4 essential ingredients for start-up success


UK Start-up Stats

  • 60% of new businesses fail within the first 3 years
  • 90% of eCommerce start-ups fail within 4 months
  • 42% of start-ups fail mainly due to a lack of strategy/ route to market

Airbnb, Disney, Microsoft, Slack, Uber and WhatsApp. What do they all have in common? All of these businesses were born in recessions, downturns and all-round tough times. Furlough might not be forever, but it looks like folks are turning their hand to entrepreneurship; transforming their hobbies into handsome pay-checks and dusting off their old dreams.

If you’re thinking of going into business or taking your side-hustle a little more seriously – we’ve put together some do’s and don’ts to increase your chance of success.

Over the last 10 years, we’ve created, transformed, enhanced and brought start-ups to life. We’ve covered an array of sectors from food and beverages to fitness – and we’ve realised that there are some hard and fast rules which run throughout them all.

1. Strategy matters

There are two kinds of entrepreneurs. There are those who read the instructions, plan and position, but then there are those who dive straight in head-first. The latter often end up getting swept away or pulled out by a lifeguard later down the line – in other words, they end up having to rebrand, rethink and retrace their steps back to the beginning. This costs more time, more money and a big chunk of your morale.

Solid brand strategy is when research turns into insight which is then moulded to fit the values, ambitions and competitive advantages of the brand. It’s about having data to back up the plan you’re putting together – your plan to succeed. You’ll need to consider your mission, vision, values, USP’s, competition, tone of voice, messaging and more. Define all of these, wrap them up into a beautiful document and you’ve got yourself a blueprint for success.

2. The name game

Before you rush towards your library of puns, you’ll need to think a little deeper about the name of your brand. If you’re really serious about this business, then you’re expecting it to be around for many, many years – that means your name needs to be strong enough to stand the test of time. It also needs to withstand any pressure from competitors and similar brand names which are out there.

There are three strategies for naming – literal, abstract and invented. We’ll dig deeper into these in another article where we’ll focus solely on naming. From a technical point of view, you can use GoDaddy to see what domain names are available, and a quick Google search will let you know what the competition is like. You can use this UK website to check for existing and pending trademarks. Thinking bigger? Try this global trademark checker.

3. Identity and Messaging

Just like every founder has a story, every business has one too and it needs to be told through how the brand looks, feels and sounds. This isn’t an optional extra, it’s a really important part of converting visitors into loyal customers. You need to define your unique brand identity and tone of voice, before creating a strong online presence and an engaging visual style for social media. We sometimes refer to it as your ‘look and feel’, it’s the emotional experience and journey that your client gets taken on through your communications. There’s an art and a science to creating an ideal ‘look and feel’, and it needs to be tailored to your business, your personality and most importantly your audience.

Whether it’s online (website and social media) or offline (packaging, business cards etc), your brand is your permanent salesperson. It gives people an instant impression of your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That impression needs to be impactful and represent your values, personality and USPs. Many people rush into these elements of their branding and try to do it themselves using free services online, and it shows. The consumer is more informed than ever, they have countless competitors to browse through before choosing you – the finest details can make the biggest difference.

4. Website

Your online presence is vital – whether you’re launching a simple brochure website to showcase your brand and services, or a complete e-commerce store to sell your products online. Your website experience needs to be perfect across all devices (mobile and desktop). The UX needs to be smooth and seamless, enticing your audience towards your desired CTAs (calls to action). This topic is one we’ll dive into with detail in a later article. If you want to learn more about it right now, you can talk to us via [email protected]

What can you do?

If you’re starting your own business, you can lean on us to help you succeed. We’ve seen the pitfalls and potholes; we know how to avoid them. From market research, strategy and positioning through to naming, brand identity and messaging – it can really pay off to have a smart, experienced partner who’s been there and done it.

Get in touch with us via [email protected]

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