Recently I was talking with my pal, Robert Scoble, about startups, content, leaving 2014 and going into 2015, so it got me to thinking, what can startups do now to help them create wins for 2015?
This list of 5 Wins for Startups to Achieve Growth in 2015 will get you moving in a direction of growth for 2015.
5 Wins for Startups to Achieve Growth in 2015
1. Be crystal clear on your purpose.
Do you know why you are doing what you are doing? Last year, I wrote a post on the what’s and why’s of niche marketing and developing a niche marketing strategy. Every company operates in a niche. To operate effectively in your niche, you need to know the market need, the target market, target customer, and understand their pains, needs and what motivates them. But that’s not enough. You also have to focus on the why’s of you. Really research why you are in this niche and why you want to do what you do. Having this knowledge and awareness is going to help move you quicker to corporate growth.
2. Focus and Re-Focus on your direction AND your strategy.
What is the direction for your company? What is your strategy? Remember direction and strategic planning are not the same. They complement each other but are different. An effective planning process serves as a good reality-check on direction-setting activities, and an effective direction-setting process provides clarity and focus to planning activities.
3. Get your content act together.
At the end of last month, Robert Scoble, myself and a few others were talking about the Facebook news feed conundrum. There are two positions to take in this situation. (1) You are complaining that Facebook’s tweaks to the news feed are screwing up your ability to push great content out to your audience or (2) you realize and appreciate that Facebook is challenging you to enhance the customer experience on your page so you are constantly taking your audience’s pulse (easy to do with Facebook’s free Insights), listening and engaging with them, and providing content to your audience they engage with and share. And, of course, you are ensuring they view this content either on Facebook, or other social channels, website, online community, email, or someplace else by integrating your distribution channels.
However, that doesn’t work for some startups as they want to broadcast themselves, still throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. Robert keeps an amazing list of startups and he said that most startups don’t “get” content.
As a start up, it is up to you to make the prospect/customer experience the best you can make it, which is the reason people buy from you in the first place.
How do you create an awesome customer experience, you ask? It isn’t easy. It takes an investment and mindset change on your part to be constantly customer-focused. That doesn’t mean focusing on getting the customer’s business, that means focusing on getting the customer – using your empathy muscle to listen and determine their pains, motivators and needs.
My five-pronged approach for start-ups and any business that wants to achieve growth is:
LISTEN – ENGAGE – HELP – CHECK-IN – BROADCAST
Practice social listening. Listen to what people are saying.
Engage. Find out more. Network. Ask questions. Make comments.
Help. Help them do their job by providing them with tools (your content) to help them. Through listening, engaging and viewing insights and other analytics, you’ll figure out their pains, needs and wants. Provide them with the content they want. Provide thought leadership content first, and as you help them along their buyer journey, provide them with more specialized content to help them be informed.
Always check-in. ABT. Always be testing. To ensure you deliver what they want, take their temperature to find out what you are delivering is what they want.
Broadcast last. The ask is always last. Gauge when is the right time to promote yourself and your product.
If you’re not exactly sure what to do, check out Content Marketing Institute’s stable of inspiring articles, tools, templates, research papers, and resources to help you.
4. Don’t go it alone.
It’s really important as a founder to have a co-founder or a partner, someone to bounce ideas off of, share risk, share rewards, and the like. In fact, some VC’s will not invest in single founder companies.
This same methodology applies to your marketing, PR, social media and other brand building activities. Building the start-up brand is hard and to be able to differentiate yourself, you need the help of professionals. This is an investment. If you want to achieve growth, you must invest in your brand.
5. Make customer centricity your mantra.
The most important thing for your startup is for you to become a customer-centric business. Everything begins and ends with the customer experience. If you can move in the direction where all your operations and communications integrate together to produce and keep producing a stellar experience, then you have won.
This list of wins for startups will help you on your way to growth for 2015.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.