It's a new decade, new year. There must be new ideas for new ways to do things. As many get convinced and excited about their new ideas, they form their new companies, often without a plan or a roadmap.
Importance of a Road Map for the Startup
A business should never be started without a destination or exit strategy. A roadmap could lead you to the goal. This roadmap defines company objectives, policies, values, expected direction of growth in the form of chart, strengths, weaknesses, threats, and prospective opportunities. This roadmap can be used as a guideline for investors and customers as well. The road map gives a base for formulating policies and strategies for product marketing and launching. It helps in analyzing and reviewing future threats and the current situation of the market.
Roadmaps help in setting goals and assist in implementing the rules and policies with efficiency. The roadmap should be timely reviewed by the founders and directors of the startup and can be altered if needed. Roadmaps should also define in detail the role of every department in the startup and expected growth of that department to help human resources in the future manage their expectations.
The road map of the startup consists of short term and long term goals and timelines set by the founders. Other details such as how the resources are allocated, what are the sources of the capital, contingency plans, how to penetrate the market, and compete with the competitors are also defined in the road map. It could also help you figure out your burn rate to ensure your startup doesn't run out of money anytime soon.
How to Develop a Roadmap
A step by step guide is discussed below that will help in developing a practical roadmap for the startup.
Identify the Problems
The first most important step while developing a roadmap for the startup is to identify the existing problems prevailing in the market. Because once these problems are identified, it gives you a big picture of the overall market, and it will be easier to formulate strategies to avoid such problems while entering into the market.
Target the Audience
Formulating effective marketing strategies and targeting a specific group of audience according to the nature of the product is the second important step. It can be done by delivering high-quality content that appeals to the target audience about the product and the startup.
Professionals from different fields such as finance, law, IT, etc. should be hired so that they can take care of the matters related to their fields. Because one single person cannot be an expert in all fields at the same time.
Define Mission, Vision, and Strategy
Define the startup’s mission vision and business plan in detail in the roadmap. This will serve as a ground for building up future business plans and strategies. These statements can be reviewed and altered from time to time, as and when needed.
The roadmap provides a line of action for the startups. Therefore, it is always important to create a roadmap before starting the business and entering into the market. It will always help in making better choices and decisions by the founders. It will always guide the audience to understand the aims and objectives of the project.
A huge amount of people, no matter young or old, are joining the startup community. However, it doesn't matter the age; we all have different experiences that could help each other.
For those who are new to the startup world, it could be difficult to navigate. One does not need to reinvent the wheel or to navigate a system that has been crossed by others already. Here are some other reasons why do you need to get help and advice for your startup.
Preparation to Confront the World
In today's day and age, there is an entire crowd of youngsters who have such innovative and creative ideas that one is unable to understand the failure of their startup. The biggest reason why many startups face a downhill is that they are being led by young men and women who are not aware of what the outside world has to offer them. They enter the world with a fresh mind that yet has to learn the ways of the world. Having a mentor prepares them with what is ready to tackle them down. Having a controlled and refined vision helps in making a startup successful.
Oftentimes, one cannot assess oneself clearly. The decisions you make may be wrong, and you may not realize that until someone tells you. A mentor can tell you about your mistakes. If you lose the right track, a mentor can hold your hand and take you back on it by guiding you. However, one needs to be humble to take criticism from others.
When it comes to financing, it can be challenging to start a business with huge amounts of profits from day one. One has to invest a tremendous amount of money for the business to reach a place where one can call it stable. Mentors do not only help with advice but also financing a company that can grow in the future. This not only builds a relationship of trust but boosts one's confidence, which is needed to run a newly formed business.
As a business starts running, it cannot lead on with the same idea with which it started. In order to stay competitive, the entrepreneur should be aware of different ways to keep the customers loyal and develop a strong name in the market. The mentor is not there so that you can get your business into running but also for how one should be recruiting new employees to the organization.
