5 Proven Tips for Startup Success from a Business Incubator
Business incubators are tailored to speed up the growth and success of an early stage company. Incubators are a good way to start the path to capital investments from state governments, angel investors, and other investors. In the USA, the National Business Incubation Associate has more than 1,300 members, and they all vary depending on the strategies they use. Some have a physical location, providing startups with space to network and interact with other businesses and business coaches.
Even though incubators vary in strategy, they are all geared to taking new businesses to the next level. Here are five tips from business incubators that are integral to any new, successful business.
Spending a lot of money and effort branding your company before checking if your product fits the market is an unwise step. However, once a product is honed in an incubator, and it fits the market, it is important to lay down a branding direction that aligns with the business strategy. Early stage companies should continuously pursue aligning the business with the market.
The way the brand looks and communicates should align with the target audience; don’t expect your brand to target all kinds of people, be focused on one target group. For a startup, forming a branding foundation should have well-executed design elements, colour palettes, logos, font choices, collateral design and website layout. All these elements should be tied together with the aim of delivering a good experience to the target customer.
There are three ways in which a startup can stay focused and organised and avoid projecting failure.
Plan for mandatory daily meetings
Each morning, your team should meet for a short period (approximately 15 minutes), where each member writes down their daily tasks and shares them with the team. After this step, the team should ask each other questions and edit any item on the tasks list.
Hold everyone accountable
A whiteboard is a good place to write down the tasks, and once someone completes a task, it is crossed off the list. This system enables the company to be efficient and accountable.
Identify long-term goals by using a product roadmap
A company needs a goal, called a mission, to align the whole company with what is important. It is easier to plan the priorities once the essentials are spotted. Focusing on the mission and removing distractions builds long-term companies.
3. How to plan a campaign to outdo your competition
The last few years have seen the emergence of thousands of startups. The number of startups keeps mounting and making competition more difficult, new companies have a hard time differentiating themselves from each other. To stand out from the competition, you need to build your brand on a step by step basis. Standing out is the hardest challenge for most new companies, whether they are competing against other new companies or the big giants in the field. To make your new company different, here are a few tips you should consider investing your efforts in.
Create an online presence
You should consider building an online reputation from the start. A strong online presence helps in spreading the word about your brand. Update your followers on the progress of your product on a frequent basis, this will set you apart from the rest of the competition
Excellent customer support
How you treat your customers can be your most differentiating factor. Train your team well so that your customers can talk to representatives who are well informed about your product or service.
Have a Unique Selling Point (USP)
Ensure that your customers know your USP. Explain what your brand is here to solve and why you are the best provider of the solution. Learn how your customers operate and come up with ways you can enrich their experience on the product/service you are offering.
Offer your products with honesty
It is said that honesty is the best policy, ensure that you maintain this policy in your business. If you cannot deliver something on time, ensure you update the customer in advance. If you lie to your customers, it can cost you a lot.
Use the right influencers for your product.
Look for the right brand influencer to promote your product/service before you launch it. They will ensure that your product/service reaches your target audience. Influencers who have a large following and the right attitude can help you get the right ROI you are targeting.
4. Risks and rewards
Risk is standard for new companies. The secret to assessing the risk can be categorised into three points.
- Identify the main risks in your business (expectations of low sales, unexpected costs, lack of distribution e.t.c.)
- The potential for the risk occurring.
- The result of the risk happening.
The third point is the most important. For new businesses that don’t have capital, a small event can cause a disastrous end to your business. The entrepreneur has to identify the impact a risk has on the business, while still assessing the upside if things go as expected. A calculated risk can be summarised as, “a thoughtful consideration of the risk in which the potential costs and benefits are weighed.”
As a business, if you say you are going to deliver something on this date, do it. If you say, you are going to have a meeting on this date, plan and make it happen. If a new product or process is initiated, follow it through. Consistency is very crucial if you want to build a strong business. Below are a few points that make it important for a business to stay consistent.
- It allows for the measurement of the plan.
- It creates accountability on the goals and deliverables of the company.
- It creates a reputation for your company’s ability to deliver on its word.
- It also makes your business relevant.
A business incubator helps your business to plan for all these tips we have looked at. The most important part of the incubator experience is that you enjoy and learn in the process of building a solid business. A business incubator is your partner in the initial stages of company development. And like any great partner, you need to have someone you trust in this process.