We want our ideas to be noticed, and to take off. We believe in them, and we think others will too. The reality is, there are thousands of others out there with great ideas, competing with us for the same audience. So how do we put our notions out there and really convince others? How can we develop our new endeavour so it becomes a successful start up?
We’ve all seen it happen. Someone starts out with a new venture, and we think, o.k. fine, this could be a good idea. We express polite interest, and carry on with our work. And then sometimes, out of seemingly nowhere the growing venture rises and shines on a much larger stage to the awe and applause of everyone.
There can be a lot of different paths to growth. Most people jump in to a new venture with nothing more than a vague idea of 'trying harder', or 'being better' than everyone else. Although there are no silver bullets, I've observed that start ups that successfully gain traction share the following five practices. Let's take a look at what we can learn.
1. Define your purpose simply and clearly.
All ventures, whether business start ups, not for profits or charities that have successfully found their voice can easily define their purpose in a short sentence. Less is more. It doesn't have to be complicated. A simple, clear statement about your start up will increase confidence in your message. Defining this can take practice, but the adage ‘a little goes a long way’ definitely rings true here.
2. Test your message early.
Ask yourself ‘does this have unique value?' Does it have resonance with its audience. Check in early with a small audience, a trusted network of peers, or a mentor. (Actually, it's helpful to check in with all three!) It's a lot simpler to revise an idea early on, than rehash or ditch an idea you've invested time in down the track. I recommend taking time to seek out and develop these kind of relationships as they are super valuable.
3. Set clear achievable goals.
Yes, you need to define goals. But not too big. Small and achievable is good. It's about having a big dream, with small achievable goals. Put them in writing. You don't want to lose track of your ideas. Set goals that:
Are time bound
This way you'll be interested keeping to them, and you'll be able to see how well you have achieved them. This is very helpful for future planning and growth.
4. Care for your customers.
Take some time to really find out who your customers are. Also, what questions they are asking. Then you can simply and confidently answer them, time and time again. This develops trust in you and your brand, and cannot be underestimated. Word of mouth is still by far the best form of highly influential advertising. There is a lot of consumer pressure around these days, and it is refreshing to find a venture that simply delivers well to their customers, and listens to them.
Growing your business in unconventional ways can help you stand out against the competition. This applies to a range of areas from your branding to how you choose to advertise. Consider things like:
Borrowing influence from already established brands and personalities
Partnering with companies delivering a different product or service to the same customers
Making the most of free resources and 'skill swapping' with your networks so you're not spending too heavily on your investment early on
Using fun themes your customers really resonate with in your marketing
These five practices will work together to help your new endeavour truly stand out from the rest. If you take care with how you develop your venture, you can create some real momentum towards becoming a successful start up. The right strategies and effort will pay off a hundred fold as you transform your fledgling idea into something much more.
by Natasha McGowan – Business Consultant
In business or self-employed? Keen to develop your ideas and projects but not sure where to next? I’ll get to know you and your plans, and provide tailored tools and resources to position you for where you want to go. If you’re looking for a skilled practitioner to help with operations I’d love the opportunity to work with you.