start up

As a start-up, you have roughly a 50% chance of making it to your fifth birthday. While a good deal hinges on your key product or service, there are plenty of other factors which will dictate your success. It’s crucial you use all the tools and tactics at your disposal to give your business the best chance of establishing itself for the long term.

Here’s a recipe for success that will yield a business that does not come with an expiry date…


  • Audience insight
  • Content
  • Social media
  • SEO
  • Lead nurturing

Granted, they don’t look that appetising on paper, but once you put them all together you will be left with a business that your audience gobble up.


Step 1: Obtain audience insight

Arguably the most important ingredient for making a successful business is audience insight. It is your audience insight which will dictate the make-up and DNA of your goods and services, how you market them and where you sell them. By getting to know your audience as best you can, you will be able to create, market and sell your brand with a fair bit of certainty, knowing that it is right in the sweet spot of customers’ wants and needs.

You should try and get as specific and granular as possible with your audience insights, helping to build a clear picture of what they look like and how they go about their life.

Here are some tips for obtaining that detailed audience insight:

  • Interview customers
  • Talk to colleagues about customers
  • Look at who is visiting your website and how they go there
  • Identify trends in your audience’s engagements on social media
  • Look at what your competitors are doing to appeal to customers
  • Read third-party research about what makes your customers tick

Step 2: Put your insight into action

Once you are happy with your audience insight – you feel like you know all there is to know about your those who might be interested in what your start-up has to offer – it’s time to put that knowledge into action.

Marketing is a forever-evolving practice, but certain tactics have proven themselves to be very effective, time and time again, at building up a business’ presence and helping develop a solid customer base.

It’s important to remember that it’s not just your audience you’ve got to get on the right side of – you also want to get in the good books of the search engines, so that when consumers look for a product or service like the one you are offering, yours is the brand they navigate towards.

Content marketing is a great way of showing your business to be authentic and credible – two qualities that people place a high value on.

The content you create can be shared on social media, where your audience will likely be spending a sizeable proportion of their lives – with video content, in particular, a great fit for the platform.

Meanwhile, the more high-quality content you create (and is shared by your audience), the higher up in searching engine rankings your business will feature. Generally, the websites that appear higher up in the results will get more traffic to their pages, and so potentially more business.

Step 3: Nurture those leads

Not everybody who comes across your business will be ready to make a purchase there and then. These ‘leads’ will need nurturing and guided through each stage of the buyer’s journey, so that when they are ready to make a purchase, your business is the one they turn to.

Email marketing is a great way of nurturing leads, as it allows you to regularly feed your audience content based where they are in the buyer’s journey – it’s this personalisation that can prove crucial when trying to convert leads.

Step 4: Stay organised

From accounting software (such as QuickBooks) for helping keep on top of your books, to customer relationship management software for helping you stay on track with leads, there are so many tools available to entrepreneurs these days, which are designed to make your life easier and more efficient.

At the end of the day, if you can’t stay organised and on top of the day-to-day running of your business, you’re not going to have the time to push your brand to new audiences. So, it’s important you take the time to find the tools that will help you focus on making your business a success.

This is very much an ‘easy’ recipe for building a successful business; there are other ingredients you can add to make your brand more enticing – like TV advertising and newspaper ads – but trying to use them all at once, straight from the off, will likely see you biting off more than you can chew.

With your typical start-up budget in mind, you should focus on the ingredients you can make work right now – the ones which won’t cost you and arm and a leg and don’t have the potential to spoil a proven recipe for success.

Keep things simple at the start – you can get a bit more experimental once you’ve mastered the basics.