First step for start-ups: What’s the secret sauce of your business?
It’s not your idea. It’s not your product. It’s your magic sauce where the more you stir it, the more it grows.
Jeff Bezos came across Amazon’s secret sauce 15 years ago over a coffee with Jim Sinegal, the founder of one of Amazon’s biggest competitors, CostCo. Jim shared with Jeff the ‘virtuous circle’ that made CostCo the leading discount retailer:
“You can fill Safeco Field with the people that don’t want to sell to us, but over a period of time, we generate enough business and prove we are a good customer and pay our bills and keep our promises. Then they say, ‘Why the hell am I not doing business with these guys. I gotta be stupid..”
The next Monday, Jeff got his team together and they cut the price of all their products by 20 to 30 percent to be the very lowest in the market. Jeff went out and announced:
“There are two kinds of retailers: There are those folks who work to figure out how to charge more, and there are companies that work to figure how to charge less, and we are going to be the second, full-stop.”
Jeff then ran a two-day off-site management meeting with the bestselling author of “Good to Great”, Jim Collins. That’s where the team came up with the “Amazon Flywheel” –
1. Lower prices led to more customer visits,
2. More customers increased volume of sales,
3. Volume of sales attracted more 3rd party sellers,
4. More 3rd party sellers led to better economies of scale
5. Better economies of scale led to lower prices…
While others were waiting to get to economies of scale to lower prices, Amazon decided to lower prices to get to economies of scale.
For many at the meeting, it was the first time they finally had a clearly defined strategy that explained their business. Every division within Amazon had a focus on a different part of the flywheel, and each small improvement in any part made the wheel spin faster.
Jeff re-focused Amazon on the flywheel, but kept it out of public presentations as this was their secret sauce. Amazon got criticized for bringing prices down so low they were losing money on each sale, partners complained the pricing strategies were unviable, and many stock market analysts predicted the company would fail.
Jeff’s response? “Entrepreneurs must be willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time.”
While Jeff attracted critics from all directions, there was something he attracted a lot more of – customers. They came in their thousands. They kept on coming. And they kept coming back.
Now, so many years after that meeting (and through many years of being misunderstood), Amazon has grown from a start-up struggling through the dotcom crash to an expected $100 billion+ in sales this year, and is now worth over $300 billion.
What’s your secret sauce? What is that one thing that makes you stand out in the market? It may not be lowest prices. It may be the highest quality product, or the best service in the industry. Once you know your secret sauce, set up your flywheel, and start with the end in mind.
Don’t start with the part that you think you can afford to do. Start with the part that you know you can’t afford not to do. And start today!
“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking”
Best Product Packaging Strategies For Startups
Hey entrepreneurs, launching a startup can be a lot of work! You stress about funds, operations, and team building. And while you prioritize product development, packaging may take a back seat, right? But did you know that it drives the buying decision for 72% of Americans? That’s surprising, but true.
And it also means that product packaging is one of the ways to stand out and grab customers’ attention in a cutthroat world. That’s a good reason to go the extra mile to nail a strategy. So, if you’re wondering how to make your package pop without breaking the bank, we’ve got some killer tips for your startup.
Here is what you need to know to win an incredible unboxing experience for your customers.
Know your target audience
You’ve got to know your target audience to create a successful product. And the same applies to packaging. Who are you trying to reach and sell? What are their preferences? What would they want in the product package?
By understanding your target customers, you can pick an option that speaks directly to them. For example, if your target audience is health-conscious millennials, choose a minimalist and eco-friendly one that emphasizes your product’s sustainable ingredients.
Focus on customer experience
Your product packaging is more than a pretty face. It’s also about enhancing the customer experience. Think about how you may create a memorable unboxing process.
Consider adding unique features, such as easy-open lids, tear strips, or resealable packages. By making the components easy to access, you get the benefits of brand loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
Consider what’s inside
That’s a no-brainer because your product determines the packaging material. Things are easy if you sell a single offering, but CBD entrepreneurs may struggle to choose different materials for different products.
For example, you will need a tincture bottle, boxes, mylar bags, cartridges, and tin containers for different items in your portfolio. Additionally, you’ll have to ensure that they are child-resistant and preserve the flavor and aroma of the components.
As a startup brand, you can gain a lot by joining the sustainability bandwagon, and packaging is a good place to start. Buyers care more than ever about the environmental impact of products and brands.
So eco-friendly packaging options are surely ideal. Prioritize biodegradable materials and minimize excess packaging. It’s the best way to make your offerings pop in a market saturated with competition.
Branding is key
Remember that your packaging is a crucial part of your brand identity. So ensure that it aligns with your company’s values and messaging. It should replicate your brand’s color schemes, fonts, and imagery.
The text labels should also match your brand’s personality and tone. The idea is to remind buyers of your brand every time they see the product on the shelves.
Is packaging a big deal? Yes, it actually is when it comes to the product packaging for your startup. You’ve got to ensure it makes a great first impression and drives a buying decision. Well, there are no shortcuts to winning the packaging game. But you can try these tips to ace it!
