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5 Startup Tips For Thriving In a Highly Competitive Market

Written by on January 31, 2022

Starting a new business is no easy task. It’s easy to create a concept in your mind and hope that it gives you the profit and satisfaction you are looking for but there’s more to it than that. Without the proper planning and preparation, your business can easily hit the bottom before it even makes it halfway to the surface. Here are some helpful tips on how you can keep your startup business running and how it can thrive better in a highly competitive market or industry.

Develop a rock-solid business model

Every successful business starts with a good business plan. It can be a challenge to create one. But it’s basically writing down what you have in mind, including your short and long-term goals. Short term goals involve details about what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. These should be extra specific. Long term goals, on the other hand, are more flexible. It’s important to understand that, although you need to create a strong and rock-solid business plan, there’s still a possibility that there will be changes to it as your business grows.

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Identify a suitable source of financing

It’s rare for someone to start a business without at least a small amount of capital. While some have the money to get started immediately, some need financial assistance. It’s perfectly alright to ask for help, but you have to make sure that you get it from a reliable source and that the terms are suitable for your kind of business and your capability to payback.

Business loans

There are many lenders who offer small business loans. Traditional or alternative lenders often offer different types of loans for starting a new business, funding new developments, expanding existing businesses, boosting marketing strategies, increasing manpower, and more.

Make sure to choose the right type for your business based on the following guide questions:

  • What is the interest loan rate and will it vary over time?
  • Is the interest payable monthly or quarterly?
  • When is the principal due?
  • How is the principal amortized over the life of the business loan?
  • What is the origination fee of the loan?
  • What are the other costs or fees involved? (admin fees, loan processing, underwriting, etc)
  • When can the lender call a default on the loan?
  • Is there collateral required?
  • What are the lender’s requirements?
  • Is there a limit on how the business locan can be used?
  • Can the loan be prepaid earlier? Will there be a penalty for it?

Crowdfunding

If a business loan is not a sound option, crowdfunding is a good alternative. This is a popular financing method nowadays, especially for younger entrepreneurs. It involves raising funds through online funders through a crowdfunding website or platform.

Setting up a crowdfunding account or campaign is very easy, You only have to sign up to a crowdfunding website, create a profile, describe your brand and business, and specify an amount that you need help raising. People can choose to donate to your campaign in exchange for a product, service, discount, or some type of perk based on how much they donate. They could also donate in exchange for equity or profit share.

Most successful campaigns are from those companies that share a compelling story about their business and those that offer enticing rewards for donations. Such companies were able to raise way more than their expected amount, some even reaching millions of dollars through popular crowdfunding websites.

The main advantage of crowdfunding is that startups don’t have to be burdened with loan interests or repayments. It is, however, important to check with the crowdfunding website’s terms. Some require a certain amount of money as a processing fee while some may demand a percentage of the funds raised once you reach your target amount.

Establish your online presence

Standing out in a competitive market is definitely a challenge, especially if you are just starting out. One way to get your brand across your target audience is by building and establishing your online presence. This will involve creating a website for your products or services, building an email list, and engaging with potential customers through social media.

One of the most effective ways to build your online presence is through video marketing. Using videos, you can easily engage with your target audience through various digital platforms. It may seem costly, but it doesn’t have to. You can use a free online video editor, use stock media, or customize a video template with ease. You can also use a screen or webcam recorder to create your own videos from scratch.

A website is necessary if you want your business to thrive in this digital age. However, it has to provide a pleasant experience for visitors if you want them to visit it regularly, stick around longer, and eventually make a purchase. Your website must load quickly, be easy to use and navigate, and be mobile-friendly.

Boost online ranking with SEO

No matter how creative or innovative you are in your digital marketing efforts, you won’t be able to achieve optimum results online without SEO. This powerful digital marketing tool will benefit your startup business in so many ways, such as achieving a higher search engine ranking, reaching more potential customers, and increasing possible revenue.

It’s important for startups to conduct keyword research. Keywords are commonly used words or phrases that you need to use in your digital marketing campaigns to optimize ranking and online visibility. You can easily find keywords simply by researching on a search engine like Google. 

Often, if you type something relevant to your business, a dropdown of relevant search terms will pop out under the search bar. Another way to find the right keywords to use are through tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner and Ahrefs. You may also research your competitors to find out what keywords they often use on their website or content.

Use the keywords you find on your digital marketing content. You can use them to optimize your landing pages, blogs, meta titles and descriptions, video captions, image attributes, and more. So, whenever someone types a commonly used keyword on the search bar, your website or content will have a higher chance of getting clicked on.

Maintain well-paying customers

Catching the attention of your target audience and converting them into customers is definitely a challenge. It requires a lot of hard work and money. It costs a lot more to acquire new customers than to keep existing ones. Which is why you should work hard to maintain the ones who are already supporting your brand.

Once you gain the trust and loyalty of a customer, you must exert extra effort to keep them interested. Don’t just stop at the sale. If not, they will feel less valued and will be more likely to transfer to another brand that makes them feel valued and important. 

Although big gestures are wonderful, little thoughtful touches will help retain customers. Here are a few things you can do to maintain the customers who already trust your startup business:

  • Maintain the quality of good service
  • Maintain the quality and effectiveness of your products
  • Create a customer loyalty program for them
  • Send them free gifts or special vouchers 
  • Respond to their queries and comments without delay
  • Send them regular updates regarding promos, new products, and events
  • Ask them for their feedback (especially after a purchase)
  • A thank you card (or e-card for online transactions) with a discount coupon for future purchases

By maintaining your existing customer base, you are also inviting new ones to join the community. If your customers have good experiences with your company, they are more likely to let out a good word about your business. They may recommend your product or service to family, friends, and colleagues. Some might even mention your brand online, which will serve as an invitation for anyone in their network to go check out your company. 

Make your current customers so happy and satisfied that they will tell the world about it. Word-of-mouth is still an effective method of gaining new customers and growing your business. Plus, it’s free.

Summing it all up

Starting a business in a highly competitive market requires hard work and dedication. A little competition won’t hurt anyone and it’s rare to dive into an industry where you are the only one offering a specific product or service. Competition helps drive your business to aim for more and to achieve more. 

While competition can drive startups to work harder to move forward, it can also make things more difficult for them. Not all journeys involve smooth, well-paved roads. Sometimes, you have to go through rough terrain to get to where you want to be. With these five tips, businesses that are just starting out can be guided on what they need to do, what they should be focused on, and how to strategize their business efforts to jumpstart their path to success.

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