Economies are diversifying across continents and countries. In the Philippines, entrepreneurship is undeniably on the rise, and anyone who has the right mix of tools and guts can now more easily get a share of the pie. While “Startup Founder / Co-founder” titles have become cool badges for the young entrepreneurs, many of these title-holders soon realize that it’s much harder to actually sustain the role.
The challenges to entrepreneurship were quickly recognized by the business community, which gave way to the creation of a whole ecosystem around startups. Essential tools and resources are now becoming more accessible, helping entrepreneurs shorten the learning curve and realize profits much faster. The quick list of resources below can help startups “jump” smarter into an increasingly competitive and complex business environment.
1. Maximizing Rich “How-To” Content from the Internet
While creating and growing a business may be tough, many entrepreneurs around the world who took the entrepreneurship risks in the early 2000s have made it through the initial rough stages, and are willingly sharing what they learned through online channels. Before the internet age, entrepreneurs absorbed a lot of risks by gambling with uncertainties and with little to no prior knowledge of market situations. Today, those who have made it through the birth pains of starting a business have created tons of content and are even organizing it as training courses, making it available online through learning libraries such as lynda.com. These internet-based learning content cover a wide range of topics, from “how to survive in the first 365 days as a startup” to “coding my first email campaign”, to “preparing my first sales pitch”, etc. If an entrepreneur is willing to open himself/herself up to self-paced learning, he/she should be assured that the internet will not fall short of useful content to get him/her through the first leg of the journey.
2. Getting Domain and Creating the Business Website
One of the most immediate requirements for a startup is to have an online presence. Having an online presence doesn’t necessarily mean having the most innovative website (unless your business offers website development and design.) It simply means being searchable, having basic information about your business easily accessible by anyone who relies on a search engine to look for any services and/or products. Gone are the days when businesses had to pay several thousands to get a simple website up and running. Several online service companies for website hosting and development have made it much easier for aspiring entrepreneurs to get their first web page online in less than a day. Sites like Wix.com made web design easy with free templates, and drag-and-drop functions. Web hosting and domain registration have also been made easy through Godaddy, Namecheap, and Hostgator.
3. Designing the Marketing Materials
Ever since potential clients and businesses have both gone online, marketing has taken center stage in contributing to lead generation by attracting the right target audience through modern and professionally designed marketing materials. Similar to web development, content creation and graphic design have also been made accessible to entrepreneurs through platforms such as Canva and Contently. Startups could further streamline the production process by not only outsourcing the design and content, but even the project management by hiring virtual staff who can handle and monitor the production of such materials.
4. Setting-up a Basic Sales Process and Working with a Customer Relationship Management system
When startup founders develop a business model, the focus would usually be on the product and/or service creation. Sometimes, this devotion to the product could make the founder forget that, at the end of the day, the product has to sell, and that they need to have at least a basic sales process. Smart startup founders would know that they couldn’t rely on pure luck for the first few sales pitch, and that the business has to have at least a basic sales cycle to aid in revenue forecasting and projections. Instead of using the good old spreadsheets, CRM tools such as Salesforce make it easier for startups to manage their first database of customers, tracking every action from the first time the customer interacts with the website, to scheduling the first meeting, down to closing the sale. Start-ups can learn more about this tool for free through Trailhead.
5. Moving into Coworking Spaces and Getting the Right Support
While working from home seems like a logical move for a bootstrapping entrepreneur, smart startup teams should consider investing on seats in coworking spaces. Doing business within these energetic environments have shown unconventional benefits for the lone founders and their small teams, such as meeting like-minded support groups, and providing industry-standard office systems within budget. These growing chains of flexible workspaces offer immediate space solutions, reliable network and IT back support, and multi-purpose facilities to entrepreneurs with different budgets and requirements.
KMC Solutions, the Philippines’ leading provider of flexible coworking spaces and serviced offices, has even gone above and beyond its business’ purpose by offering a one-of-a-kind opportunity for startups through its Space For Ingenious (SFI) Program. The company celebrated the opening of the biggest Flexible Workspace in the Philippines to date, KMC Solutions partnered with Impact Hub, a global community specializing in incubation programs and business development workshops, and offered selected innovative startups six (6) months of free occupancy at Cyber Sigma along with intensive business development mentorship. Such an opportunity could propel startups to even greater heights by giving them direct access to the right support systems and mentorship.
On a related note, the Space for Ingenious Program has been renewed for a second round of applications. For interested startups, visit the website here.
These assets are just some of the most vital tools to succeed in a complex business landscape. If start-up teams use these resources with perseverance, grit, and patience, they could have bigger chances of developing a highly sustainable business which can withstand the challenges of a dynamic global market.
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