Are you looking to streamline your startup? Once you have got up and running and started to find your feet, it is a good time to start looking for ways to streamline, so that you can improve efficiency and start to improve performance. There are always issues and bottlenecks that arise that you did not anticipate and making minor improvements can make a big difference. There are a few important steps to take to streamline your startup and you will be impressed with the positive impact that these can have on your business, especially when they are combined together. Keep reading to find out more.
Identify Problematic Areas
A good starting place is to identify the problematic areas of the business. You may have an idea of what these are already, but it is also a good idea to ask your staff and customers. Once you have identified an area or two that needs some work, you can identify the best ways to improve and this will lift the entire operation.
You should also automate as much of the operation as you can with online tools, apps and software. Even just automating one task can make a big difference as it can speed up the process, reduce errors and free up time for your staff to focus on other aspects of their role. Often, simple admin tasks can be automated and this can make work much easier for your employees.
Outsourcing is a smart way to free up time for your staff, get work completed by specialists and scale the business. Not only this, but outsourcing is also more cost-effective than hiring new staff, and there are all kinds of tasks and even entire departments that can be outsourced with ease.
Use Cloud Management Services
The cloud is a great way to streamline your business, especially in a time where people are working remotely. Using cloud management services allows you to get the most out of the cloud with automatic content and customization management tools allowing you to maintain complete operational control of your cloud environment.
Use Remote Work Tools
Remote work can bring a range of benefits to both the business and staff, but it does also pose a few challenges. Many of these challenges can be overcome when you utilize the best and latest remote work tools, such as screen-sharing software and group chat platforms. You can also get helpful advice on how to manage remote teams that will allow everyone to get the most out of remote work and boost productivity.
These are a few of the best ways to streamline your startup. Once you have got the business up and running, it is important to take the time to find ways to streamline so that you can operate at maximum efficiency and compete at the highest possible level. It can take startups a while to find success, but when you can streamline and improve early on, it will always help you to achieve this success much faster.
How to Develop a Killer Content Marketing Strategy for a Startup (with 5 Examples)
When it comes to running your own startup, the prospect of finding success can seem pretty grim. According to statistics, about 90% of startups fail, and that failure rate is about the same across all industries. There are many reasons why some startup companies might go belly up, including lack of managerial qualifications, inexperienced founders, and failure to reach the right people.
Another reason for startup failure is the lack of a clear content marketing strategy. And in 2022, there is no excuse for not having one.
Your startup, regardless of how skilled your employees are or how great your product or service is, is not going to get in front of the eyes of your target audience by itself. This is where content marketing comes in. Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, but it generates three times more leads.
To help you out, we have put together a list of things you need to do to develop a killer content marketing strategy. You’ll also find some useful examples, so read on.
Researching your target audience and creating a buyer persona will help you figure out who’s going to be buying your product. Obviously, demographic data is a good start, but you need to go beyond that and look at their biggest challenges, pain points, and their interests.
How do you find all of this?
Well, the simplest way would be to ask them using polls, surveys, and focus groups. You can also check out where they hang out online, check your competitors’ followers, and use the data gathered by analytics software.
One of the best examples of defining a buyer persona is Coca-Cola’s original “Share a Coke” campaign launched back in 2011 in Australia, which used personalized Coke bottles. The genius thing about this campaign is that it allowed the company to reach 42% of the population with just 150 different names on their bottles. Plus, they invited everyone to buy a Coke for someone else as well, not just themselves.
Image source: https://us.coca-cola.com/store/
Great content allows you to:
- engage your audience
- raise awareness about your brand
- boost your SEO
- establish your startup as a thought leader in the industry
Covering every single channel is almost impossible, so you need to decide at least on those that are relevant to your niche and your audience. As for content type, you can’t go wrong with blogs, images, videos, and infographics. Those are the top four formats leveraged by marketers.
For a great content marketing example, take a look at how Somnifix uses its blog not just to promote its products, which help stop snoring, but also to publish useful, actionable content that allows readers to improve the quality of their sleep through other methods, such as proper dieting and exercise. You will also find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the science of sleep, snoring, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders, as well as possible solutions for each.
