Although running a startup today is challenging, it doesn’t compare to years ago when resources for businesses weren’t as accessible as they are now. For one, raising funds for a startup would often involve asking for money from friends and family. Business loans weren’t as prevalent back then. Business owners had far fewer options to advertise their products and services, mostly with the use of print media, radio and TV. But now, marketing your business can be done through so many channels, it’s now a case of where to start rather than what to do.
For these reasons, creating a startup can now be considered easier than it was before. The challenge now is how to utilize the resources available at your fingertips to the maximum benefit of your business, which isn’t necessarily always obvious. These 10 simple tips for startups will help improve your ability to manage yours.
- Consider investing in applications and software
The widely accessible resources today that weren’t available in the past are software apps. These tools vary enormously in functionality, and depending on the nature of your startup, you may find specific applications or software to be more valuable to you than others.
For example, if you’re running a lawn care agency, software like the one from Jobber would be incredibly useful to manage your day-to-day business operations. Examples of how this might help could be with appointment scheduling, communications with customers, estimating job costs and with the payment process. As with the use of any technology, there is a level of investment required, so you need to identify to what extent the benefits of a tool such as this would outweigh their cost.
- Seek feedback from your customers
Openly seek feedback from your customers. Feedback from people who use your products or services is invaluable in providing you with genuine insights that can lead to the betterment of your startup. Look for patterns in what people comment on and identify practical ways to address it.
Don’t be afraid to respond to negative feedback. Others will be interested to see how you handle negative reviews. In some cases, you might even be able to turn a situation around so that what started as a negative thing, ended up benefiting your business in some way – either by regaining a lost customer, or addressing an issue your business was facing.
Nothing says ‘we care about our customers’ more than a startup that seeks feedback from all that use its products or services.
- Take your time establishing your pricing structure
New business owners tend to underestimate the importance of pricing strategies. In most cases, they end up copying the pricing structure of their competitors, but that can be problematic. You must remember that while your business may be like your competitors, your needs, internal costs and service quality may vary drastically.
Therefore, you must decide on your rates independent of other establishments. If you’re struggling in this regard, the Jobber Academy offers a wealth of valuable resources to support startups operating in the field service sector with how to price their services.
- Create a customer support team
By the very nature of starting a startup, it’s likely that people will have several questions about your goods and services. If their questions are left unanswered, they’ll more than likely turn to a competitor business that offers similar products and services as an alternative. To prevent this from happening, consider whether you need to hire a person or team dedicated to providing support to both your existing and potential customers.
- Utilize several channels for marketing
Your customers will be shopping in more than one place; on social media platforms, websites, eCommerce stores… the list goes on. So, while it isn’t a terrible idea to focus your marketing efforts on only one channel, it’s not an excellent idea either since, by doing so, you’re essentially cutting out potential prospects that can be found elsewhere.
With that said, consider utilizing several channels at once, but be very careful to target your specific audience for maximum efficiency.
- Analyze data from past customer interactions
Customer interactions, such as phone calls and purchases, often create different types of data that can provide valuable insights into your business. For example, a record of past customer purchases can tell you the most popular product or service from your startup.
Other types of data can provide similarly helpful information about your business.
- Keep detailed records of business activities
Analyzing data from past customer interactions is good, but you have to record those interactions to begin with. Unfortunately, not all business owners understand the importance of record keeping.
Keeping detailed records in such a way that they can be easily accessible will allow you to know where your business stands financially and the challenges you may potentially face. Hence, record-keeping is a must-do for all business owners.
- Remember to build a relationship with other startups
Most business owners focus so much on themselves and their startups that they forget about other establishments that complement theirs in the vicinity. Such a habit often ends up being their downfall since building a relationship yields several mutual benefits to a startup. For one, it allows you to establish a reputation in the business world. Two, you gain access to someone else’s customers and audience (as do they to yours). And, lastly, they can provide help if you ever need it. Therefore, by disregarding this activity, you’re essentially losing out on these benefits.
- Take steps to improve your credit score
Business loans are yet another resource that’s widely accessible to business owners nowadays, if you have a good credit score. Actively take steps to improve your credit score, as tricky as it may be, as you are likely to be rewarded by this further down the line.
- Outsource if necessary
It can be challenging to obtain the staffing you need right away as a startup. In most cases, you’ll struggle to get the talent you need to establish a team that would complete all the necessary individual tasks for your startup. Outsourcing skills from external agencies can be a very cost-effective way of having access to the skills you need on an ad hoc or retained basis.
Not every business owner knows all the ins and outs of the industry they are in, much less someone who has just recently created a startup, such as yourself. However, that’s not to say you can’t achieve that level of expertise. It may take a while, but you’ll get there. This guide will give you a head start in getting going and giving your business the success it deserves.