personal assets. If your grand idea become a flop, you don’t want to be losing your house over it. Business insurance can provide a safety net for the risks that you are pursuing most grandly.
4. Communication at Your Startup
A final key factor into business success is communication. And we don’t necessarily mean that it comes in fourth in importance. Business success can be highly impacted by the way we communicate. Just think of any relationship you have and how much better it is when there is good, open communication. It is the same in the business world. One good technique to keep in mind when communicating is that we “don’t communicate to be understood; rather, [we] communicate so as not to be misunderstood.” Or think of it as, you listen to understand, not to reply. Keeping these two things in mind can help anyone realize where they may fall short in their communication skills.
Communicating isn’t about debate either (unless you’re on a debate team), don’t always try to convince your listeners that you are right. Try to see their point and always be open to what they have to say. Being effective when communicating will help your message be interpreted correctly and can dissolve potential conflicts. Take the time to hone in on good communication techniques.
Please let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or comments.
Lindsey Patterson is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who specializes in business technology, customer relationship management, and lead management. She also writes about the latest social trends, specifically involving social media. Find her on Twitter: @LindseyPatter19
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