In Part One of our three-part series, we learnt from successful entrepreneurs about:
- Surrounding yourself with the right people
- Ensuring your product is fit for market
- Speaking to and valuing customers (especially your first ones).
Make sure to check out these tips if you missed them. Otherwise, let’s see what tips our start-up founders have for us this time around.
#4. Pick your niche. Then stick to it (at least at first).
When it comes to business, you’ll likely find a wider net catches fewer fish. By narrowing down your target market, you’ll be able to guide your brand, marketing and even product development to perfectly suit those specific people.
Nicole Sidoti from Popdot is a big advocate of picking a niche, particularly when starting out.
“Being too broad confuses both your potential clients and you as the business founder,” she warns.
“It’s easier to develop a product when you’re targeting a specific customer need, and you can always hone your processes in the niche and then expand out as the business grows.”
“Keep it simple, then replicate what works.” – Nicole Sidoti, Popdot
Dorry Kordahi, managing director and co-founder of DKM Blue, agrees that it’s not enough to simply enter an industry. He recommends developing a firm understanding of the industry, including getting some firsthand experience of it.
“Just because you can make toast and coffee, it doesn’t mean you can run a successful café,” he says
“Once I had someone on my team, it really helped to have that other person to bounce ideas off, as well as help with delivery of the work.”
“I’d also say it’s important to make sure this person is really good at things that aren’t your particular strengths.”
#5. Automate wherever possible.
Another of Nicole’s best pieces of advice for young entrepreneurs is to look for any opportunities to automate.
“You have to wear a lot of hats when you run your own business, so get your systems automated,” she suggests.
“Take as many repetitive tasks out of your day as possible and build your systems to accommodate these over time.”
Automation can hugely reduce your daily time spent on lead gen, but it can also extend into things like email response templates for FAQs and having a streamlined CRM workflow. The more day-to-day jobs you can automate, the more time you’ll free up to work on strategy and ideation.
#6. Consistency is key for your marketing and brand.
Here’s one more quick tip from Nicole based on seeing countless start-ups get it wrong. Sorting out your brand image and messaging is one thing, but it’s another thing to stick to it.
“If you look and sound different every time a potential customer sees you, they won’t remember who you are and you’ll get lost in the void,” Nicole notes.
“Once you’ve got your style, be consistent in its use. That’s how you build a brand that people remember.”
A style guide takes some time and effort to put together, but it’ll prove valuable for keeping your brand consistent in all its marketing and communications.
#7. Don’t wait for capital to launch.
Are you putting off your start-up because you haven’t got funding for it yet? It might be time to stop procrastinating and start prototyping.
If Naomi Korolew had waited for capital, she might have missed her chance to disrupt the wedding industry with The Pop Up Wedding Collective. But after running just a couple of pop-up weddings per year while refining the company’s offering and establishing a strong reputation, she was able to rebrand and expand the business with a hugely successful marketing and PR campaign.
“You don’t have to have the capital for a huge launch,” Naomi reveals.
“You can launch softly, refine your offer, establish your reputation and build your marketing collateral, and then self-fund a strategic launch, knowing it will be well received.”
Money isn’t the only thing that leaves entrepreneurs stranded in limbo, either. Chris Kaiser, founder of Click A Tree, believes perfectionism forces some start-up founders to delay their launches.
“Don’t try to make it perfect – it will never be,” he says.
“Build an MVP (can be as little as a website) and launch – then collect real-life feedback from actual clients and continue from there.”
“Don’t get stuck in perfectionism.” – Chris Kaiser, Click A Tree
In the final part of our entrepreneurial advice series, we look at:
- Spending time on yourself
- Faking it until you make it
- Challenging the status quo
- Being prepared for the bad times and the good.
We hope these entrepreneur tips from successful start-up founders have inspired you on your own journey. If you need some help with the financial aspects of launching your own business, check out our Commercial Loans, overdrafts and Everyday Business Account .