It was lunch time and I was very hungry. I therefore decide to go to my favourite restaurant to have lunch. I ordered my favorite meal. However when it came it was not cooked the way I wanted. I ate because I was hungry. As usual the waitress came and asked how was your meal and I told her, well actually it wasn’t great, the waitress gives me a blank stare, shrugged their shoulders and walked away.
These are some of the experiences we go through as customers. I would imagine all restaurants train their staff to ask such questions with sincerity and be ready to remedy what is not right.
As a startup you may not be different from this restaurant. Of course many startups are doomed to fail and cannot grow because they never reach product or market fit. Many startups are under extreme resource constraints and need to figure out how to break through the noise to let their target customers know they have a superior solution for a critical problem. The solution lies in understanding what your customer likes.
If this restaurant was ready to remedy what went wrong and asked me how they can make my next experience better I would have gone back to the same restaurant over and over again, and I would be telling friends about it. As a startup you need to understand that your product or service may never be perfect. But if you go out of your way to understand what your customer did and didn’t like, and you take active steps to fix what went wrong, you will have repeat customers coming back to you for a very long time.
Big and well established organizations have resources to mount mega marketing campaigns. A startup can only wish they had such resources. Good marketing tends to take money, which is not in abundant supply for most new companies. But all is not lost; creativity and innovation will make you stand out from the noise. When you have limited resources, it encourages creativity. For instance be sure your team has the skills to create success. You can also partner with people who have the resources to help cover costs because it takes a while to be in a position where you can raise outside capital.
In the early stages of your business you need a team that can take your products to market, sell them and start generating revenue. Some of the ways to market your new outfit is through talking to people. Attending startup events like boot camps and local start up exhibitions and meetings are great ways to build relationships with people who could potentially become and advocate for your product or service. The catch here is that you need to have a properly refined pitch. Be sure to explain the benefits of your product, but be honest and make sure people understand the story behind your product.
Another good way to draw people to your startup is by generating useful content about the space your product or service operates in. Several newspapers and blogs will pick up your content and give you free publicity and this will then draw the much needed attention towards your company.
Finally staff your core group with people, who are passionate about the company, not employees out for the financial outcome. Startups have a lot of ups and downs. If everybody in your team is just looking for the paycheck, then they do not have the right perspective going into a startup, which can take years to become a success.