There are a lot of people out there who look at Facebook, or who look at the “next big thing” on the internet, and think – “I could do that!” But how many people actually take that step – and how many people who actually take that step succeed?
You’ve got to have a plan and a formula – a blueprint for success. And while the individual steps are different for each company, the general principles remain the same.
Know Your Message
This is an easy one, but it’s remarkable how many people start off their company with this vague idea of revolutionizing the internet, but they don’t know how to articulate it. If you can’t get your company and what you’re trying to do down to a non-jargonized sentence or two, sit down and really figure out what you’re trying to do here before you fall flat on your face.
The ability to communicate your company to others in a succinct (and hopefully memorable) manner is something that all of the best former-startups have. And if you can’t figure out what it is your company is about, how are other people going to do so?
Work Your Network
Again, another obvious statement, but again, amazing how many people don’t take advantage of their far-flung networks. Use Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin for all they are worth – and don’t forget to take a look at alumna and alumni both of your high school and your college. You may not know what people are doing these days, but find out – see what people are up to and see if they might be interested in your product…or if they would be able to help you out somehow or another.
It’s not just a matter of who you know, but who they know. As an entrepreneur you need to get over that fear of putting yourself forward and get used to asking for help – you need to be personable, and networking (and getting people to invest in your idea) is a key part of your success!
Don’t Forget Your Customers
The people who are the early-adopters of your product are likely to be loyal for a long time – if you treat them right! Most of the time your product starts off with a manageable, small pool of interested users.
More likely than not, they are going to have feedback and questions and feature requests – don’t ignore them – this is crowd-sourcing at it’s best for you and your team and your product! You have an actively engaged consumer base willing to offer you feedback. Take it – and go a step further. Interact with your customers – ask questions, allow them into private betas, genuinely engage – this resource could be invaluable to the future success of your company.
Keep Identifying Problems
This advice comes in two parts – internally, with your product (which should be obvious) and also within your industry.
Hopefully, the reason that you started your start-up was because there was a problem that people were having that you wanted to answer – so you created the answer. You’re going to want to keep active and engaged with your industry and continue to improve your product, so that, hopefully, your product will always remain relevant – it probably isn’t going to look the same (nor should it) after a few years than what it did when you started. Change is a good thing!
Cecilia Miles works with a company that can help protect the data of your start-up with a data room if you end up going into a merger with another awesome company. She hopes that everyone is able to pursue their dreams of success, whatever that may be.