In a world of fast change it is no surprise how many start-ups there are but how many survive? Research suggests that over 70% fail in the first twelve months.
But why do they fail? Nearly all fail due to cashflow. It is a simple reason; more cash out than in means the start of the inevitable spiral to business failure. The reason? There are numerous, but ultimately it comes down to only one reason; there are not enough customers who want to buy your product or service at a given price.
If you don’t have enough customers, then start by simply asking why? Some questions to consider are:
• Is the product or service right?
• Does it satisfy a need?
• Is it priced correctly in the market?
• Do the customers know it exists?
• Is someone else doing it better than you?
Whether you realise it or not, these are the first steps towards market research and gaining an understanding of your market. But even if you do understand your market, then you need to ensure that you deliver what your customers want. In the world of start ups, it is often easier to take the last question and reverse it – ensuring that you do things better than everyone else.
One method to achieve this is to ‘Act Big, Act Small’. You should be as professional as the larger competitors, which means delivering what you say you can deliver, when you said you could deliver it by. Return emails and phone calls promptly and act upon requests. Ensure that you have a set of core values and act in accordance with them at all times. This gives customers the knowledge that you will act not according to a rulebook but in the right way. You will start to think on behalf of your customers and create a sense of trust that influences how customers are treated.
At the same time, you need to act small for your customers and purposely deliver a personalised service. Act and be creative, provide a flexible and spontaneous service to focus your effort on building long-term relationships.
In short, have a thin rulebook but strong values.