7 Tips for Early-age Startups to Get Traction that Multiplies! No matter what you're offering, narrow down your focus on a certain set of consumers, or a particular industry - and maximize your efforts for it
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
There are two restaurants side by side that serve the same cuisine. One of them is swarming with customers, and the other is relatively empty. Where will you head for lunch?
You might have a great product or service that you're proud of. You might have well-optimized processes, clear goals and a great team in place to help you get there. But nothing is more attractive to customers and investors, than seeing TRACTION. In order to fall in love with you, people need to see how much you're already loved.
So what can early age startups do to get a good momentum in market adoption?
Here are 7 tips that worked for us!
Offer a Pastry, Build the Trust: Since our days as cave-men & women, we have been averse to taking risks. We are no different today. Reducing entry-barriers to trial is a great way to get your first customers on board. Actively look for ways to take out the RISK of trying you out. They don't have to buy the entire cake, maybe they can choose to buy a pastry first? Lower budgets are also easier to get approvals for in big companies! Proactively recommend that they start with a smaller bite of whatever it is that you're offering, and build their trust with it! It doesn't matter if you don't make any money from your first set of clients. Be hungry for more work and more opportunities to show the world the value you bring.
Put a Garland of Money around Your Clock: Okay, not literally! But remember that TIME is the most important currency you have, especially in your first year of life. Focus all processes and people to optimize the time taken to do things. As your company grows this gets tougher to do. The secret to getting traction is to remember that the real money is in people coming back for more! The sooner they complete the process of trying you, the quicker they will be able to return for more! So keep trial-periods quick to close.
Stop Focusing on Results: Yes, you heard that right! Truth is, we can't always control results. What we can do is control our everyday actions and processes that are most proven to deliver those results. Disappointments will come and go. Happiness will come and go as well. It's important to not let either of them distract you from ensuring consistent actions. Actions could be as small as ensuring you make 3 follow up phone calls, send out weekly newsletters, or do something special for 1 customer every day! The actions just need to be well-defined, measurable, and consistent! Even map your Team rewards to behaviours you want to see, vs. just results delivered. It keeps the focus on Growing at the speed of the actions you complete.
Catch Tadpoles First: Don't overlook smaller companies that can truly benefit from the value you bring, but may or may not be able to afford you at market-price. For starters, they make a great playing ground to test and learn on various ideas and processes. But more importantly, you can take the success-stories of work you have done here, to attract the big fish who constantly need proof of concept before investing.
Make ONE bigger than five: With a limited amount of resources and time at your disposal, you are better off showing tremendous growth in ONE segment of choice, vs. average growth across segments. So no matter what you're offering, narrow down your focus on a certain set of consumers, or a particular industry - and maximize your efforts for it. Getting one client in a certain segment leads to a lot more clients within that same segment. You only need to showcase traction in the playground you voluntarily choose to play in.
Don't forget your Free Marketing Coupons: Nothing is more powerful than a recommendation from a peer you trust. Don't hesitate to ask each of your clients or customers for at least 5 recommendations they can make to other colleagues and friends. Think of every time you close a client or customer, as 5 imaginary "free marketing' coupons in your kitty that you need to remember to use. I call them coupons to make them feel more tangible than they otherwise are. For each referred client that comes on board, you get 5 more marketing coupons that you need to remember to activate. This is how traction multiplies.
Believe in the Power of Good karma: Doing Good attracts more good! Look to see if you can integrate a good cause to the proposition you offer. People love to be part of a larger purpose, and especially a cause they care about. Girl Child education? Pet Adoption? Senior homes? Find a cause that resonates with you and ties into the proposition you offer. Re-directing some of your funds to a meaningful cause starts an energy-cycle in your favour. Nothing drives momentum to a business, more than the right energy pumped into it.
The best part about traction is that it's contagious. Work towards getting a good momentum started, and soon enough other pieces begin to fall in place on their own.