So you’re at least two years in and you’ve proven you know how to make money, hopefully showing a profit.
You start to think about how big you could get, people ask you what are your plans for the business?
Should you get some investors or try and borrow from the bank? What marketing should you invest in?
Naturally you start to read all the blogs, popular myths and buzz words about how to “take your business to the next level” or how to “monetize” and “growth hack” your way to an enormous company.
Don’t get caught up in the hype of being a “startup”, let’s face it, when do you stop being a startup? Is it two years or five years? There isn’t really any definitive answer there. It’s cool to be a startup if you’re trying to rally some funds to pay for the idea, but beyond that, you need to focus on generating sales and perfecting your craft.
The hyper reported startup industry is focused on technology-based businesses, with the vast majority of business owners not tech-based, forming the backbone of the Australian economy that get the job done through manufacturing, distribution or service related industries making it important for us to dispel some of the popular misconceptions about growing your business.
You need venture capital dollars or incubators (Bogus)
Have you noticed that the media only reports on businesses that have raised capital from investors, how they are the only ones that are deemed successful or ones to watch? It’s easy to buy into the notion that as soon as you show some growth you should quickly start seeking out venture capital. What about the ones that made it on their own through sheer perseverance or sourced funding a different way ultimately giving up less equity? Venture capital can certainly do wonders for your growth, however getting the timing right and how much of the pie to give up needs careful consideration.
Being patient with your growth may just surprise you in the end and if you do end up needing VC dollars you’ll be in a better position to negotiate from a stronger base and hopefully maintain the controlling interest in your baby.
You should be on every social media platform (Bogus)
It’s no secret that social media usage has gone through the roof. You either have a business page up on facebook or are shamefully planning to start one. No matter what platform amongst the big four, facebook, twitter, Instagram or Pinterest you’re on, they’ve created some seriously big noise from some small business owners that would normally go unnoticed.
One of the biggest problems with social media is keeping up with interesting content to post, usually required on a daily basis and then balancing this between informative, educational or entertaining content, being careful not to self-promote yourself too much out of fear of losing followers.
You need to pick your platforms carefully, ensuring you have enough resources and planning to keep up with a planned schedule to engage and acquire followers.
Check out Guy Kawasaki’s new book “The Art of Social Media” to get you started on the path to understanding social media and content:
— Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki) January 5, 2015
You might think that facebook is the king of sharing and engagement, however, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook itself, has engagement up by 416% in just two years.
— KeyInsite (@KeyInsite) January 12, 2015
You may find out that you only need to be on one or two platforms (e.g. Twitter and LinkedIn) to connect with a majority of your target audiences. If you haven’t started using social media or you are still in the trial stages, take the proper amount of time to develop your voice and followers.
You need viral marketing campaigns (Bogus)
Any marketer or business owner that creates content most probably considers viral marketing as one of the best ways to gain exposure and customers. The reality is, most campaigns fail to reach “viral status”. There have been the questions of “what exactly constitutes a viral video? How many views does it need to be considered ‘viral’? How quickly does it have to rise in viewership or sharing?” There isn’t exactly a set rule for how many “views” constitute something “going viral”. When it comes to video marketing, some people argue that it hasn’t gone viral until it reaches 1,000,000 views!
Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact science to creating viral content and you should focus your time on creating truly exceptional stuff that people want to read and build a gradual momentum over time. If you spend your efforts trying to create viral marketing, you’ll spin your wheels, usually resulting in a depression as to why it didn’t work. Stick to the basics and create your own authentic voice.
You need to be in the tech industry (Bogus)
It’s a crazy roller coaster ride out there for anyone who thinks they can create the next big application; every young entrepreneur is working on ideas and the tech industry is playing an important, supportive role in the growth of many companies in a variety of industries. A key message to business owners is to always start from within your own industry first, you don’t need to create the next “online” site or app as there are huge opportunities for growing small businesses in financial services, retail, healthcare, education, energy and other industries and standing out from the crowd or seeking to discover innovations in the not so popular trending industries might just give you that edge to find something that’s yet to be uncovered.
Got any other bugus facts for us? Let us know below.