In the early days of a business venture, it can feel as though you’re perpetually coming up against obstacles and dead ends. Yet it’s reassuring to remember that very few of the world’s biggest brands enjoyed smooth sailing to the success they enjoy today. To be sure, companies from all manner of categories including Instagram, Patagonia, Lonely Planet and Ben & Jerry’s all had times when they thought their business had died before it had time to flourish.
If you feel your startup is struggling, find comfort that you’re in good company and try the following steps to overcome your current hardships.
Look for collaborations
During difficult times in your business, it’s easy to lose sight of the skills you have and the knowledge you’ve got propelling you forward. As such, partnering with another individual, team or company may help you reappraise the talents you do have, as well as being able to learn new ways of thinking and working.
Collaboration is a proven way to:
You could look to collaborate with a company within the same sector as you, to see how you can aid each other in your ambitions. Better still, try and partner with a team who has radically different interests to your own — as long as your values and ethos are similar, you may find you’ll learn a great deal from them in ways you wouldn’t have imagined.
Take inspiration from other startups
As a company, you’d benefit from having ‘mentor brands’ that you look up to and turn to in times of strife. Indeed, there’s much to learn from similar enterprises; from how they finally got their big break, to how they manage cash flow and recruitment, you should take inspiration from others who are paving the way.
Follow trends and let them stimulate you
You needn’t scramble to respond to every industry or consumer trend that comes to fruition, yet having a keen understanding of the commercial trends shaping your industry will be crucial.
Looking into 2018, expect fintech, Artificial Intelligence and other technological advancements to be major features in 2018’s most successful businesses according to Sage. How can your brand benefit from these trends? Is there a natural fit, or will you need to collaborate with another startup to deliver against consumers’ needs this year?
Walk away from creative blocks
There’s no greater false economy than attempting to break through creative blocks while sat in front of a blank piece of paper, empty Word document or wall of Post-It notes. As any creative will attest, often you need to walk away from challenges that seem unconquerable and allow the magic of creative thought to take over.
Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger experienced this: they claim a simple walk along the beach in Mexico finally brought to light the idea to include filters in their photo sharing app. These filters went on to become Instagram’s biggest unique selling point, and vital to its success.
In order to progress, you must believe that your startup will overcome its current struggles. Ensure you’ve done all the research and insight hunting you need to truly understand your product and audience. Then, use the above steps to allow your creativity to flourish.