When you start a business, you invest your own money and time. In order to be successful and not have your time and money wasted, you need to have guidance. Experienced people know business strategies that can help you earn more than you invested. Only a skilled person can tell you this.
Awareness of Future Hazards
A novice will not have the same knowledge as an expert. A person with experience will have learned from downfalls and mistakes. He can guide a newbie what mistake not to make and how to remain wary of possible dangers. An early warning can save you from a disaster.
There are countless reasons as to why a mentor is needed, and to be formal, it might not even be the most formal mentorship process. In a coworking space, there are lots of people who have already had startup experience. To save your time and money, it would be the best idea to find your next mentor or just someone to bounce ideas with at a coworking space! Take a tour today.
Brand differentiation is a way for a business to be recognized in their field. A company could easily stand out at the top because of its unique and differentiated products, as well as its value proposition. However, another company could be playing on cost rather than implementing product differentiation. Managing your cost is important, but it doesn't promise you consistent growth if you are in a perfect competition market. This is because sooner or later, there will be a competitor that would offer a price lower to yours. Cost and product differentiation are both important in any industry. You must try to experiment with your products to ensure you provide the most unique and cheapest products in the industry.
Why Is There A Need For This?
The world is changing at a fast pace, and consumers are continually looking for unique products for their lifestyle. The first thing a company should look out for is its consumer. You have to satisfy your consumer or else your products won't be around the market for a while. You should work on how to better serve your customers rather than squeezing every nickel and dime for yourself. However, companies are reluctant to bring in change, especially the older ones and they are too used to the way they do things. Customers would rate those older companies as an innovation-less company. They would not buy your products for the future and this would defame your company.
You Lose Customer Following:
In the worst scenarios, the company might lose its followers. This is a dark phase for the company. As this time era is all about your reach, losing following pushes you in the back of the line. If you are planning to bring in changes in product for the future, you would have a negligible audience to promote that change. As the customers would still consider you with zero innovation, this can damage your current and future growth.
Less Differentiated Products Are Prone To Be Replicated:
Do you really want to be basic? Of course, we all believe in the comfort of being basic, but you and your company must get out of the comfort zone to grow. That might mean stop being basic! Being a basic company with basic products means competitors that easily can replicate your products. Because you are not habitual of bringing in frequent changes to your products, they are easily copied. Competitors can replicate the parts of your product and can find them at lower prices. As they would be paying lesser than you, this would cause them to have a lower cost price. Since you aren't backing your higher rates than them with innovative products, people won't buy from you. You lose your market share and profit just by practicing the routine items for several years.
Experiments Lead To Innovations:
This phrase is very true when you are experimenting with your products. A planned experiment would help you to identify what changes you can bring to your product as well as how to potentially lower your price to stay competitive. This would add distinguishing features for your product. No matter how small these features might seem, they are for sure noticed by customers and considered whenever they make a purchase. Even if you don't end up getting an innovated product, there would be learning for your next try. You can put these learnings in your next experiment and end up getting an even better product than this. So, you must never stop experimenting even if you fail, as this would at least help your learning.
Alibaba is a unicorn in many ways. The founder, Jack Ma, had always looked like an underdog. From rejection from a hotel manager position to Harvard University, he had faced rejections almost all his life. Yet, his company became an eCommerce giant. From the latest Softbank presentation, it looks like Beyonce of Destiny's Child, Alibaba alone was holding the whole portfolio up.
This e-commerce platform has gained the attention of millions of people across the globe. There are non-stop transactions taking place through this platform daily.
Jack Ma's philosophies
Jack Ma was an ordinary man, an English teacher by profession, before being known as a business tycoon. Throughout his life, even after rejections, he made sure not to lose his optimism and built an internet giant.
He was hopeful when he first heard about the internet during a visit to the United States in the 90s. With the help of 17 friends in his apartment, he established a digital marketplace that connected Chinese customers with manufacturers after raising $5million. He immediately saw growth and opportunity from his websites alibaba.com and 1688.com
Then in 2000, Jack Ma took $20 million from Softbank, which turned into a $60 billion by September 2014 when Alibaba IPOed.
