Any person who has ever attempted to start and run a business should be regarded as an athlete. Entrepreneurs, like athletes, operate on adrenaline and stamina, strive to be agile in the face of failure, and constantly sharpen their skills as they push through any obstacle.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that starting a business is similar to dedicating your life to becoming the best at a sport. The business world has no Olympics, but it applies the same notion, where only the best of the best are recognized, and the rest are to try their luck next time—if they can afford to.
This becomes even tougher with the digital world that we live in today. With vast and easy access to practically any information over the internet, having a steady presence online can be a strong determining factor for your company’s success. Whether you like it or not, getting ahead and gaining success is not possible without digital assets that put you on the map.
The world of startups is the survival of the fittest, with only ten percent of them succeeding. The numbers don’t lie—a few mistakes and the inability to overcome challenges early on will result in the swift demise of your budding business.
As an entrepreneur, you probably already understand that the stakes are high and the odds stacked against you. Although there’s no changing this hard and bleak truth, it doesn’t mean that you’re already setting yourself up for failure.
They say that no problem can stop a passionate entrepreneur. Is this true for you? Well, to grow your business amidst this harsh reality, you’re going to need more than passion. If you want your business to see through the next few years or decades, you must identify the biggest challenges you’ll face and figure out how to overcome them.
Here are some of the primary obstacles entrepreneurs face during the early stages of launching their startup:
Launching a startup already costs a lot of money, but running operations are more costly than the amount you’ve collected to start your company. Money is a big issue and is identified as one of the primary reasons why many startups fail.
Failing to get funding for your startup might result in a cash flow issue that can delay substantial progress. As a leader, you’re responsible for ensuring that your business doesn’t run out of money or time.
If you’re not remarkably lucky and the cash doesn’t flow in straight away, you can continue to fund your business operations with the help of an angel investor or investment crowdfunding campaign. Through communities like Beanie & Blazer, you may connect with people willing to invest in your business as well as other founders and experts to help you scale your venture.
Running a startup involves a lot of problem-solving. No matter how clever or intelligent you are, navigating through the fierce competition and finding answers to your questions can’t be done without a plan in mind.
You don’t just create a vague plan of what to do—it’s crucial to cover all bases, including sales, development, skills shortage, staffing, and funding. “Crossing the bridge when we get there,” may work in some situations, but basing your actions on this notion will run your business to the ground.
Although you can’t prepare for everything, knowing what to do during an unpredictable situation will prevent turbulence from significantly affecting your business. Make sure to have a mentor by your side to guide you and successfully execute your ideas, as they can help significantly with business planning, financial decisions, and forecasting necessary hires.
Most startups don’t have the luxury of taking on every potential customer acquisition strategy, but no matter how strapped for cash your company is, you must never neglect marketing or advertising altogether!
Marketing and advertising may seem superfluous in the early days, but they are critical functions for your business’s growth. The logistics of a startup are vital, of course. Still, your branding and advertising are what can differentiate you from the competition, add coherence and organization to the company mission, and establish your brand identity.
Investing your time and finances in marketing may still seem too risky. With all of the other components you have to spend on, many budding entrepreneurs don’t realize that marketing doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
You can create digital assets at a lower cost than you expect, market your brand to your target audience, and advertise your products or services to help your startup grow.
No matter how strapped for cash you think you are, you must always set aside a marketing and sales budget. For your business to succeed within and beyond the online world, this includes investing in creating and managing digital assets.
In the simplest terms, a digital asset is content that’s stored online. That could mean images, photos, videos, and other new formats (they’re constantly emerging) so your definition of what constitutes content should evolve too.
These assets have staying power that will help grow your business over time should you choose to invest in them. When combined with clever marketing tactics, your digital assets can influence your potential customers’ purchasing behavior while building brand awareness at the same time.
With your digital assets providing a visual representation of your products or services, your business will be able to connect and engage with your target audience through any channel or medium of your choice. Therefore, the focus should be on crafting a proper strategy and prioritizing content that provides something of worth to your target audience and builds trust with your brand.
The proliferation of digital assets has done a lot for businesses by providing a way to collect market data, build an audience, and generate a loyal customer base. The increasingly popular use of social media allows companies to interact more quickly and efficiently than ever before through channels such as Twitter or Facebook where they can engage directly with customers by answering questions about products on the spot or even taking orders directly online.
Every digital asset, from your advertising copy to blog posts, is crucial to establishing a solid brand identity.
We understand that developing robust marketing strategies on top of planning out expenses for team salaries, raw materials, and other ongoing costs seems daunting, but it is achievable even with a shoestring budget.
