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The business landscape is more competitive than ever, so a startup has to stand out if it wants to be a unicorn. The tech, medical, and food market is getting exceptionally crowded. So how does a fresh-faced startup stand out when so many others try to do the same and attract the same investors and customers?
The key is ensuring that your startup is set apart from everyone else. Some basic ways to do this and some additional approaches will add the extra touch. If you want to drive investors and consumers to your door (or website), here are some of the best ways to catch their eye and ensure that your startup stands out, no matter the competition.
How to Make Your Startup Stand Out?
Know Your USP
Your first step is to identify your unique selling point (USP). This means identifying exactly what makes your startup unique and different from others in the same industry. This is an essential step in startup development because it will help you identify the target audience segment that you will be marketing to. Your USP will also become a part of your branding and startup identity.
Far too many startups identify their USPs as something bland, such as being the best, having the best product, or delivering the best customer experience. These aren’t enough. Instead, research some of the best USPs being used by high-performing brands. Take these as inspiration, and develop your USPs accordingly.
When an investor or a team candidate visits your startup workplace, what impression do you make? This is one of the approaches to making your startup stand out that’s incredibly high-impact. A smooth, efficient, and practical visitor management system is a way of improving the workplace and showing potential team members or investors that you pay attention to the details.
From keeping your startup office Covid-safe to ensuring that the right person meets visitors without delay, a visitor management system can add professionalism to your startup. If those investors or high-performing job candidates show up and the sign-in process is outdated, slow, and inefficient, that impression will linger. Avoid that at all costs.
The Importance of Branding
If you’re considering starting a business, you already know just how important branding is. You know that your branding has to be a professional reflection of your business model and consistent across every platform and physical representation of your startup. So your website, stationary, and office signage must look and say the same.
To design your branding, start by researching your target audience and then your competitors. Identify the focus of your startup and the personality that will appeal to your target audience. This should be reflected in your business name, slogan, and logo. Think about colours and the kind of font you’ll be using — make every decision based on customer research. And once you’ve made decisions, apply your fresh branding across every part of your business.
The Peril of Stealth Mode
For tech startups, the trend of staying in stealth mode for as long as possible is somewhat understandable. There are products and offerings to be kept secret, and there’s some value to launching on day one with everything ready. However, stealth mode is fast becoming an outdated approach to a startup launch.
Yes, there are some startups where secrecy is a priority, and the goal is to ideate and launch a new product without people knowing it’s coming. For most startups, this is a huge mistake. Ideally, you want word-of-mouth buzz and online conversations to happen well before launch day. Start building your reputation online and offline beforehand, and launch day will likely be a success. Avoid stealth mode unless it’s 100% necessary.
If you want your startup to succeed, you need investors. They will be a vital source of funding and can also be utilised to help you stand out from the competition. The more well-known the investor, the more impact they’ll have on your brand positioning. However, attracting the right investors is not always easy, and this will tend to be a significant focus of your initial startup days.
Don’t just start reaching out with cold emails, although that approach can work once you’ve established your brand.
Instead, think about the three kinds of investors available to you:
- Passive investors
- Active investors.
Make sure you understand the difference between the three kinds of investors and research which ones are the best match for you at each stage of your startup development. Get the right invite at the right time, and startup growth can accelerate faster than you thought possible.
Study Employment Trends
How will your workplace function? Don’t decide on this without doing your research first. Gone are the days when a traditional office setup was the norm — today’s workforce wants many more options than that. The key is being positioned well enough to offer your team the work options that matter most to them. Some will prefer to be fully remote (which means you don’t have to rely on geographical proximity when hiring). Others will want to be in the office full-time.
Then there’s hybrid working, rapidly becoming the preferred choice of many, especially younger generations. Combining the benefits of remote work while getting the social and educational advantages of in-office working means hybrid working is rapidly becoming the number one requirement for startup employees. And if you’re not sure which options your team prefers, ask them.
Start Planning Today
Nobody said it was going to be easy to launch a startup. It can certainly be fun, and when things go right, it can be exhilarating. However, your startup is far more likely to fail without the proper foundation. It’s a sad reality that in the UK, 20% of new businesses don’t make it past the first year. And a terrifying 60% don’t make it to three years.
That’s why you need to plan everything down to the smallest detail. Start planning today from your logo to your visitor management system to how you will find your investors. The more you plan, the fewer avoidable obstacles you’ll stumble over. Get your planning right, and yours could be the startup that doesn’t just survive past that third year but will thrive long into the future.