3 pillars shared by successful startups. Your secret sauce to get off to a great start
The truth is I had no intention to write about how to launch a successful start-up, as I thought it would be a quite pretentious and ambitious task. But a few weeks ago, my wife and I sat down and started to chat about her business idea (a lifestyle blog for millennial moms) and what she needed to consider before launching it. She is, like many others, a big picture person – she knows what her goal is, but mapping out the journey is a different story. As she was going over her idea, my inner self couldn’t stop but think this was the craziest thing I’ve heard from her in a while.
And it took me a few minutes hours to stop freaking out. But before I knew it, we polished her idea and started to work on it. And that’s when I realized that I could share some tips and advice I gave her, to entrepreneurs out there. And well, if this could help even one of them, I would be worth it then. So let’s jump into it.
Create a business with humans in mind, not profit
Matt Mochary is a CEO Coach to companies, especially tech companies, and after mentoring many CEOs, he drew a simple conclusion. While there are many ways to create a company, there’s only a good one. And it’s to truly understand your customers. Once you deeply understand your customers, you get a clear idea of what problems or pain points they have. And your goal as a business is to solve these problems.
In fact, this approach doesn’t necessarily end after your launching phase. Putting customers at the heart of their business is what makes the most successful organizations what they are. This is called a customer-centric culture and it comes with developing empathy to customers. To add on to this, with many businesses operating online, with no face-to-face interaction with their customers, it has never been so easy to lose sight of the most important thing to businesses. They deal with human beings. Not with data, not with profiles, not with accounts. But with complex and yet simple human beings made of problems, emotions, ready to listen – and ignore.
Marketing starts way before
your business launch
Most entrepreneurs and businesses would argue that investing in marketing before even having a product to sell or a company ready to be launched makes absolutely no sense. And they may be right, to some extent. But the point here is that by understanding your customers and being customer-centric, your end-goal is to solve for the customer. And by achieving this, you get a chance to influence the demand.
Today, the power is in customer’s hands, in other words, they’re the demand and have access to infinite options. To achieve rapid growth, startups understand that they need to have a great product/service, offer a good customer experience, and have a strong brand. These three components together create a memorable and positive experience with their brand, influencing customers when they’re ready to buy.
Develop a product your customers would like love
What is the single worst pet-peeve of all entrepreneurs? The answer is pretty simple: putting blood, sweat, and tears (in other words: time, effort, and money) into a product that doesn’t fit a market. Let me use the food industry as an example. Vegan restaurants are growing insanely fast now, that I feel like every time I wander around Queen West Toronto, so basically every day, I stumble across a new vegan restaurant. And if the supply is that high, this only means the demand is at least as high. But what if now a restaurateur chooses to open one of them in my hometown, a small town 40km away from Paris, France, where the demographic doesn’t have a strong appetite for this type of cuisine? Complete bust indeed.
So the point here is startups and entrepreneurs want to create a product that customers perceive with so much value that they will not only want to buy it but also recommend it. The latter is even more important. If your product can turn your customers into advocates, you’ll be on track to achieve sustainable growth.