This investment had helped Alibaba launch and improve many of his products, including Taobao. In 2005, when Jerry Yang from Yahoo tried launching a site similar to eBay in China, he found it defeated by Taobao. So Yahoo decided to invest $1billion to help the growth of Alibaba.
What strategies did Jack Ma follow?
Jack Ma is known as a long term thinker. He is willing to sacrifice any short term losses over long term gains. Jack Ma also believes that one can only achieve greatness if they are passionate about their dreams. He said many times that businesses that don't have a proper mission or dream, usually tend to fail. Dream and mission are the things that could drive long term thinking.
There are plenty of strategies that Jack Ma follows to ensure that his company reached high levels of growth.
The most important factor that helps in growing a company, according to Jack Ma, is to not focus on hiring top executives. The growth of Alibaba lies mainly in the hands of Jack Ma and his 17 friends that helped him throughout his career in the Alibaba group. He believes in effective communication and teamwork enabled their growth and productivity.
Another factor Jack Ma emphasizes is making sure to keep an optimistic mindset. He has been a problem-solver his entire life. After failing multiple times initially, he diversified his business to the eCommerce sector. He's taken every opportunity and made the best out of it by keeping a positive outlook.
Jack Ma is one of the most famous examples of a self-made man. From earning $12 a month, he established a company that is valued at $480billion and growing. He recently retired as the CEO of Alibaba after setting an example of how to be the most efficient person ever.
Every type of business needs a leader whose thought process must be followed. These leaders can be either pragmatic or idealistic. You can choose which approach you want to follow. Idealistic approaches could be great but at the end of the day, one could be burned out from being too idealistic. Typically, in businesses, the pragmatic approach seems more effective as opposed to the idealistic approach. There are times to be idealistic, but day to day business operations requires a more pragmatic approach.
Pragmatism refers to being able to derive results using practical and logical actions. The main focus of this ideology is to get to the result and answer questions regarding how to get certain things done. There are certain ways how you can practice pragmatism for your business and how it’s beneficial for you.
How can you be pragmatic for your business?
Advantages of practicing pragmatism for your business
Many people believe that pragmatism is not an effective approach to take on when conducting business. They might be right because a pragmatic approach is a system. It is a system to get things done while your idealism is used as motivation to get you there.
In this fast-paced world, we need to solve our problems quickly so we could move on. If there is one thing that could help us to solve our problems quickly and thrive is great customer service. Many businesses invest in other things to attract buyers when the real investment is having a customer service that compels buyers to remain loyal to your brand. After all, your business should be there to solve a problem for your customers.
Instead, businesses seem to be in a constant rat-race, overlooking customer satisfaction and trying to bring new customers to buy their products when really their focus should be retaining the ones they have. Here’s why customer service should not be given the backseat and why it still matters:
Customers Will Come Back
Customers tend to come back when they are satisfied with their purchases and their complaints are heard. Great customer service will lead to a relationship of trust between the seller and the buyer and so loyalty of customers can be easily won over by satisfying a customer. A company with good customer service compels people to continue investing in their brand which is also less expensive than trying to acquire new customers each time.
Higher Quality of Product
When customers trust a brand, they are likely to become a recurring customer allowing you to put their money for product development. Companies usually emerge with newer products when their roots have become strong and they have many loyal customers. When this happens, customers tend to buy from these brands even if they become pricier because they become convinced that these brands will always deliver the best without disappointing and fix anything that is less satisfactory.
As a Medium of Communication
Customer service is usually the only medium of communication between the buyers and the sellers and therefore often a customer’s opinion and judgment are formed by the customer service provided by a company or brand. When customers know they have an avenue where they can voice their complaints and they will be heard, they feel more secure and so have a positive perception about a company.
