We’re often advised about all the lessons big companies can learn from innovative, young start-ups. But it’s just as important that new businesses take inspiration from those who are already successful. These days it’s becoming easier and easier to start a business, meaning the market is flooded with start-ups in almost every sector. In order for yours to be successful, you should look to see what others have learned before you, including these four essential lessons:
Invest in an App
There’s no denying that we live in an age of convenience, where we conduct most of our lives though our smartphones. Whether it’s shopping, banking or even dating, consumers prefer to do it from their phones or tablets. Even computers are becoming less popular, with people being much more likely to grab their phone for a quick Google search, rather than starting-up their computer. In fact, two thirds of adults now have access to a smartphone, meaning that for a start-up business it’s becoming more and more essential to invest in an app for yours.
Take fast food app hungryhouse, that developed a business entirely based on our convenience culture. When it was launched, there were very few similar companies around and it completely revolutionized the UK’s fast food industry. Customers simply have to enter their postcode to view a list of local restaurants, choose their dishes and pay for their food. The company has become one of the biggest providers in the UK growing from a network of just nine restaurants in 2006 to more than 10,000 today.
Embrace Social Media
Social media can seem daunting to a start-up, after-all, starting a new Twitter, Facebook page etc. from scratch if you haven’t done it before can be complicated and often start-ups will just ignore it. But social media is simply a crucial part of business these days – for all businesses. The key is to pick the correct platform for your business.
Look at Old Spice, a brand long-ago condemned to being an ‘old man’s’ product. That was until the company decided in 2010 to relaunch the brand via social media using an attractive actor, Isaiah Mustafa, and a series of tongue-in-cheek adverts. They even had Mustafa answering fan questions over social media. The campaign went viral and received over 65 million views. Not bad for a company that were on the brink of being obsolete.
Do Your Research
It’s all very well having an amazing product or business idea, but if you know nothing about the market that you’re trying to sell to, then how do you know that there’s actually a market to sell to? Take a company like IKEA, which are a household name. Indeed, you’ll find it difficult to find a household these days that doesn’t contain some form of IKEA furnishing. For every product on their shelves, they will spend years doing market research to ensure that there’s a want for it and to perfect that product as much as possible.
Of course, it’s not going to be possible for a start-up to spend that kind of money and time on years of intensive research. However, it is very important that some market research is done before too much money is spent on a product or service that no one actually wants to buy.
Be Willing to Change Your Ideas
The market and people’s needs are constantly changing, and in order for you to keep your business profitable through these changes, you have to be willing to adapt. Take Netflix, you might only remember Netflix being an online streaming site, but actually the company started out as a DVD-by-mail site. It was only from 2007, when the CEO decided to shift the company away from DVDs – as they became less popular – that Netflix has been operating as the online streaming site we know and love today.
This also opened the door for popular Netflix originals such as House of Cards and Making a Murderer, and now the company is also signing deals with television shows away from network channels. After the shift between 2007 and 2014, Nertflix’s revenues had an average growth of 23.6% per year and the company is still growing now.