The startup world has allowed companies founded and run from garages to become household names. Amazon brings in as much money annually as some countries in the world. The competition in a variety of industries could not be more intense due to the potential for immense financial gain. The startup world is fast-paced and requires long hours at times along with the sacrifice of work-life balance in many cases. Tightening up certain areas of your startup can allow a much smaller company in terms of cash flow to compete. The following are important areas that need to be improved to compete with larger companies in your startup’s business niche.
Communication within the organization is going to be important as it is with current clients. Failure to communicate that a deadline is tight can lead to the dissolution of that business relationship. Keeping clients informed is likely half of the battle as going radio silent a few days before a deadline is going to lose the startup client. Make sure that you are communicating with clients on a weekly or monthly basis to go over work that has been done or orders that have been fulfilled. Below are a few tips for monthly client calls:
· Setting an agenda is important as clients or account managers can get off-topic.
· Send a recap email after the call about everything that was discussed. This is especially important if changes are occurring after the call.
· Do not upsell on every call but rather do this as a client’s contract is coming close to an end. Pushing for a contract extension a year away from the contract’s conclusion might seem pushy or even off-putting.
Collaboration between employees, contractors, and stakeholders is essential. Building cloud applications using a container registry by JFrog can allow for different people to work on the project and to maintain security throughout. Furthermore, the cloud has made it seamless when it comes to the collaboration of different employees. Knocking out sales calls from the same sheet or allowing developers to work together is important. Larger companies have had years to work on their collaboration methods so it is time to shrink the gap!
The moment a salesperson reaches out to a potential customer is when their experience begins. Make sure the sales team understands there is a huge difference between being pushy and persistent. A smooth transition is going to be needed from the sales process to that of account management or customer service. Keeping detailed notes of each interaction with the client is going to be imperative. The last thing anyone at the company wants to do is rehash a topic or service that the client has declined in the recent past.
A startup can do more in terms of making a customer feel valued than a nameless/faceless corporation. Small things like birthday notes or even gifts for long-term clients should be considered. As long as the services/products are high-quality and affordable, a customer is not going to go with a competitor. Personal rapport cannot be stressed enough. People/businesses like to work with a company where they have a contact that they like.
Optimization of Processes
Larger companies are going to have far more in terms of resources so the optimization of processes is imperative. Being able to complete work for less money will help boost productivity. This allows a startup to compete and take on larger projects/orders monthly. Utilizing the right project management platform can allow a startup to identify a process slowing production down.
Automation is important and with technological improvements, plenty of processes can be automated. Automation is important as it reduces hours of labor and eliminates the possibility of human error. Assess current processes and change them incrementally as a complete revamp is rarely the answer. Below are a few other tips that will assist in the optimization of processes:
· Ask current staff as they might have tips or understand the process better than a founder of the startup.
· Look for tools that will assist online that can be integrated with the technology the company is currently using.
· Freelancers can be a great resource to handle certain tasks like data entry rather than paying an employee in-house to do this tedious work.
Technology has allowed smaller startups to compete for huge contracts with the juggernauts of their industry. You are going to have to be flexible as a founder or employee as startups need to adjust to the market. Putting a focus on the customer or the local population is going to be important. Do not shy away from competing with a larger company as underdogs win numerous times against much larger companies.