Congratulations! You’ve finally put your idea into a business. But by now, you might already start to feel the pressure of uncertainty as excitement of becoming your own boss begins to wear off. Doubts sets in and you start to question if you could really pull it of. Statistics shows that nine out of 10 startups fail and 46 percent of these failures are due to incompetence. But do not let the statistics scare you. Here are four keys to make sure that your business becomes a success.
- Set your business apart
What will make customers choose your coffee over Starbucks? In business lingo, this means differentiation. Differentiation is when you offer a product or service that sets you apart from the competition. It could be the ambiance of your shop, the handcrafted packaging of your product, or your fun corporate culture that transcends to your service. Whatever it is, it is that ‘something’ that makes your business stands out from the competition.
- Target the right demographic
More often than not, businesses fail because they do not understand their customers or they do not know who their customers are. This is not just a pitfall for startups but for well-established companies as well. Remember MySpace? It was the social networking site everybody was on until Facebook killed it. How you may ask? Facebook understood its demographic—people connect on more than one level through shared interests, groups, and integrate that into multiple ways.
It’s not that you need to know all your customers by name, though that would add a personal touch. Targeting demographic means the ability to narrow down your market in a manner that your product could define and respond to their needs and preferences.
- Be social
Word-of-mouth is the best marketing tool you’ll ever have. And did I mention that it’s also free? 86 percent of consumers will prefer a product or service that’s recommended by a family or friend. And because of technology, these recommendations are likely to be posted on social media. Humans are social creatures and we like to socially influence others by raving about our new discoveries online.
That is why getting a website is not enough. You have to provide constant presence on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to have a strong online presence. Not only will this allow your customers to interact with your brand and increase brand awareness, but will also allow you to get direct feedback that will help you proactively find areas of your business that needs improvement.
- Listen to your customers
Listening to your customer is doubly important for a startup because you are still trying to cut a piece of the pie, so to speak. How you listen to them will establish the size you’ll get. When Chipotle entered the fast food industry, it understood that there is a clamor for fast, healthy food option. It listened to what customers want and in effect cut a big piece out of McDonald’s market by offering customizable burritos and using only fresh ingredients.
The moral of the story? Be customer-centric. Always be flexible. Always. Be flexible in your business goals and be flexible as an entrepreneur. Proactively respond to the changing patterns and demands of your customers while holding firm to the value of what you are trying to create with your startup.