Image source: https://somnifix.com/blogs/snews
Audiences are tired of being pitched to, which is why so many startups are turning to influencers for collaboration. This can be very effective because your audience gets to hear about your product from someone who is relatable to them rather than some corporate entity.
However, an even better option would be to share success stories featuring your customers. This not only provides social proof but also makes your startup come off as genuine.
BaseLang, an online platform for teaching Spanish, used social proof to its advantage by sharing actual customer testimonials. The platform even came up with a branded hashtag, #BaseLangStories, to spread the word across its social media accounts, which is quite similar to what Coca-Cola did with the #shareacoke campaign.
Image source: https://baselang.com/blog/success-stories/adam/
The best approach to executing your content marketing strategy would be to create a calendar that contains all there is to know about:
- the type of content you will be producing
- frequency of publishing
- publishing dates
- relevant links and keywords
- promotional plans that include distribution channels and budget
How often should you publish? HubSpot has done a fair bit of research on this, and they suggest 3-4 content pieces per week for smaller businesses looking to boost organic traffic, while larger ones should publish 4-5 times weekly.
As for boosting brand awareness, shoot for 1-2 times a week if you’re running a smaller startup, or 3-4 times a week if you’ve got a bigger organization. Of course, feel free to adjust your content calendar based on the specifics of your business and your target audience. Just try and remain consistent in terms of quality and quantity.
Image source: https://www.hubspot.com/
After doing all of the above, your startup will reap the benefits, but you’ll have very little use of them in the long run if you aren’t tracking your KPIs. Sure, it’s great that you have awesome content, but you need to determine what is and what isn’t working and why. Using the information gathered through analytics, you can eliminate parts of your content marketing strategy that aren’t working and focus on those that are bringing real results.
Five9 was able to build a campaign around its eBook and drive four times as many leads and three times as many deals as they did in their previous campaign. Instead of focusing on their product and its features, they created a buyer-centric eBook called “Practical/Tactical: A Guide to Maximizing Agent Efficiency.” It drove so many new leads that their head of marketing had to turn off the notifications. By tracking the performance of their content before and after they published the eBook, they were able to use those numbers for their future campaigns.
Image source: https://content.marketingsherpa.com/heap/cs/five9/3.htm
Although content marketing involves a lot of work, your startup will definitely benefit from it as long as you have a solid strategy to lean on. We hope that you will find the advice presented in this article helpful and that you will implement it while building your own content marketing strategy. Good luck!
How to Encourage and Reward Strong Employee Performance
As a business owner, attracting top talent, increasing retention, and motivating your employees to remain productive and efficient are likely among your top priorities, and for good reason. This can help to improve loyalty and devotion, boost employee happiness and morale, and result in an increased output of your company. Motivation and encouragement are vital to the success of a business, and there’s no better way to achieve this than by rewarding your employees for a job well done. With that in mind, here is how you can encourage and reward strong employee performance:
Align awards with goals
Aligning rewards with important company goals and recognizing strong performers is a great way to demonstrate to employees how their efficiency and productivity help the business. If you need to reach specific sales targets, for example, a rewards program can be created to incentivize workers according to how they meet or surpass these targets. The rewards programs can include salary increments, bonuses, reimbursements, stock options, remote work opportunities, etc. Digital HR tools can also be leveraged for monitoring employee performance, enabling you to track the metrics needed for determining who has earned the rewards.
Reward all achievements
While celebrating great accomplishments and successful projects and goals is imperative, it may also be helpful to recognize even the smaller milestones that have led employees to those important achievements. This can motivate employees and encourage them to stay focused on reaching all the necessary objectives. To achieve this, you can celebrate employees whenever they get promoted within the company, or even offer gifts and special recognition for work anniversaries and milestones such as completing five, ten, or more years at work.
Recognizing and awarding teamwork is another great way to inspire employees to improve communication and collaboration, which can boost the overall productivity and innovation in the company as a result. Since this tends to be a more skilled, elaborate, and time-consuming process, rewards for teams should be a bit more substantial than rewards for individuals, while still managing to honor the whole team. For example, you could plan a special outing for the team or even arrange a fine dining experience once the team has managed to reach a major milestone for your business.
