If statistics are anything to go by, the odds are against you once you start a new business. Startups face challenges like fierce competition and a volatile economy, making it hard for them to survive the first few years. According to Harvard Business Review, two-thirds of startups never show a positive return. Here are a few strategies that can help your startup be among the one-third that withstand the test of time.
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Pursue an MBA Program
The most significant part of a startup is a great idea. But it takes more than just a brilliant idea for the startup to succeed – the secret lies in the execution stage. One of the things you can do to build the required skillset to propel your startup is earning a Master’s in Business Administration. An MBA teaches you essential skills like finance, operations management, and how to make tough decisions even with strained resources. Besides, you will acquire the much-needed leadership skills you can impart to the rest of your team.
Did you know that enrolling in an MBA program could be a chance to grow your support network? The people you meet in class are most likely entrepreneurs like yourself. They are also industry experts in their respective fields. Perhaps you might end up partnering with them now or in the future. Or better still, you could land a mentor.
Rethink Expensive Marketing
You can have the most brilliant idea in the world, but without momentum, it might remain just that. That’s why you need a strategy to inform the world about your business – in other words, marketing. However, you might not have millions of dollars to spend on expensive marketing campaigns as a startup.
So the solution is to find cost-friendly alternatives. Lucky for you, there are so many cheap marketing methods – especially in the digital age. A good example is building your social media following. Most social media platforms have a wide range of marketing tools you can take advantage of, and some are free. Another example of cheap marketing techniques is email marketing, yet the returns are impressive.
When it comes to the question of setting up a marketing department or outsourcing one, the latter is more startup-friendly. It saves you money you’d otherwise spend on recruiting, training, and equipment.
Uphold Excellent Customer Service
No amount of marketing efforts will break even if you don’t gain customer trust. Although marketing might bring new customers, only excellent service will retain them. These loyal customers can also become your brand ambassadors, allowing your business to grow its customer base.
The most important thing you need to do to gain customer trust is to create a superior product or service. That’s why it’s essential to do extensive market research so that you come up with something that meets their needs. You also need to foster a strong relationship with your customers. You can do that by communicating with them frequently and effectively through means like newsletters. You can also strengthen this relationship through loyalty appreciation programs.
Vet Your Team Carefully
When picking people to work with at your startup, you are looking for people to share your dream. Having the right people by your side makes everything else easier. While you might not have the budget that other established companies might have, you can still find top talent. An excellent place to start would be attending networking and recruitment events. You can also leverage the power of social media by posting a link to the job description on your pages. Alternatively, you can work with a recruiter, especially someone with experience working with startups.
Remember that acquiring talented employees is only the first step. You must train them and cultivate a positive company culture so your employees can give their best.
Take Audit of What’s Not Working
Sustaining a startup is all about experimenting. You have to figure out what’s working and what’s not. If you notice that something is not yielding returns, say a particular marketing strategy, drop it even if everyone else is doing it. You can then use the resources you were using on the failed project and redirect them to a new project. While at it, don’t be afraid of trying unconventional ideas, but remember the golden rule – if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. So if something is working for you, keep doing it.