Building any startup is a difficult painstaking process. But the challenge is even greater for those venturing into the engineering sphere. With large firms capturing a considerable amount of the market, it takes great effort to get a foot in the door and realistically compete for business.
For starters, you are unlikely to be successful if you do not find a way to stand out from leading players. In addition, the difference between success and failure comes down to seemingly insignificant missteps. We look at a number of tips that can increase your chances of success.
1. Build a Website
As a startup, you probably don’t have the vast amounts of money needed to set up a physical presence in every location you’d want to be in like the big guys. But you can develop a web presence which can be just as effective.
Nearly all adults in the developed world (and the majority now in the developing world) are regular internet users. Your website is the place people can learn more about your business, see your past work and lodge enquiries. You no longer need to go to where prospective customers are; they can interact with your business irrespective of where they are.
Of course, not just any website will do. Take the time to develop one whose quality accurately represents your brand. Remember, your site should display correctly on both mobile devices and desktop computers.
2. Harness Social Media
When it comes to social media, many engineering firms have taken a conservative approach and are slow to dive in. There’s valid reason for this. Social media is often seen as best suited for FMCGs. While this may have been true in years past, that has rapidly changed thanks to the growing share of millennials in the working age population and managerial roles.
Of all social media platforms, LinkedIn will perhaps be the most important for engineering startups. It has half a billion active members and is the largest public database of professionals in the world. It’s a great tool for networking and learning.
By having an active personal and business profile on LinkedIn, you will grow your industry clout and increase the odds of attracting work. While Facebook has a more casual feel, it cannot be ignored. It has a much wider reach than LinkedIn. Connect with people and they are likely to be your clients in future or refer someone else.
3. Set Hiring Standards
You may start your business alone but it’s not possible nor practical for you to do everything on your own indefinitely. At some point, you’ll have to hire temporary or permanent staff, or outsource some tasks to a third party. Startups don’t have the luxury of deep pockets so it’s not uncommon for them to hire frantically without giving the process much thought.
Such quick-fire hiring may save time and money in the short-term but is counterproductive over the long-term. Poor workmanship could permanently damage your brand even before your business gets off the ground. Even top-notch employee scheduling tools like Humanity cannot undo the damage a flawed hiring process would cause.
Startups don’t have any past reputation to fall back on and reassure customers when they err. Ergo, get your hiring right from the get go. Each addition to the team must have skill and personality that is consistent with your desired goals. Develop a minimum set of requirements all candidates must satisfy before they are hired.
4. Cut Your Costs
Low revenue is one of the biggest disadvantages startups have over more established players. On the other hand, startups have significant advantages when it comes to expense flexibility. You can minimize waste and slash spending in ways that a larger entity cannot.
For example, you don’t have to rent expensive office space. Working from home may suffice in the beginning. Don’t accumulate too big a stock of supplies. Only buy what you need. Turn the power off when not in use. The money you save from cutting costs can be applied to activities that actually grow the business.
Growing a startup isn’t for the fainthearted but the above tips can help make your task that much easier.