Starting up a new business can be an exciting and challenging process to undertake. Entrepreneurs all over the world are constantly embarking on new journeys by kicking off their business ideas. In fact, statistics show that there are over 500 million entrepreneurs in the world at the moment. Many of these entrepreneurs go on to make a success out of their start-ups; 62% of billionaires around the world are self-made. However, failure is a large risk of starting up your own business. It is estimated that over 25% of new businesses fail in the first year, with the risk almost doubling in the next five years.
So, what makes a successful business, and how can you ensure that your brand new venture goes on to be a success? We took a look at some of the key elements that you need to consider to put in place to ensure that your business takes off, and maintains its upward growth over the first few years of existence. Below are some key pointers that successful business owners have followed to ensure success.
Have a Set Business Plan in Place
This is one of the most vital elements of starting off a new business. Having a well written, and detailed business plan in place can mean the difference between your business succeeding and failing. A business plan needs to consider every element of your newly established business, as well as set out the requirements and goals for the future of the company. It is a complex document that serves several purposes. It firstly allows you to set and document realistic goals to reach certain periods of the business cycle, and thereafter, is a document to attract investors and shareholders to your new venture.
A good business plan will have the following elements included:
- Description of the business;
- Profit calculator;
- Marketing strategy;
- Competitive analysis
- Design and development plan;
- Foreseeable risks;
- Procedures, operations, and development;
- Organizational structures;
- Financial components and capital requirements.
It is vital to spend time producing this document, and even, if necessary, seek the assistance of a professional. The future of your company is in the pages of this plan, and you need to ensure that every last detail is included and that you take all risks into consideration.
Know Your Market and Competition
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, knowing who your customer is vital, but so is having a key understanding of your competitors. Let’s take a look at your customer first. Every new business needs to do a deep dive into its potential customer before creating a brand identity. You will need to know everything about your customers in order to produce a product or service that they will need, but also to market it effectively to them.
What are their basic demographics, what are your consumers’ interests and behaviors? How do they shop on a day to day basis, and what are they interested in that you can market to? In the digital world, and the era of smartphones and big data, it is important to keep personalization in mind to market to your customers. It is not just about their age and locations anymore, it’s about how they behave and their personal tastes that you can appeal to.
Having a key understanding of your competitors is also key. Not only do you need to continuously monitor what they are doing, but you need to keep ahead of them by having your finger on the pulse. Customers can be exceptionally flakey, especially when it comes to value for money and the cost of products. Knowing what competitors are doing means that you can draw your customers back by altering your strategy slightly.
Establish a Database
Right, now you know who your customer is, and what they are interested in. The next thing is to start engaging with them. You will need to start building a list of subscribers and putting together a database. Naturally, it takes a long time to start collecting lists of customers’ contact email addresses and telephone numbers for you to start marketing to. If you are kicking off for the first time, there are actually a number of ways that you can create a database of customers’ email addresses.
There are firstly a number of companies that you can actually buy prospects details from. However, not only can this be slightly expensive, but a lot of the data can be old, outdated or simply incorrect. Most customers also have expressed a genuine disdain at their details being shared among companies, and in a lot of countries, it is illegal, but this is your quickest way of building up your lists. There are more organic ways, like running competitions, doing draws, and the good old fashioned method of research. Make sure though, that you do have a solid database established before kicking off your first campaign.
Launch a Successful Marketing Campaign
Lastly, let’s take a look at the actual launch of your business. You will need to get your name out there, and the best way of doing this is by launching a great marketing campaign. You will need to plan your strategy effectively and ensure that you are launching the right content over multiple channels and platforms. Make sure you create relevant social media profiles that fit the network, from a professional LinkedIn page for your business, to a creative Instagram page. Your digital marketing strategy is one of your key strengths, especially to reach out to brand new marketing.
Ensure that content is being produced to reach out to your new database through mailers and then rework that content to post to the various platforms. Distribution of content across multiple channels means that you can reach a larger audience:
- Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc;
- Paid ads and Google banners;
- Influencer marketing;
- Partnerships and press releases;
- Backlinks and paid media.
One of the biggest pieces of advice that an entrepreneur had for other new business owners was to never stop learning. He encouraged the startups to continually read, keep up with current trends and do endless tutorials on running a successful company. Once you master a certain process and function in the company, find out if you can automate it and then move onto the next stepping stone in the company. In this way, you are permanently growing while establishing your foundations.