Top 5 business tips for 2021

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There is no doubt that 2020 has been a rollercoaster for startups. Although Covid-19 may have forced some industries to pivot completely, others have managed to thrive. And you may still think within an entrepreneurial mindset to build a new startup or to grow your existing one. Earlier, I shared with you how a startup could survive in such a pandemic as COVID-19. For now, here are 5 business tips that will help you stand up through the journey.

Top 5 business tips for 2021

1- Enhance your digital marketing strategy

As more than 50% of humans in the world use social media, you should build an online presence for your startup. And to do so, you must have a solid marketing strategy. The digital marketing plan helps your business achieve specific digital goals through carefully selected online marketing channels such as paid, earned and owned media.
You are probably asking yourself – how I can enhance my online presence on social media platforms? Well, all you need to take care of are the following points:

  1. Identify Your Market and Target Audience: This is the first and most important social marketing strategy you should do when promoting your startup. For more help in this, you can check the ‘How to define your target market and target audience in 2021’ guide from Oberlo.
  2. Pick Out The Right Platform: According to the stats, the average person has 7 social media accounts. But there will always be one platform that your customers use the most. Identify this by doing your research and getting to know your customers.
    Related articles: How to Find the Most Profitable Social Media Platform For Your Business
  3. Post Content Regularly: Content can help startups to drive growth, and regularity is key to becoming successful in social media marketing. Posting content regularly will add credibility to your brand’s name, keep you connected with your existing customers, and help you attract more customers.
    The answer to how often to post on social media is questionable. And this is because each brand has its own case that can never be generalized. Jay Baer, the author of Convince and Convert says:

    The best social media publishing frequency is when it’s worthwhile.

    On the other hand, remember to post your content when audience activity is at its peak. After all, what is the point of posting content on a regular basis when your audience is not even active?

  4. Build a brand message: figure out what you want to say. Do you want to tell customers how great your product is? Do you want to tell them how your startup is adding value to society? Pick a message and go with it. And do not forget to speak to your customers in their language.

2- Digitize your service

Tech-enabled businesses are greatly valued over businesses that are not, particularly in today’s digital/online driven economy. Increasingly, we are witnessing companies that are not tech-enabled struggling to stay afloat.
After the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing being the need of the hour, many startups and SMEs have dedicated resource to stand out online.

Related articles: How to stand out online when you start a business 

It might be easier said than done, but you can do this in different ways. You can build a website or even use simple software to remotely manage your team.
Some examples from the MENA who successfully digitized their services during the last pandemic are:

  • Viavii turned the self-quarantine into fun, entertaining and educational experiences. They launched online experiences, bringing anyone and everyone online to live authentic cultural and artistic experiences, right from their living room.

Business Tips Viavii

  • Robo Desk is a customer communication platform that enables organizations to communicate with their customers effectively. They used to install the communication kit on the clients’ infrastructure but, after the current situation, they switched to a global telecommunications provider and started providing customers with fully automated call and infrastructure services remotely.

3- Team is the key resource of your company

We always say it’s who’s behind the wheel, not the car that matters. The same goes for companies and startups. Human resources are the key…
There are many causes that have more to do with corporate governance, entrepreneurial “chemistry” and simply human nature. Studies point to the failure to get the right team together as being the third cause of the demise of a startup.

If the founding team can’t create a product on its own or with a small team of helpers, they shouldn’t start up a company

How to build a team that won’t sink your startup is not the only question you should ask. How to enhance your team’s performance is also an important area that needs to be considered and focused on.

Business tips to enhance your team’s performance

  1. Communicate, and then communicate some more.
  2. Conduct company and department-wide video conferences; aim for as many as 4 times your normal rate of Stand-Ups and All Hands.
  3. Replace assurances dependent upon your physical presence with frequent words of affirmation.
  4. Use emphatic language to communicate your support and enthusiasm over calls, texts and emails.
  5. Be sure to show empathy and flexibility. That guy whose kids are now e-learning may not be as productive as before, but he’s trying his best. Show him your support, and he will become a loyal employee.

4- Data is the new oil

Business Tips DataAs Peter Sondergaard says, Information is the oil of

the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine. Data about markets, customers and products provide opportunities to upsell, cross-sell, and improve customer service and retention rates. And by using internal data in combination with external data, there is a huge opportunity for every company in the world to create new products and services across lines of business.

Here, I will dive into Internal data and share with you all that you need to know about it.

Internal Data

Internal data is information, statistics and trends that organizations discover through their operations. It includes facts and figures that companies pull from internal databases, software, customers and reports.
It may include the following:

  1. Sales trends.
  2. Customer habits.
  3. Software user trends.
  4. Operational trends.
  5. Marketing intelligence.
  6. Internal research.
  7. Results from surveys.

Gathering data on your own organization is a much more complicated phenomenon than we might suspect. Depending on your project or business report, the politics of such a project may be quite substantial.
The good point is that companies all over the world are beginning to acknowledge the importance of data, and many have started hiring data scientists for their development team. And many major corporations are already leading the way in business intelligence adoption. For example, as Wired reports, Netflix uses business intelligence and AI tools to power its recommendation system, which is responsible for over 80 percent of the content viewers choose to watch.
Amazon’s use of business intelligence is perhaps even more impressive. As Jennifer Wills explains in her ‘6 ways Amazon uses big data to stalk you’ article on Investopedia:

Amazon’s patented anticipatory shipping model uses big data for predicting the products you are likely to purchase, when you may buy them and where you might need the products. Amazon uses big data systems for choosing the warehouse closest to the vendor and/or you, the customer, to reduce shipping costs by 10 to 40 percent.

On the opposite side, unfortunately, many companies’ data infrastructure is still a cost center nowadays. Also, they do not know that they must begin treating data as an enterprise-wide corporate asset while also managing the data locally within business units.

5- Focus on your competitive advantage

One of the most important qualities for a successful entrepreneur is persistence; where he/she puts something in mind and stays focused to reach it. Elon Musk, with his continuous work & Keep working on his product, became the richest man in 2021. So, that’s the secret!
You have to focus on your competitive advantage: you promise your customers that you will deliver. A value proposition can apply to an entire organization, customer accounts, products or services.

Business tips closing

With every challenge around the corner, an opportunity arises. From 5G related startups to telehealth, these areas have seen tremendous growth—and will continue booming. Many of these startup trends have already taken off in 2020 and will continue growing tremendously in 2021.
For some, it is just the beginning and 2021 will be an exciting development year for startups, especially off the back of a shaky year. Even with many startups being forced to pivot, we have seen opportunities in many other areas, making it an exciting year!
Start the hard work now!

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Asmaa is a certified business entrepreneurship trainer and university lecturer. She holds a master's degree in business entrepreneurship from PSUT. Her experience exceeds 6 years in training startups to help individuals establish their own business in the Arab region. She also worked on big projects and with donor agencies as a business consultant to achieve their goals. Asmaa has been nominated to be a speaker in many international conferences, and she is currently setting up her own startup, Startovia.