Get to know your Consumers
In my experience, you can never go wrong with educating consumers, whether they are businesses or individual consumers. By presenting actual content that people can learn from, you become an industry leader and become a voice that people listen to. It is that voice that people then turn to. That is where a lot of our marketing has really paid off, which is to just be open.
My email is all over the place and if someone who has so interest in purchasing our services in the next 12 months, once you reach out to me and have questions specifically regarding certain types of manufacturing or logistics or quality control, I am more than happy to spend more than an hour responding to them and teaching them about the processes and giving them resources. This is because that is the kind of thing that is going to allow them to come back and feel comfortable knowing that we are a company that genuinely cares about educating them and then getting them on board if it makes sense.
Get to know your Team
I am the lone founder for Guided Imports but my staff has been with me from the start. Sure there are times we have gotten into fights and there have been times where we don’t agree but what things come down to is that you need to look at every issue and problem as what is going to cost more money. Is it going to cost more money to get rid of someone and then train someone to bring them up to that level or is it going to cost more to fix this person’s problem? If it ends up costing more to get rid of someone, it is in your best interest to fix these issues.
When you look at co-founders as well, you want to do absolutely everything to work it out. I go back to the relationship thing as if it was a marriage. 20 years ago going through marriage counseling was so taboo that no one talked about it, but nowadays if you are married for 5-10 years and you are going to a marriage counselor it is considered a normal thing because it is seen as you are looking to keep your relationship as healthy and strong. If you can do everything you can to maintain those relationships, it will pay off, but if they fail then it will be just one of a thousand of things that can happen that can cause your startup to fail.
Apply it to your Business
Startups need to talk, track, and modify. Talk to your customers, the people who are actually using your product and you want to analyze what they are doing or what it is they like about your product and what it is that they dislike about your product through their comments and then you want to modify as necessary. So the customer doesn’t always know exactly what you need to do but their input is tremendously valuable. Focus on talking to your customers and you will be able to save a lot of time and a lot of money, by relying only on your own decisions and ideas.