Customers Will Unconsciously Advertise
When customers are happy with a brand and feel comfortable voicing their queries and complaints, they tend to refer other people to brands with better customer service as well, unconsciously or consciously promoting the said brand and bringing more customers to buy from them and hence widening the business and prompting more people to purchase from those brands.
Minimizes Chances Of Business Failure
When businesses fail, one of the largest contributing factors is poor customer service. Customers stop buying from and coming back to brands when they are responded to very late when their requests and suggestions are disregarded or their problems are left unanswered. On the other hand, good customer service will leave the customers happy and therefore chances of complete failure will be close to none.
Hence, customer service is a vital part and determines largely the success of a business as it helps retain customers, creates a good impression of a brand and maximizes success. Moreover, it urges customers to be loyal and is the backbone of most businesses.
Open communication is key in every team no matter what type of organization you are running. Having bad communication in your team could be more than disastrous.
What is open communication?
Open communication is when everyone on the team has access to information happening at the company.
How does it help with the company culture?
This could establish trust among everyone on the team as there is open access to everyone in the same. It also establishes a sense of belonging and motivation for the team.
Every team should have an open communication flow that entails sharing:
The concept behind open communication is simply to enable the members of your team to freely speak and provide suggestions in areas that the leader may be wrong as a feedback system. However, there are diverse ways to effectively promote open communication.
While the majority of it comes down to nothing else but behavior, it is still shocking to know that some leaders unintentionally act in ways that go against any form of open communication.
Nonetheless, open communication can be encouraged by:
Most leaders have this open-door policy yet, there is a huge difference between people walking inside such an office and having an open door. The fact is that there are little signs that show that you are paying close attention.
Whenever a person in your team has any suggestions, you should try to accept it in areas where it is needed. This creates a feedback system that is needed so we are not operating in a fantasy land that only exists in our fantasies. This is why every team needs a realist.
Although it is crazy to make use of every idea that your team brings forward, showing your team the part of you that is willing to transform your approach based on their ideas is a strong reinforcement of free and open communication.
Also, should someone come up with a suggestion that you know will not work out, do not shut them down but explain politely why it might not work out.
If a person in your team has a great concept and it is fully implemented successfully, you should give them their credit publicly. This will allow them to have more passion for their work and even bring more ground-breaking ideas.
To Wrap It Up
Communication within team members cannot be overemphasized. You can always encourage your team members to be open when you easily accept their feedback. You do not just have to accept it, you should also act on it where necessary.
Being the leader of a company that has so many potentials of growing and doing your best to stay in the path of this growth, you get to face some kinds of anxieties that hang under the surface of your daily tasks
You probably are already treading the water regularly and you do not have the mental energy to deal with another thing, but one thing you need to consider is where do you want your company to work from? After all, unless you already have robots running your company, your company is built by humans, but even West World robots need a place to be based out of, so maybe your team of robots and humans need an office. However, having an office lease is a big commitment.
Bear in mind that, any bad office lease decision will waste no time in killing the dreams you have of your startup before killing the startup in real-time.
Although, when you need the space, it seemed like a wonderful idea it is likely not beneficial to your company over time.
Tips To Avoiding Office Lease Issues
In a bid to avoid all of these office lease issues, there are tips to take along with you for you to keep your startup dream alive. These tips include:
Always have an idea of what your next move will be even though it will happen either in some years to come or even months. Especially in San Francisco where permits process takes an unusually long amount of time. Plan plan plan!
The fact is that a good broker will work with you in a bid to be aware of your priorities when seeking out an office space and also understand your business plus its space needs.
Moreover, the ideal broker will have an idea of the buildings available in your area and have a good relationship with some of the owners plus an insight into the exact time that space will be vacant.
All of this will make things easier and less of a hassle for your business at the main time.
Too much space or even a space that is little can turn out to be a killer mistake. This happens most especially when you have not negotiated the ideal terms on the office space lease.
