A few years ago, all it took to succeed as a startup was a good idea, some funding and some hard work. Unfortunately, as the market has become flushed with more entrepreneurs that ever before, it's becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd and truly become the next “big thing,” or even the best Startup of the Year.
If you're looking for ways to give your company a better chance at achieving success, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Implement New Technology
You're probably already using Square to process your payments, or using Uber Eats to order lunch for the office. But to really make your startup stand out from the crowd, look beyond these trends and catch on to the next big thing before it becomes the norm.
Depending on your industry, it might be providing your workers with wearables for better inventory tracking and hands-free data access, or it might be seeing what types of drones might work best to help take your work to literal new heights. No matter what you choose, you're sure to wow not just your workers and clients, but your competition as well.
Utilize a Coworking Space
If your company is in its infancy, it might be hard to decide on the best place to run your business, especially if you have just a few employees. You may want to put off signing a lease on an office and purchasing all the corresponding equipment, but you also want to work somewhere other than your living room.
This is where co-working spaces come in. These spaces provide all the amenities that a thriving business needs, from internet access and printers, to fax machines and even coffee. This takes the stress off of you and allows you to focus on building out your business. As a plus, the generally open-plan layout of these spaces allows for plenty of networking and collaborations.
Invest in Customer Service
These days, startups are often using an automated service or outsourcing to handle basic customer service requests. However, this can be frustrating for customers and clients who are fed up with having to navigate complicated menus with chat bots to fulfill a simple request, or poor phone quality from overseas calls.
Although it might be pricier at the beginning to either hire a customer service specialist or delegate these tasks to otherwise busy team members, customers will likely rave about your customer service, giving you great word-of-mouth advertising that will only increase future business.
Utilize Your Blog
Most websites these days have a blog, but fewer update it regularly or fully utilize it as the serious resource it can be. But a blog can provide value well beyond the investment that you put into it. If your company is hyper-focused on a small portion of your field that most are ignoring, build it up as an informational resource that will associate your name with the industry.
Have you been receiving a lot of press for your co-founder's charitable accomplishments? Include those in a story round-up post to show your customers that you're multi-dimensional. If your employees are too busy or not confident in their writing skills, use a freelancing directory like Upwork to find talented writers who can complete articles as-needed and on your deadlines.
Increase Your Social Media Reach
Social media is king these days, with many companies paying Influencers hundreds or thousands of dollars to merely mention their product in an Instagram post or tweet. And similarly, companies that have savvy social media accounts can often gain a lot of traction by simply producing great, easily sharable content.
Is there a PokéStop near your office? Share a picture of the Eevee in your break room, or jump on Twitter's newest trending hashtag with a witty, industry-relevant response. However, be careful when using social media to try and attract attention for your startup. Too many memes or emoji overload can cause your brand to come across as desperate, out of touch, and perhaps worse of all, unprofessional, undoing all of your hard work at the push of a button.
No matter what type of startup you are creating or looking to build upon, the most important thing to know is that there is a world of resources out there for you to use. To stand out from the crowd and gain more attention than your direct competition, start implementing each of the recommended tips above.