What Startups can learn from the Special Forces of Armies around the world
Startups and special forces of armies may seem to have very little in common. However, upon closer examination, there are several key lessons that startups can learn from these elite military units. Special forces teams are highly trained, flexible, and able to operate in rapidly changing environments. Startups, too, must be able to pivot quickly in response to market changes and evolving customer needs. In this article, we will explore several key lessons that startups can learn from special forces teams.
Lesson 1: Build a strong team
Special forces teams are composed of highly skilled and specialized individuals who work together to achieve a common goal. Similarly, startups must build a strong team of individuals with diverse skills and backgrounds who can work together to bring their products or services to market. A successful startup team should have a mix of technical, business, and creative skills to ensure that all aspects of the business are covered.
Special forces teams also place a strong emphasis on teamwork and communication. They must be able to work together seamlessly, and each member must understand their role and responsibilities within the team. Startups can learn from this by fostering a culture of collaboration and open communication within their team.
Lesson 2: Adapt quickly to changing environments
Special forces teams are often deployed in rapidly changing environments, where they must adapt quickly to new situations and changing conditions. Similarly, startups must be able to pivot quickly in response to market changes and evolving customer needs. This requires a high degree of flexibility and agility, as well as the ability to quickly assess and respond to new information.
Startups can learn from special forces teams by adopting a mindset of constant adaptation and improvement. They should be willing to experiment and iterate on their product or service, and be open to feedback from customers and other stakeholders.
Lesson 3: Embrace risk and uncertainty
Special forces teams operate in high-risk and uncertain environments, where the stakes are often very high. They must be willing to take calculated risks and make difficult decisions under pressure. Startups, too, must be willing to embrace risk and uncertainty in order to succeed. They must be willing to take chances and make bold moves, even in the face of uncertainty.
Startups can learn from special forces teams by adopting a mindset of calculated risk-taking. They should be willing to experiment and try new things, while also being mindful of potential risks and taking steps to mitigate them.
Lesson 4: Focus on the mission
Special forces teams are highly focused on achieving their mission, which is often critical to national security. Similarly, startups must be highly focused on their mission and vision, which should guide all of their decisions and actions. This requires a clear understanding of the company’s purpose and goals, as well as a strong sense of commitment to achieving them.
Startups can learn from special forces teams by adopting a mission-driven approach to their business. They should be clear about their purpose and goals, and ensure that all of their decisions and actions are aligned with these objectives.
Lesson 5: Train and prepare rigorously
Special forces teams undergo rigorous training and preparation in order to be able to perform their duties at the highest level. Similarly, startups must invest in training and preparation in order to build a strong and capable team, and to ensure that they are able to execute on their mission effectively.
Startups can learn from special forces teams by investing in training and development programs for their team members. This includes technical training, as well as leadership and management development. By investing in their team members’ skills and abilities, startups can ensure that they are well-prepared to succeed in a competitive and rapidly changing business environment.
In conclusion, startups can learn a great deal from special forces teams of armies around the world. By building a strong team, adapting quickly to changing environments, embracing risk and uncertainty, focusing on the mission, and training, Startups can achieve goals that may seem impossible at first.
Ways to Make Your Startup Hit the Ground Running
Few things are more exciting than being involved in a startup company. You feel as if there is nothing that this business cannot achieve and you are full of optimism. Of course, this excitement is likely to come with a lot of nerves and caution. There is no guarantee in the slightest that this business is going to succeed. However, you have to remain hopeful and positive.
Getting off to a good start is important for your new business. After all, there is a good chance you put a lot of money into this startup. So, you want to start trying to make that back as soon as you can. Hitting the ground running is essential for a new business. So, you should be trying to do everything you can to make that happen. If you need some advice on how to attain that, consider the following.
Teamwork is an essential part of any company, group, or organisation. Of course, when you are a new company, there is a good chance that you are all a group of strangers. Opening your doors on the first day with no sense of teamwork is going to end in disaster. This is why it is going to be good to start some team building well in advance of your opening date. This means that when it does come to the time to open your doors, you are all familiar with one another. Although team-building exercises can at times seem childish, they are going to help out a lot. When there is a sense of unity within your staff, this helps you to get through a tough opening period, as well as improves the start of your new journey.
Your marketing strategy should come well in advance of your opening date. This helps to generate a lot more excitement for when that big opening day does come. Get active on social media and build up a following. Having countdowns to the big day might seem like a small thing to do. However, it is going to make it feel like a big occasion. Even when it comes to the likes of nonprofits, you are going to want to get people excited about your cause. Nonprofit fundraising software can help out with this massively. Having this sort of strategy is going to get people more engaged with your cause.
Hosting a launch gives your startup the opening that it deserves. Not to mention it gives your potential consumers something to look forward to. An opening event should feel like a big deal. After all, it is going to be the start of a new journey for you and your team. Having a DJ, food, deals, etc all give people a reason to come and check out your new company. This is also going to give an extra edge to your marketing, which is something you should strive for.
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