Also, you should embark on learning about what is known as a target amount of people to hire and try applying it to your educated guess.
This is because you could land on the hook for thousands of dollars worth of repairs or maintenance should anything go wrong in the space you occupy. A good broker will help you avoid such trap terms as well.
To Wrap It Up
As mentioned earlier, an office lease can contribute to killing your startup before you even think of making necessary expansions. The amount of liability is huge with a traditional office space. A useful tip to consider is to consider some of the shortest lease terms deals possible. Or you can try coworking! Whether if you are a solo founder who just needs a desk or a small startup seeking a private office, or a corporation needing a satellite space, we might just be the perfect choice for you.
Choosing Treehouse Society means that you can save time thinking about office space for your team and focus on what you do best. Take a tour today!
Content marketing goes further than being just a buzzword. It is a very important part of a highly successful marketing strategy.
The buyers we have today usually demand not just creative but also compelling content from companies and brands that they like.
This is where content marketing comes up as it is capable of filling this need through the creation of highly effective content. It goes further to optimize its distribution all across a vast range of customer reach and channels.
At a point in time, content marketing was only used as a way to set your brand apart from the usual competitors but now, it is necessary for any brand.
Note that, content marketing is being placed at the heart of some of the most successful virtual marketing campaigns.
While you may be wondering if your company needs this, we are here to let you know exactly why you do.
Your company or business need content marketing because:
When you build trust, it can aid your business in establishing a brand reputation that screams positivity.
The fact is that content marketing aids in creating and optimizing the ideal kinds of content, it amplified your business’ presence online among the audience segments.
Also, content marketing is a great vehicle when you need to grow the thought leadership agenda of your business and to position your brand like nothing else but an industry leader.
Nevertheless, lots of brands have a hard time struggling to gain a powerful foothold in these social media channels. However, content marketing can assist your business in creating very relevant and highly compelling content that is not only good enough for social sharing, it is also good for the advocacy of your brand.
To Wrap It Up
Some of the best content marketing firms have a deep understanding of the diverse roles that different types of content play at certain stages of their sales cycle. For example, Jotform has one of the best content strategies out there. Their content feels down to earth and relatable to their customers.
If the needs of buyers are being aligned with content at every stage of the journey, content marketing makes it much easier for them to easily navigate the road from potential to happily satisfied consumer.
The golden year is also known as the bonus years and these are that comes after your retirement. As soon as people reach the age of 65, some may become confused as to whether to start a business or just rest forever. Well, maybe it is called the golden year for a reason. It could be a golden opportunity for you to start a business.
Considering that your golden years are here, you now need to seize the opportunity and start your own business. You might think that you are too old for it since you are already retiring from your regular job but that is the perfect timing to start another life. Especially if you did not have had an opportunity to do things that you love during your sunshine years.
Here are a few reasons why:
Life span is longer than ever
The retirement age of 65 is not an accurate age to retire as the human life span is now longer than ever. Some people might not die until 100. What are you going to do for the rest of the free time if you don't start a passion project?
Starting a business is a source of satisfaction
Starting a business of your own during your golden years and especially after your retirement is very crucial as it is the basis in which you can accrue a certain level of satisfaction. It is very crucial therefore to start a business to get satisfied.
It is a source of implementing your hobbies and earning from it
Did you know that you can convert your hobbies into a business? Yes, that is very possible. For example, you might have been a huge fan of soccer and other games and as soon as you retire and enter your golden years, that will give you an opportunity where you can create things related to your hobby.
Business during the golden years is a source of extra income
Pensions are now a thing of the past. What is going to happen to your bank account when you retire? You might need to spend those golden years running a business that you started with the aim of earning something extra. Life is expensive during golden years and this calls for the need to have a business that will be a source of income crucial for supplementing your retirement funds.
Starting a business is not only limited to young people. No matter what age you are, you could always start a business. What are you starting in your golden year?