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The New Playbook: Startups in 2020 Are Entering a Business Landscape the Likes of Which We've Never Seen

For whatever reason, startups look like a lot of fun from the outside looking in. Sure, nothing really compares to carving out a new niche and watching your revenue and identity soar, but this comes with a lot of hard work, made harder still with no playbook available to those venturing outside of the box. If you are about to embark on a new business trajectory or have been floundering in startup land for a little while now, here is how you can gain control and move toward a plan that spells success, whatever that looks like for you.

Leverage efficient software

Not surprisingly, we are going to start with technology, specifically software that takes away the manual processes and adds efficiency where it is desperately needed. If your inspiration is being zapped by trying to work out single touch payroll and how to put together a roster or timesheet - outsource that to a provider who can minimise friction and award you those hours back for more important issues. You can also use software to sharpen your communication flow with your team who may be in-house or remote. There is a myriad of workflow options you can explore, each of them providing instant chat, file sharing, task management and assignment and much more.

Consider a mentor or coach

Many successful leaders will pin their growth on the guidance of a coach or a mentor, allowing them to understand what needs to be a priority and operate under the anecdotal and experienced leadership. You don’t need to look within your vertical for a mentor or coach, you can seek wisdom from a leader that operates in another industry sector entirely, and you may even choose someone living in a different state who corresponds with you by phone or video call. It’s really up to you to design the relationship you want and decide how much of the advice you use and learn from. When choosing a coach or mentor, be very clear on what your business objectives are; finding investors, becoming publicly listed, expanding internationally - whatever you are striving for.

Let data drive you in the right direction

It might not feel like it, but you do have many more tools at your disposal than an entrepreneur may have had a decade ago. Data is and will continue to be the force that informs your sales and marketing direction, as well as educating you on who your audience is. Whatever industry your startup operates in, attracting and converting an audience should be your goal. Tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Business Manager will help flesh out your customer avatar and identify the age and gender mix of your audience, as well as their interests and what device they consume their content on. With this information, you can translate your product and service into a language that resonates with them, assisting your conversion and awareness targets.

Understand and be an active voice in your market

In years gone by you could have got away with running your business without so much as a subscription to an industry publication. These days, your customers and clients want to know that you are walking the talk and an active voice in the market. That said, as a budding startup, you should want to be striving for this regardless of the conversion it may yield. If you operate in the financial sector, add to the commentary surrounding royal commissions into banking. If you work in the health industry, be a part of legislation change that makes healthcare more accessible.

Keeping your finger on the pulse will give you a heightened level of empathy for your end-user, and it will likely improve your offering now that you are ingrained in the fabric of that market and have a sense of what they want and need. With today’s technology, it’s so easy to put your voice and message out there - on your website, by a LinkedIn article, guest blogging, social media and various email communications. The choice of channel is yours.


There is no playbook that covers the many nuances of a startup, this is uncharted territory after all. Fear not, you have many more tools at your disposal that can engineer sustainable success if you invest your time in the right initiatives. Remember to deploy the ‘benefits assessment’ before you make any big decisions - how does this benefit my business and my end-user?

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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