Offer unique rewards
Along with conventional incentives, there are a number of unique rewards you can offer your employees based on your company culture. For instance, you can pay an affordable annual fee for a David Jones American Express platinum card and provide your employees with exclusive perks such as reward points, deferred payment options, and free delivery when shopping. You can also surprise them with some additional time off, a personal lunch with the CEO, tickets to a live performance event, a sponsored getaway, or any other interesting reward that agrees with your budget and overall culture.
Provide specific recognition
When employees complete some major individual achievements, it may be best to offer more specific and personalized recognition. This can make your employees feel valued and appreciated, as it highlights the impact of their individual contributions to the business. It will also help to demonstrate that you truly care about your staff. To provide personal recognition, you could feature employee interviews in your internal communications platform, present certificates of achievement, provide recognition notes from the CEO, create an “Employee of the Day” program, provide enhanced office equipment, and use other similar tactics.
Focus on development
Another method that could be quite advantageous to the company includes providing personal and professional development opportunities to employees. Not only is investing in the future of employees a great incentive for them to remain with your company, but highly skilled workers can also bring more value to the business overall. To invest in the development of your employees, you can reimburse fees and tuitions for different educational programs, sponsor seminars held by motivational speakers, pay for masterclasses and hobby classes, arrange mentoring sessions, provide gym and library memberships, and utilize similar solutions that promote personal and professional improvement.
Try some fun surprises
In addition to more common and traditional rewards, employees could also be encouraged to reward one another. For instance, peers and managers can treat each other for their milestones and support in fun ways that boost morale and strengthen employee relationships. This could include sending care packages and gift baskets, giving gift cards and vouchers, giving decorative plants, ordering takeout and reimbursing the bill, gifting charming memorabilia that remind employees of the company, and any other small token of appreciation to increase employee happiness and satisfaction.
Evidently, encouraging and rewarding your employees for their performance can have a number of benefits for the overall growth and success of your business. Use the tips mentioned above to find ideas for rewards that are bound to satisfy and motivate your staff.
How to Prevent Human Error in a Startup
Even in the most established businesses, human error is a common occurrence. In a startup company, these mistakes are even more frequent. Managing all the complex ins and outs of a rapidly changing environment is difficult, especially without clear guidelines and standards for important tasks.
Startups have a difficult enough time succeeding without throwing human error into the mix. But, if you take the right steps, you can prevent these mistakes from impacting your growth. Below, we explore the most common causes of human error in a startup and what to do about it.
Human error might be inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to help prevent it. Exploring what causes human error in a startup is critical to preventing it.
The nature of a startup means that rapid and unexpected changes will happen frequently. A startup doesn’t have the same luxury of sitting comfortably on a straightforward path that a more established business does. This means that as you grow more and see success or failure, things will need to adapt. Some practices will work and be implemented more, and others will fail and need to be changed.
This rapid change is both necessary and helpful to discover the best practices for your business. However, it also creates an environment where human error flourishes. Rapid change means that people will fall behind, or be confused by new processes, creating human error.
This disorientation can be mitigated by taking a few preventative steps. First, communicate well with your team. Keeping them informed of any changes or updates in your practices or business environment will help them adapt their work to what’s newly necessary. This also makes them feel more included in the process, which can reduce stress and further reduce human error.
Secondly, it’s important to not make too many changes at once. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, try to allow your team to settle into one change before you implement another. This allows them to focus on adapting to the first change for a time before more is put on their plate, which will help prevent them from being overwhelmed.
Being overwhelmed is a leading cause of human error in all businesses, but especially startups. Fast scaling and a lack of standard operating procedures for certain tasks, in addition to the rapid change mentioned above all contributes to an environment that can become overwhelming quickly.
To prevent this, it’s important to use tools that lessen the weight of menial tasks. By implementing certain software technologies, a lot of work can be done without human intervention, saving a lot of time that could be better spent on other work. Whatever sort of paperwork automation that can be employed will go a long way to preventing human error in the future, and keeping your startup on the track to success.
Humans make mistakes, but with the right steps, they don’t have to hurt your company. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to a thriving business.
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