Whether success to your business means staying afloat for another year, or whether it is reaching that one million pound sales mark, staying relevant is essential to ensuring your start-up business remains successful. What does this mean, staying relevant? How do I stay relevant?
In short, our advice is stay in the know with social trends, know your customers, draw inspiration from your competitors & adaptation is vital. If you fail to adapt, your customers will find a business that will.
1. Social Trends
Social media platforms have become primary target locations for companies to advertise. TikTok for example, a video sharing based social media platform, has 1 billion monthly active users as of January 2023. On average, users spend over 850 minutes per month on the app. Just think of how many people you could reach through advertising there.
As a business, stay alert to what’s happening currently online, that way you know exactly how to market there, what they want to see and what they don’t. Don’t be afraid to engage and get involved with what’s going on.
TikTok as an app is an informal, light-hearted environment. Allowing users to express themselves & not take themselves too seriously, even businesses. We’re not saying you have to upload videos of you doing the latest dance every week (unless you want to), all we’re saying is there’s no better way of getting to know your customers & finding common ground than connecting with them in a place where everyone is themselves.
TikTok isn’t the only popular social media platform in which can connect you to your audience – there’s also Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and a few more niche ones.
2. Know Your Customers
A perfect follow up from the last point. Know your customer. What does this mean? This means understanding the people who buy your products/ service. If you don’t already know who they are, we recommend offering a 30 second survey to get to know a bit about them.
What are they buying and why are they buying? Understanding your client is key to giving them good service which in turn results into strong customer relationships and new sales through positive word-of-mouth recommendation.
Pro tip: if you’re offering services or products to another business, the individual responsible for the decision to buy your product or service is the customer.
You can learn a lot from your customers by talking to them, find out who their previous suppliers were, why did they change? – learn from the mistakes of the previous company, be clear on what not to do.
As we mentioned before with social platforms, it is key that you get to know your audience. For example, if the hashtag #SaveThePlanet is trending on social media and you use recyclable material for your product, announcing that you use recyclable material instantly increases your brand reputation – potentially gaining customers off that alone.
3. Draw Inspiration From Your Competitors
As a business, it’s only natural that there are other businesses offering the same or similar products/services to you, these are your competitors. The reason these are your competitors is because you want customers to buy your product rather than theirs, and they want the opposite.
A good way to stay relevant, is to keep tabs on your competition in your industry, what changes have they made recently to attract more clients? Avoid copying everything they do blindly, try to understand why they’ve done it & analyze how their audience have responded to the changes. It’s important to know that you are drawing inspiration to apply to your business rather than STEALING.
Becoming an adaptable business if one of the hardest things to do, BUT it is the most important thing to do in order to stay relevant. It can be discouraging after years of running smoothly when the world just decides it no longer has a place for your business.
Half of the time it’s not! Your business is simply required to adapt to the ever-changing world we live in.
An example of a business failing to adapt is Blockbuster. For those of you that don’t know, Blockbuster is a former provider of movies and video game rental services. At its peak, Blockbuster employed 84,000 people worldwide and had over 9,000 outlets.
Their quantity and variety of titles meant they were head and shoulders above most other rental stores. The rise of Netflix and on-demand streaming meant that Blockbuster’s business model needed to change, but unfortunately, it didn’t. Blockbuster didn’t change with the times by adopting a trend which would ultimately prove to be its downfall.
As we have covered, regular adaptation is one of the hardest things for your business to do, it may not even be worth the hassle in your opinion, but it’s essential for success. Our top tip is to stay vigilant and see changes before they come.
If your product requires a resource which is non-renewable, what will happen in 10 years when supplies of the resource are desperately low? Try planning for the future in advance wherever possible and always stay one step ahead.
To summarize, stay up to date with what is current in the world and what your customers (or potential customers) may be interested in, keep an eye out to see what is working for other businesses in your industry & don’t be afraid of change. The ways you can track or measure how successfully you are doing these, answer these questions every month:
Social trend: What is currently the most popular trend on social media?
Bonus: Analyze whether it is something you can leverage to promote your start-up business
Know your customers: What gender and age range purchased from/ showed interest in my business the most?
Bonus: Try to work out what about your product/services appeals to them more than other demographics.
Draw inspiration from your customers: What have I noticed companies around me implementing that I don’t have?
Bonus: Research what impact could this have on the success of your business if you implemented this – but also at what cost.
Adapt: Is my business requiring me to change anything at this moment in time?
Bonus: Examine whether this will be the case in the years to come.
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