Start-Up Office
Established businesses can learn lots from Start-Ups

What can big brands learn from the start-up community during times of scarcity?

As a global community, we are uniting to halt the spread of the pandemic, to support healthcare workers and the most vulnerable among us. Marketeers have a responsibility to keep the economy going. Supported in the UK by the government’s fiscal lifeboats, it must be our ambition to come out of this fighting and avoid any darker repercussions. The situation we currently find ourselves in, is one of limited resources. We are managing restrictions across finance, time and practical supplies, and taking on additional responsibilities such as teaching, childcare and domestic work. So, how do we maximise the ROI on our commercial time, energy and focus? There are many lessons to be learnt from the nimble start-up community, who are experts in pivoting product and focus via restricted means;

  1. Listen to what your customer needs and optimise your product accordingly. If you run a service business, explore what content you can make available online, from recordings to live sessions. The world is undergoing a seismic shift - those who have who never used video conferencing find themselves relying on it for their morning yoga class, coaching session or doctor’s appointment. It’s time to accelerate into that change.

  2. In times of scarcity, adopt an abundance mindset. Reappraise your market and examine which opportunities are now available to you. Consider TV advertising, traditionally the heartland of big brands due to high entry costs but currently trading at 50% of the price due to increased viewing and decreased revenue. Globally, advertisers are considering whether to pull spend and go dark during this period. This will allow those with relevant products such as food, eComm and home fitness an opportunity to command an increased share of voice and shine during this period.

  3. Use your tools. There are many low-cost tools available on the market to help with automation and maximise the time you can spend investing in strategic tasks, such as new product development, web build and business growth opportunities. Audit where your time is being spent right now and see if a system such Canva, Hubspot, Xero or Mettrr can make processes more efficient and free up resource for where it is needed most.

  4. Support your network. Every entrepreneur knows the importance of connections and providing a foot hold for each other on the way to the top. Now more than ever it’s time to pool resources and work out who you can support during this time period. Whether it’s a case of paying your invoices early or working on content partnerships to pool social audiences, we are stronger together.

  5. Host free online webinars, podcasts or Q&A sessions Whether it’s alone, with your team or with professionals from other startups. Online event, webinar, podcast, YouTube video, Q&A, be sure to give advice based on your expertise and help people stay motivated

  6. Understand your investment opportunities and bring in experts on a project basis. As a business owner, you cannot be expert in all areas. The most successful entrepreneurs know when to bring in specialists to accelerate growth or minimise risk whether legal, time or opportunity. These can be via specialist agencies, freelance platforms such as lawbite, Gigster or virtual support through onlinejobs.ph.

  7. Invest in yourself When you have automated all that you can, understand that your own personal growth is your true business equity. Take time to read, learn, attend virtual conferences. It will pay back in spades by updating your own operating system and giving you a new frame of reference to assess problems when you are back to operating at speed in your normal day to day.

  8. Prep for the future As online media consumption goes up 71% (Kantar) understand that your audience are craving interesting, uplifting content. Write blogs, plan your social media calendar, define your posting strategy and tone of voice. Understand that this investment of time of resources will live on in years to come, boosting your SEO and brand equity.

Being an entrepreneur means getting it right 65% of the time but moving at 3x the speed of everyone else. By supporting the economy, community and leaning into this crisis, brands have the opportunity to pivot out of it and ensure that it is not the pandemic that defines 2020 but our collective response to it.

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