When you’re working in a start-up, you share one goal alongside every other start-up; to grow and escape the first year. Escaping your first year as a start-up business dramatically increases your chances of succeeding, especially when you’re in such a volatile industry, such as the tech industry.
Especially when you consider that 80 new businesses are registered in the UK every single hour. Not only is that a lot of businesses growing, but it means a lot of competition for you.
However, the only way to survive the first year and become the best business you can be is to expand and grow your business. You need your first customer or client, and then your second, and then you need to keep snowball and maintain your momentum to finally break free of the shackles of being a start-up, transforming into a fully-fledged business.
This is obviously easier said than done, which is why so many new tech businesses fail every year. No matter what your business is, whether you’re working on software, apps, or equipment, some need-to-know tips will drastically increase your chances of survival.
It’s on this line of thinking that I’m going to share five of the most important tips with you today, so get a pen and paper handy, and let’s get growing.
Set Your Goals
I cannot and will never stress enough how important it is for your business to write down your goals and work towards them. This is simple science that has been proven over and over again. It makes sense.
You write down your goals as clearly and as defined as possible, and you’re basically imprinting them in your mind by merely doing this alone. If you look at the top 1% of high achievers and high performers in the world, every single one writes down their goals regularly and looks them over.
And that last part is the key.
Out of 100% of people, only 3% write down their goals and never review them again. If you want to make it into the 1%, write down your goals, and review them regularly. However, you can’t just have the goal ‘to make my business succeed.’
That’s not defined enough. You need detail. How many units are you planning to shift? How much money do you need to make? How much do you want to make? Where is your business heading, and what do you want to be doing? Write them down with as much detail as possible.
It’s a scientifically proven way to get ahead.
Create Products That Sell Themselves
The best products in the world don’t need marketing. They market themselves, which means you have to design a product that is capable of doing this or at least optimizing your product to do this. You can have all the marketing and advertising strategies in the world, but if your product can’t market itself, it’s not going to stand on its own two feet.
Think about companies like Snapchat and Dropbox. Both these companies went viral at the beginning without marketing because they were simply so good at what they do. To bring this into your own products, you need to make your product so good that it will sell itself.
You need your users to be working on your product and think to themselves, “my god, this product is amazing”. Now, you’re not going to get this right 100% of the time, but it’s what you should be aiming for.
The best way to do this is to take your unique selling point (USP) and really double-down on what this is. What makes your product special? Why are people going to use your product? Why would people choose your product over somebody else’s? With this information, make this aspect of your product the best it can possibly be.
Get Your Product Shared
This is perhaps a no-brainer that you should be aiming for, but the more you can get your product shared by others, the faster and more solidly you’re going to grow. While you could use a mixture of social media influencers and affiliates to get the word about your business out there, the very best way is to get your customers to share your product for you.
I don’t mean to harp on about Dropbox, but damn did they do this well. If you signed up with Dropbox, not only did they team up with a boatload of companies to give space, but they rewarded people who referred the products to their friends or workplaces with more space.
Back in 2013, and still sometimes today, if you sent an invite to a friend and they signed up to the service, you’d receive something like 1GB or 3GB for free, on top of your plan. Of course, people were then encouraging their friends and family to sign up as much as possible, and when everyone realized what a great service it is, they stuck around long term.
This is how you get people to share your product.
It’s vital you find a way to do this within your own business because social proof is everything these days. When was the last time you even second-glanced a one-star reviewed Amazon product? Exactly; you don’t even clock it if it’s bad, and this is simply based on the opinions of strangers you’ll never meet.
“Statistics show that 77% of all customers will look at customer reviews before buying a product. 84% of buyers say they trust online reviews from said strangers more than they would even trust the reviews of their friends and families, so that’s saying something about how people view the opinion of others,” explains Lisa Farrow, a tech writer at Brit student and Phd kingdom.
When it comes to your business, you can’t just give out free storage space like Dropbox, but you can offer incentives to make people want to share what you’re offering. If you offer a subscription-based service, for example, you could give them a free month for every person they sign up for.
Perhaps you want to give them a free graphic representing them in your game or offer some kind of special access to content. It’s really up to you and how your business works, but the most important thing is to get creative with how you do it. Just don’t forget to ask.
Give Someone Access to Your Product for Free
Easily the best way to get someone on board with your product, and perhaps the oldest trick in the book, is to offer a free trial. This way, hand in hand with point one of today’s guide, a customer can really get to experience your product first-hand and see if they like it. If you’re done your work, then yes, of course, your customer is going to like it, and you’ll have a new customer by the end of the trial period.
This works in all tech industries, from music streaming platforms to video games and software and everything in between. Many apps these days are also going for freemium approaches, which give limited access to the app (which is still usable on a basic level), but then premium features can be unlocked for a price that will enhance the experience.
The best thing about this approach?
“If your service or product isn’t for the customer, then they can simply delete the app and won’t have to worry about being out of pocket. They have nothing to lose. This ‘nothing to lose’ approach is great because it means people are downloading apps left, right, and center and seeing what works for them,” shares Duncan Smith, a business writer at 1 Day 2 write and Writemyx.
This means they’re much more likely to try your app out and, again, if you’ve done your work, then you’ve got your foot in the door, and you’ll have a paying customer stick around. Over time, this means you’re building your customer base, growing and expanding, and will make it out your first year in style.
Work on Your Online Content
The final point you’ll want to think about comes in the form of your online presence, most notably your branding and the content you’re creating. Content will have a long-lasting effect on your business, such as giving your website an SEO ranking and building your social media following.
The content you release now has the chance to go viral over the next few years, and it may not happen instantly, but in some time to come, so you need to be thinking about getting stuff out there and building up your profile as much as possible.
Think social media content, SEO, your online advertising campaigns, blog and video content, and your business’s website. If you can bring all these points together, you’re setting your business up for success and give yourself the best running start to grow and expand over the coming years.
Best of luck!
Michael Dehoyos is a content marketer and business writer at Coursework writer and Academic Brits. He helps new, and start-up businesses market themselves in the best possible way and explores creative strategy opportunities. Also, he is a writer at Essay help.