Does Your Web Business Face One Of These Common Problems?

Forbes Publication

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It’s important to do what you love, or at least to find a way to derive pleasure from whatever it is you do to earn a living. But at the end of the day, if your business isn’t making ends meet, you’ve got a problem. A lot of people come to me for business advice and, most of the time, the problem lies in one of three areas: marketing, messaging and traffic.

Here, we’ll discuss common problems in these three areas and how to fix them.

Marketing Problems

• Leads and traffic: This could be a quality problem. If your content isn’t drawing clicks, you need to step up your game. Start by conducting research to find out what your audience wants.

• Insufficient return on investment (ROI): If your marketing efforts aren’t paying for themselves, you have a problem. If meeting your financial needs isn’t the problem, consider curtailing your spending. Otherwise, finding alternate hosting options or new partners might be called for.

• Budgeting: If you’ve nailed down exactly what you need to be spending on marketing, but you just can’t draw away enough funds from other assets to pay for it, something needs to be adjusted. Like ROI problems, you can try making money-saving changes. But better marketing is probably the real solution in the long run. Try turning your attention to your messaging efforts. We’ll discuss this more below.

Website management: Most companies have a website because it’s necessary to do business. If managing your web site is too time-consuming or isn’t your cup of tea, you could go with a full-service hosting provider. They sometimes have prefab site templates you can use. Another solution is to hire a web development professional. This doesn’t have to be terribly expensive, and you can ask a developer to deliver a product that’s designed to be easy to maintain by a novice user.

Messaging Problems

• Inconsistent or insufficient branding: Major brands discovered long ago that the purpose of branding is to make people feel that your brand is a person, a simple and consistent person who’s behavior is trustworthy and predictable. Think of Walt Disney. Disney has a very consistent branding profile. People know what to expect from Disney. It could be that your brand messaging does not communicate a simple, attractive and consistent brand image. If that’s the case, create a “branding bible” for your company. Another solution is to have all your content and marketing done by the same person.

• Failure to communicate your value proposition: If your audience doesn’t know what makes you special, then they might as well go to the next company that has a similar product or service. Make sure your messaging and branding clearly explain why you are different. It may be that you’re less expensive, offer better quality or superior service, and so on.

• Content quality issues: These days, your content should not consist only of advertisements. You need to give your audience information that they want or need. If your content does not entertain or educate, it’s not doing its job and it won’t draw clicks.

Traffic Problems

If your website isn’t drawing traffic, that’s a problem. If it’s not due to one of the problems mentioned above, then the fix might be pretty straightforward.

• Search engine optimization (SEO): If you’ve spent more than a minute looking into advertising online, you’ve heard of SEO. SEO is about researching terms that are proven to attract clicks to merchants in your industry. SEO is a full-time job. If you’re new to it, consider contacting the professionals.

• Too little or stagnant content: If your blog isn’t active enough, Google might give you a low search rank. Advertisers don’t like having their ads on inactive sites, so make sure you update your blog at least once a week. I recommend that posts be at least 750 words in length.

• Been to Quora?: Quora is still a great place to answer questions for people seeking advice from experts. Whatever your profession is, you’re sure to know many things about it that outsiders aren’t privy to. Congratulations, that means you’re an expert. By answering questions relevant to your industry, you’re advertising your expertise to a new audience. Quora isn’t the only Q&A site, but it’s a good place to start.

At the end of the day, as long as you’re plugging away at these common problem areas, you’ll make progress. Just put in a full day’s work and stay under budget — you’ll be A-okay.

Original Post: https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2019/10/02/does-your-web-business-face-one-of-these-common-problems/#687ef269387e

Survival Of The Fittest: How To Overcome Common Startup Problems

FORBES Publication

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Creating a company that is not only going to survive but thrive is difficult. However, with a certain combination of elements, strong willpower and the right information, you can create a business that will stand the test of time.

Lack of funding is one of the biggest issues that new companies face, but other issues include product-market fit, not properly defining a custom problem and HR/people problems between founders and team members.

As a startup founder, I’d like to dive into each of these problems and lay out how startup founders can mitigate these issues to help ensure their companies survive and thrive.

Product-Market Fit

To start a successful business, you must offer a product or service that is sellable and that fits into a market, either niche or mainstream. You can have a product or a service that is fantastic and that you have spent years thinking up and developing, but without a proper market, it will be extremely difficult to secure investors who share your vision.

Consider this: 42% of businesses failed because there was no market need for them, according to 2014 CB Insights data. So, here are some key ways to determine whether or not you have product-market fit.

• Talk to your target audience via customer surveys to determine if there’s a need for your product or service.