There are various inexpensive and highly effective ways to create digital assets and use them for marketing your business to consumers successfully.
- Design tools like Canva
- Agencies like Thumbstop Media
- Posting tools like HootSuite
Higher-budget marketing does bring more visibility and consistency in their eventual returns, but some low-cost marketing strategies can also help your startup grow and generate profit. Spending a fortune on marketing doesn’t guarantee success, and having a low marketing budget doesn’t mean setting yourself up for failure.
With the right tactics, you can bring unbelievable visibility and consistency to your business without having to go above your budget. Here are some ways you can market your business without breaking the bank.
This form of marketing is excellent for budding businesses because it requires very little investment and provides strong returns. With high quality, consistent publication, even the simplest approach can move the needle.
The best thing about content marketing is that you don’t have to stick to one content medium—content marketing takes many forms and has many approaches, so you’ll have several opportunities to market your business.
To set up content marketing that works for your business, keep this simple checklist in mind:
- The content educates leads and customers about your product and service.
- The content focuses on conversion.
- Build a long-term relationship to ensure frequent visitors to create loyalty.
- Prioritize problem-solving instead of selling.
To share your business with the world, we recommend adding a blog to your website. A regularly updated blog educates and entertains your audience while increasing your inbound traffic, boosting your site’s ranking in search results, and improving your brand reputation.
Some good examples of content that deliver great results in the long run are quarterly market reports, weekly blog posts, and video tutorials. These formats bring organic traffic to your page and build rapport with your audience. Measure these by keeping a check on web traffic increase, bounce rate (the lower the better), and keyword ranking.
Email marketing may be traditional, but it is still relevant and essential today. Sending targeted emails and having a steady stream of outgoing email blasts can lead to higher conversion rates. With a curated email list and a smart strategy, an email marketing campaign can produce leads and impact your ROI.
This type of approach is also a cost-effective way of marketing your business, as you won’t have to spend any money on ad space, print, or postage. Email marketing can outperform search, displace, and social marketing, bringing in $40 for every $1 spent! All you need is email marketing software and an email list.
Some popular email marketing software for small businesses are Sendinblue, Mailchimp, etc. that are pocket-friendly and manage your email chain efficiently. Just pay attention to these metrics for effective use of your email strategy:
- Conversion rate
- Number of unsubscribers
The lower the number of unsubscribes, the more impactful the email marketing technique is.
To nail email marketing, you must have an organic list of customers and send outgoing email blasts only to people who have shown interest in reading your content or purchasing your products or services. Once you’ve grown as a company, you can upgrade and expand your plan according to your budget.
With billions of people worldwide using smartphones to access the internet, social media platforms are a goldmine of opportunities. You don’t need to shell out a lot of money to gain traction on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter—packaging your content for social media consumption can widen your organic reach and bring more attention to your startup.
Facebook pages are free to create, so it’s best to start with that. Make sure to work with a skilled social media manager to determine the best content to publish to grow your social media profile. Once your revenue has grown substantially, you can opt to pay for Facebook Business, Facebook Ads, and other premium social media services.
The best part is that one social media post can be rehashed and used again after a certain amount of time. This, in fact, is a popular social strategy because the older the posts get, the more difficult it is for your audience to view them again. Therefore, with platforms like Instagram and Facebook, it is a popular trend to bring back old creatives and repost them.
Use these metrics to measure the success of your social media marketing:
- Brand Awareness: this is a vital metric that ensures your brand’s visibility and creates room for onboarding new clients.
- Post Reach: this validates how many people have seen your post since it went live.
- Engagement Rate: this is the ultimate metric that measures the true success of your social media content. It’s an important data point because higher engagement means your content is resonating with the audience.
- Click-Through-Rate: this determines how often people click on the call-to-action link in your post. It’s critical to bring in those value conversions that ultimately make potential customers.
Even if nine out of ten startups are doomed to fail, your organization still has a chance to become that one. With the wide variety of opportunities to market your products or services cost-effectively, you can make your startup seem like an excellent business to invest in. With careful planning, you can connect with the right founders, advisors, and crowdfunding or angel investors to help you succeed!
In just six weeks, Beanie & Blazer’s Test The Waters program can help you prepare and launch a trial investment crowdfunding campaign. We leverage the best practices from dozens of successful investment crowdfunding efforts and hundreds of investor discovery calls to help creators build investable companies.
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Beanie & Blazer does not provide investment advice and is not a registered investment advisor or broker-dealer. Investing in startups is risky, never invest more than you’re willing to lose.
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