By Rob Young
Anyone faced with the daunting prospect of launching their own startup will inevitably come to a point where they feel swamped by an avalanche of information and advice. To avoid the suffocating effect this can have on you it doesn’t hurt from time to time to take a deep breath and remember that ultimately there are just two essential ingredients to every startup victory: people and products.
Your Product. What makes your product or service stand out from the crowd? It could be the quality, price, ease of use, or its aesthetical appeal – it doesn’t matter what the difference is, as long as it’s there and you can make it a reason for customers to buy your product rather than your competitors’.
Once you start thinking about the product from your customers’ point of view you’ll find yourself naturally thinking about other aspects of your startup from their perspective. For a start, who is your target customer? How and why will they buy what you’re selling? What is the best way to market it to them?
Of course, many entrepreneurs rightly say that it’s the ‘experience’ that matters rather than the product. But the experience is reliant on the product and everything you build around it. Thinking about the ‘experience’ you’re going to provide a customer can be too broad and can actually cause you to lose focus. The experience is a concept you can easily get tangled in; your product is something tangible you can work with.
The People. While our culture so often celebrates the individual, the truth is that a vast network of people is behind every great man or woman’s success. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates wouldn’t be the household names they are today if it weren’t for the key figures that filled in the gaps of their limitations and allowed them to capitalise on their strengths. But how do you find the people that enable you to fulfil your potential?
The internet and social media in particular has made it easier than ever to contact people that would otherwise have been out of reach, but as revolutionary as online networking has been to business there is still a wealth of opportunity in the real world that can’t afford to be missed.
Organized networking events provide an ideal environment for meeting people that could prove to be the missing link in your organisation, but so often it is a chance meeting that is the most fruitful. You never know who you might meet so you’ll always need to be ready to deliver your 30-second elevator pitch and a business card that will let you continue discussions at a more convenient time.
Be ruthless – you can have no time for those that hinder your progress. Similarly, when you find someone that can truly add value to your business and allow you to do things with your product that you couldn’t on your own, hold on as tightly as you can.
Don’t forget to add herbs and spices. Of course there’s a lot more to launching a successful startup and it’s good to have an overview of everything that’s going on. Nevertheless, when you need a little clarity to help you regather and direct your attention towards your main goal thinking about just two things – people and products – could be the recipe for success.
Rob Young, of business card printers MOO. Visit MOO online at http://us.moo.com/ to upload your own images or use our templates and start creating remarkable products.