There are days of late nights at the office, wearing multiple hats of founder, chief salesperson, customer support and accountant and a wide range of tasks from brand marketing to sponsorship sales to budgeting.
When you are just starting out and money is tight, you might be tempted to see your brand as too small and not ready to compete with the big leagues.
However, getting your startup to where it needs to be requires you to think outside the box of your present circumstances and see your startup as you would like it to be.
You need to have faith in yourself and in your brand and in your product's potential to raise capital and eventually recurring revenue.
In order to grow, you must represent your business as bigger than it is by showing the milestones you have been able to achieve, displaying at the fore front your potential business revenue and other small successes at your startup.
Here are 5 ways to play bigger as a startup-
1. Communicate your vision effectively:
Your success as a startup is intimately tied to your ability to grow and grow fast. Growth comes as a result of customers that buy your product/service and advocate your brand.
Having a dedicated customer base is consistently communicating your vision to your customers and keeping them constantly engaged.
Selling your vision (whether to investors, employees, customers, etc.) requires your passion and belief in what you are doing. One way to communicate your vision to your customers is to make a product/service that they care about.
This shows that you listen to them and you want to help them solve their problems. This communicates to your customers to trust your brand because you take their needs seriously.
2. Offer a distinct product:
Another way to play bigger as a startup is to not do what others are doing. Find a way to stand out from the crowd of competitors and copy-cats.
Offer a distinct product and/or service. Find a unique way of providing solutions to customers' needs. Do it better, faster.
Never compete on price as that is a losing strategy. Instead compete in quality, efficiency and delivery of your product. Target a niche of target customers and differentiate your startup by offering tailored solutions to their needs.
Find something you do better as a startup and make it the focus of your customers' interactions.
3. Be Nimble:
People often assume that startups are at a disadvantage because of their size and their lack of a large advertising budget.
After all, big companies have huge resources for marketing and product development. But big companies are usually bugged down by bureaucracy.
This makes it easier for you to be nimble. As a startup, you can play bigger by moving fast.
The world is wired for smart small businesses that can pivot quickly and respond immediately to change. Act fast where others are slow.
Respond to customers' emails and complaints quickly, deliver products fast and efficiently and make decisions faster.
With online tools and resources, you can respond to issues quicker, innovate and be more productive at a fraction of the cost of big companies.
4. Build a great team:
Play bigger by hiring great people. Some startups try to cut costs by hiring mediocre people but that strategy ends up costing your business in the long run.
Hire people who are passionate about your product, who know how to develop great relationships with your customers and provide a unique experience for your customers.
People buy your products for personal and professional reasons and they all want to feel like their relationship with you is special.
Your startup is only as special as the teams you have so make it a priority to hire great people.
5. Advertise For long term:
One difference between big companies and startups is their long term plans. Big companies usually have deep pockets they use to get their road maps, business forecasts, strategies and targets, both short and long-term advertisements done.
Startups don't usually have such leverage. That's why it's imperative to invest the somewhat limited resources on avenues that will bring in the ROI your business needs.
With gloomy statistics that 90% of startups fail within the first year, it is pertinent to make your products or services available to the target market through advertisement.
You can do this in different ways. As a startup, advertising could be very expensive. You can get cheap business publicity by utilizing directory services like Yellow Pages, Google AdWords, and social media marketing.
Other tips include paying attention to cash flow; make sure your startup has a viable business model and a clear way of making money.
Make products that customers need and provide a memorable customer experience by responding to their requests faster, more efficiently and add a personal feel to your interactions with your customers.
Image Credit: The Muse, David DeWolf