Everyone, read everyone, wants their startup to grow into a profitable business and reach a point where it is no longer called a startup, but a full-fledged company. Mind you, seven years after it started and even after its revenue touched $2 billion, Facebook was still called a startup in some quarters. A startup plays a trail blazing role in the growth of a particular business domain and acts as a torch bearer of innovation. Companies that keep reinventing the wheel, coming up with new ideas all the time and acting as catalysts for one revolutionary discovery after the other can be classified as startups.
The key here is growth.
A product based startup can be a startup all its life, but from its initial efforts to find a foothold in its industry, it must become a successful business. How can a startup that’s come up with an innovative new product or is selling products become a profitable entity? If you’ve just founded a startup and want to see it figure in the list of super successful companies, you’ll need to keep increasing its sales figures.
This is easier said than done. But it still needs to be done. So how do you go about doing it? Here are 5 tips:
Forbes has an insightful article on How to Identify your Market and Size Up Competitors. It makes solid points about knowing who your customers are and getting the lowdown on your competitors, in order to draw up a battle plan. As they say ‘well begun is half done’ and when it comes to your product startup, beginning well is all about understanding your customers, what they want, why they want, and how they want. What you also need to be doing is getting to know your competitors, the kind of products they are selling, their strengths and weaknesses; this helps you differentiate your products and marketing tactics and thus come across as a startup whose products have their own USP.
2. Don’t Think Products, Think Solutions
One of the first things you must do, if you aren’t doing it already, is change your thinking. Yes, you are selling products, but think of them as ‘solutions’ satisfying a particular need of your target customers. That’s how you must sell them. As a product based business, you either need to create demand for your products or exploit existing demand; in both cases, products that appear as solution providers can win against the stiffest competition.
It all begins with a change in perception. Buying a product is way different than buying a solution, isn’t it? Think about it.
3. Start Exploring
No business, startup or otherwise, can afford to exist in a bubble. It needs to explore diverse opportunities for growth. Where is it going to get customers from? The answer to this question will help identify the various avenues for growth. Today, your business is living in a world that spends a large percentage of its time online. So, that’s where you need to hit your customers. But remember, many of your competitors are going to do the same thing, so why not mix your online commerce efforts with a bit of traditional selling as well. The idea is to diversify your sales channels. The World Wide Web gives you a tremendous opportunity to diversify your sales channels, but real diversification ensues when you also tap into traditional sales channels.
4. Get Help
You are a new age startup. Get help that befits your progressiveness. There are business management software available out there that can help your sales efforts. With little or no investment, you not only grow your top line revenues but also integrate your efforts with your back and front office functions. This ensures, your startup is able to manage growth and your efforts do not end in chaos. One big reason why some startups tend to be apprehensive about exploring growth channels is lack of resources; these resources could be money, people, or the right technology infrastructure. The use of the right software platform can ensure these apprehensions don’t stop your startup from growing. You can grow without digging deep into your pockets and what’s more have control of your growth.
5. Don’t Get Overwhelmed
It’s easy to start a business, but it’s difficult to keep at it. In 2012, an article on WSJ said that 3 out of 4 startups fail; if you thought the situation has changed for the better since then, think again. The failure rates of startups will be going a lot higher due to a whole lot of reasons. Let’s focus on just one of these reasons -‘being overwhelmed’. There are startups that are overwhelmed with all the competition in their niche; some are overwhelmed with all the attention they are getting and put too much pressure on themselves in order to meet market expectations; there are others who are just overwhelmed with the very idea of keeping their thinking cap on at all times and trying to surmount a variety of odds every single day.
As a startup selling products, the fact that you let the magnitude of the task on hand affect you adversely means you don’t trust your products. This is a cardinal error. Your product is the reason for your existence, so make sure you market them to the hilt; and don’t expect results in a hurry. They will come if you put in the effort and not lose the battle in your minds. If you give up in your head, you will get bulldozed by the competition for real.
If you keep these five tips in mind, you are giving your startup a very good chance of succeeding even in extremely competitive markets. Also don’t have undue expectations at the onset from your startup. Keep them well-grounded and you might see your startup satisfying them without missing a beat. This ensures your road towards business success is slow but surefooted.Tags: Product Business, Sales Strategy