Before I'm able to finish writing this sentence, another startup has been born. Multiple actually, some created by founders who have a great idea without the resources, others who have both. Regardless, both types of entrepreneurs are in dire need to save time and expand their bandwidth.
Time is the one metric that is never in our favor when it comes to startup land. As a founding member of any young entity, if you're not wearing one hat then you're wearing another. After the endless hours and long nights of work put into your part-time venture, you begin to realize that you're doing the work of two full time positions.
Here are a few realizations that I came across that helped me maximize my efficiency and save time as a part-time entrepreneur.
Do one thing well
A wise man once told me, "It's not what can be built, it's what should be built." That man was my co-founder. We were in the pre-launch phase of our mobile news platform Bando and at the time we'd created a list of about 20 different features that would work within the app. But not only would creating and managing those products require a great deal of time (periodically too) but it may also steer our customers away from the main problem our app actually solves.
Focusing on one product in your beginning stages can be beneficial in a few ways. It allows you to perfect your primary product and really gain an understanding of your brand's audience.
As your bandwidth allows, your business will be better served taking time to develop and test the unreleased products so when they are introduced to your community, they're well received.
The advances of automation have created a whole new way to discover and learn about customers. There are many tools to help you automate your marketing duties, the key is using them strategically.
If you generate leads through social media, automated services could help you increase your efficiency and ideally scale those communities with less work from you. Tools like Buffer, Instagress, and Manage Flitter are constantly developing their product to cater your needs. These services should definitely find a place in your weekly work flow.
I consider the paid marketing automation software as a tier above social media services. Hubspot, Marketo, and Pardot are leading services that roll out the inbound marketing strategy that you've implemented.
But the additional benefit comes in utilizing the data you've been able to get through these methods. How will you better engage your users and grow your audience now that you know more about their behavior on your platform?
Create a Rigid Referral Program
Without spending money for third party programs to run your referral program, strategically turning users into brand ambassadors could prove very rewarding, especially when it comes to B2C startups.
Though no one is going to support your brand of you don't house good content. There has to be something of value to prospective clients as well as current users or customers. With that said, the most effective way for a B2C to grow organically is from consumer to consumer. As the founder it's your job to make the transition from your platform to other communities as seamless as possible.
I've seen businesses offer incentives for referrals, but creating quality content is also a way to get users to talk to other individuals within their own network about your brand. Optimizing the "shareability" factor is essential because no one wants to hear about a product from the business, they want to hear it from a friend.
Establishing this foundation can be time consuming in the beginning but these methods will surely amount to a noticeable ROI and more time for you to focus on other tasks during the early stages of your startup.