• Make sure that the value proposition you’re proposing will address the current and future needs of your customers.

• Look for investors who not only want to sell your product but also invest in its development.

Defining A Custom Problem

Unless your product solves one specific problem, it will be difficult to justify why an investor should throw their hard-earned money into your idea. Your product needs to serve a purpose and, again, be sellable in order for investors to see that it has potential.

Investors need to know that you’ve considered not only the viability of your product, but also ways your product could evolve. Ask yourself what assumptions you’re making and whether you’ve validated your assumptions.

• Have you proven that your audience needs it?

• Have you explored (or considered) other ideas?

• Have you mitigated risks to ensure product success and return on investment?

People Problems

Yet another issue you may face involves your co-founder(s). Often, when one founder comes up with an idea and the other wants to go a different way, you may have trouble coming to a consensus about what you to do with the company.

• Write out all your ideas related to the topic in question on a whiteboard and determine the areas where you agree.

• If disagreements escalate, consider bringing in a consultant to facilitate open and honest discussion with your co-founder and perhaps your leadership team as well.

According to the same CB Insights data, 23% of companies failed due to having the wrong team. It is always best to take the time to get on the same page and to try to find a common goal and direction for the company.

• Remember, you’re a team.

• Create an environment where every person’s opinion is valued and appreciated.

• Set aside the time in your busy schedules for team meetings.

• Make effective communication a cornerstone of your company’s culture.

Lack Of Funding

Lack of funding is one of the hardest things for a company to overcome and many simply do not find the investors they need in order to thrive, let alone survive. Thousands of aspiring companies offer similar products. It is your job as a founder to make sure your company is the one that stands out. You must capture the eye, and the pocketbook, of the right investor to help your company succeed.

The key is to collect the proper metrics:

• Revenue generation

• What affects revenue generation

• Features that will drive growth and revenue generation

The goal is to improve the perceived value of your company to heighten its appeal to investors. Finding investors is the next step, which is easier if you know where to look.

• Contact companies that you admire and ask for advice. You may get a better response than if you come right out and ask for money.

• Develop relationships at networking events, conferences and more; you just might find an investor who is interested in your company and eager to invest.

Taking the time to create a strong base is the fastest way to get sound investors and make sure that your company will stand the test of time.

Will a New Hire Work Out? 6 Signs to Watch For

Recruiter Publication

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Today’s Question: After 90 days, you should have a good idea whether a new employee will work out. What is the top trait you look for in new hires when evaluating whether to keep them on board? Why is that trait particularly important?

The answers below are provided by members of YEC Next, an invitation-only community for the world’s most promising early-stage entrepreneurs.


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1. Passion and Motivation

Passion is about believing in your idea. Passion creates a drive to persevere when you are tired, commitment when things look bleak, and conviction to make an idea a reality. Motivation is key to us. We want to know what motivates employees. That way, I can get to know their aspirations better and understand what they are bringing to the business.

Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

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2. A Proactive Nature

Is this person doing the minimum to get by, or are they doing their job and then one thing above that? It’s the people who are proactive who help you get your business to the next level. You can see this in their words. Do they actually care and ask questions that go deeper than simply doing a task?

Jim Huffman, Growthhit

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3. Commitment to the Mission

We’re a small startup, so it’s incredibly important that every core member of our team is completely committed to the mission, vision, and values of our company. We’ve seen that this level of commitment can determine whether or not someone is willing to stay late or work on the weekend in order to complete a necessary task or solve a crucial problem. Beyond ability, complete buy-in is crucial.

Kyle Wiggins, Keteka

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4. Having ‘GWC’

I’d have to use ideas from How to Be a Great Boss by Gino Wickman. There really have to be three things, not one. They have to “GWC”: Get it, want it, and have capacity. They need to understand the job they have to do, they have to want to do it, and they need the mental/physical capacity to do it. If any of those three are missing after the first 90 days, they are likely not the one for the job.

Ryan Meghdies, Tastic Marketing, Inc.

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5. Impressing Others

The top trait I look for is if this person continues to impress others with their behavior. Good people will continue to impress you by going the extra mile, reminding you of top priorities, and getting things done faster and better than you expected. If the new employee is simply getting things done at expectation, that’s likely not good enough.

James Hu, Jobscan

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6. Attitude and Aptitude

It all comes down to attitude and aptitude, two traits that are paramount for a successful workforce. The attitude speaks for itself; no client or customer wants to deal with a disgruntled person, and neither do coworkers. As for aptitude, the ones constantly pushing themselves to learn new areas of your business are the ones who will help you scale quicker and smoother.

Ron Lieback, ContentMender