More than 90% of startups fail to make it to their second year while the remaining 10% are divided into the 5% that operate below a positive financial margin, and the 5% that manage to step into their second year with a positive financial balance. These discouraging statistics make entrepreneurship an extremely challenging venture, one that requires months of prior planning, predicting, and strategizing in order to create a fighting chance for your future business.
The global market is oversaturated with content and services of every kind, and if you want to stand out from the crowd and differentiate your brand from the competition, you need to establish a calculated rate of development that will ease the growing pains and see you through on your way to success. You will need to implement some rock-solid strategies and make a few sacrifices along the way, as well.
Here is what you need to do to make it to your second year and join the top 5%.
Target emotion rather than reason
First and foremost, you need to consciously subdue the need for rationality and ask yourself what people want. You might find the notion counterintuitive, yet it is commonly known that people base their decisions on their emotional state, and not only their rational judgment. Therefore, you needn’t burden your creativity with possible products and services that people will benefit from, rather you need to create something that they will love and want.
Evoke emotion with a strong brand
Emotional decision-making leads us to the single most powerful tool you have at your disposal ‒ your brand. It’s important that you imbue your product or service with an emotional drive that will entice people to establish a personal relationship with it.
Your brand is the image and the voice behind your business. An innovative or simply interesting product alone does not cut it anymore in our modern world of global competitiveness, and people are turning to brands and their stories for guidance and easier decision-making. Therefore, you need to think about how you are going to speak to your target demographic, what kind of image you are going to portray, and how you will make your brand recognizable.
Invest in marketing
Close your eyes for a second and say to yourself ‒ marketing is an investment, not an expense. If a brand is your company’s unique, debonair personality, then marketing and advertising are your gateways that will lead it to the eyes, ears, hearts and minds of your audience. It is for this reason that you should save away a marketing fund to invest in developing and opening up concrete channels of external communication that will effectively portray the essence of your brand.
You have two types of marketing at your disposal: online marketing and offline marketing. There is also inbound and outbound marketing. However, inbound marketing should be your primary solution. Inbound marketing entails the use of “pulling” strategies to inspire customers to engage and become drawn to your brand naturally. You will achieve this by developing a unique angle of approach and a strong brand imbued with inspiring stories, messages, values, and a visual identity to spark imagination and drive passion.
How do you create inspiring content? By carefully developing blogs, values, your mission and vision, and investing in billboards, city lights, newspaper articles, creative brochure printing and charming thank-you notes to send out to your clients and customers as a sign of appreciation and in order to make them feel like a part of your family.
Reinvesting rather than making a profit
Successful entrepreneurs realize the importance of reinvesting in their business even though it is hard to say goodbye to their hard-earned cash, as reinvesting is actually an investment into a larger ROI in the near future. Those who fail to control their urge for quick monetary gain often find themselves short on cash when the company desperately needs it to push through the hard times, resulting in unachieved goals and more often than not, the closing of their company before the year’s end.
Therefore, you should start saving up from the very beginning and establish an emergency fund to fall back on if the situation requires it. Remember, long-term affluence requires short-term sacrifices.
Refrain from expanding too early
While the most desirable situation would entail you hiring people from the very beginning to help you reach your business goals and create a thriving company environment, it is wise to refrain from expanding your team until you have established a steady revenue stream, and it’s best to keep it a one-man show.
Rather than employing new people to help you with marketing, branding etc., you can take advantage of the endless educational possibilities the online community has to offer and invest your time in acquiring the necessary skillset and knowledge that will allow you to run the company successfully by yourself. Soon enough, you will have reached the necessary goals to bring in some extra manpower.
While entrepreneurship is an occupation entailing a great deal of risk and uncertainty, you can successfully avoid its common pitfalls and establish a steady rate of development by following these essential guidelines that will see you through on your way to long-term success!