An oft-quoted statistic, 50% of new businesses fail within five years. And the culling of startups is even more dramatic, with an estimated nine out of ten folding. But to quote Steve Jobs, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” So while there are a few must-have ingredients such as products that work as they should, products that perform as they’re required to, products that people want, and businesses that are able to deliver, there are also a few generic tricks that every business can use to aid and promote success.
Take Advantage of the Cloud
Cloud computing enables startups to scale and grow easily, providing access to services and products previously in reach and budget only of well-established businesses.
- Save Money: With the cloud, you can do more for less and spend the money you’ve saved on licensing fees developing your business.
- Flexibility & Scalability: Start small to keep down costs, and when necessary, add required services or rescale appropriately. Cloud computing not only makes this possible but seamlessly so.
- Reliability & Support: Top cloud computing providers offer user-friendly interfaces and reliable infrastructure providing startups with professional systems that would otherwise take years to develop and implement.
- Go Mobile: No one said entrepreneurship was a walk in the park. Cloud services keep you mobile, so you’ve got access to your startup 24/7. Weddings, family holidays, and New Year’s Eve Parties: Prime time to check your mail, address customer concerns, and fine tune your product.
Once you’ve scrounged every last cent, carefully streamlined your business processes, and developed the perfect product, you need to get it to market. And not just any market either. Precisely targeting potential users and getting known can be cheaply, often freely, achieved with a few simple growth hacks.
- Referral Programs: Offering product upgrades or exclusive content to users who encourage others to take up your product creates a base of cheap and impartial sales reps who actually believe in the product they’re selling.
- Exclusivity: Everyone wants what they can’t have. Pinterest took advantage of this fact by starting out as an invitation-only platform, and creating a buzz with a waiting list for access which led to prospective users believing they needed to be part of the trend. Exclusivity effectively hacks human nature to drive growth.
- Free Stuff: Human nature is, of course, irrational. We also all love free stuff. Giving users something for free is a quick way of both increasing product usage and improving popularity.
There is a range of tools available for startups, including free services and funding foundations. A few providers also offer incubator programs that encourage and facilitate startups with free infrastructure and tools. For more, take a look at SoftLayer’s Catalyst Startup Program, MassChallenge’s Startup Accelerator, or Boston’s startup incubator Blade.
By Jennifer Klostermann