Consistency is at the heart of business growth. Your customers will want to know what they can expect every time they interact with you and your product. This consistency has to built from the beginning through systems that don’t feel mechanical but create a good result every time. This will become your brand. At Indiegrove, every member knows that when they walk in the door they can expect to find a clean, comfortable and professional space to run their business. They know they will be greeted with a “good morning” or “hello.” They know that if they approach me I will turn my attention towards them and listen to them. And they know that every staff member will do the same. Everyone in your organization has to understand their role in the bigger picture and expectations for their output. Being a startup is not an excuse for anything. If you decide to expand or franchise down the road it will be extremely difficult to create consistency at that point. It has to be there from the beginning and it has to be good.
Simplicity in everything. Your marketing, accounting, financing, operations, customer service….everything should be as simple as possible. I test myself constantly on this principle. If I can’t explain something in my business using simple words and concepts, then it’s too complicated and it will lead to problems. This is also true when it comes to technology. A lot of people think technology is an excuse for complexity. Actually, technology is supposed to simplify things and make it easier to do something. If it doesn’t, it is not serving its purpose.
As a startup, you can’t afford to reach everyone so you have to find the people who will be your most productive customers and keep them coming back. Today’s technology allows us to track everything. For a business this is an amazing and powerful thing. You can post something online and see who looked at it, where they came from and what they care about. You can send an email with different subject lines and see which one sticks. The options are endless. Your job is to set goals for everything you do; that way you know whether something was successful or not and it’s not a guessing game. It will help you focus you resources and build loyalty with your customers. The more you measure, the leaner and more productive you will be as a growing business.
It’s often said that the customer is always right. I don’t know if I agree with that, but the customer is who will determine if you will make it or not. You have to have customers to have a business. Friends, fans, likes, followers are not the same thing as sales. You have to find and interact with the people who can and will buy your product or service. I spend a lot of my time getting to know my customers. What they like, where they go, what they read, who they listen to, where they live, how much they make… All of these things help me anticipate their needs and create a relationship with them. A good product is not enough anymore. You have to figure out what makes you different and special to your customers.