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7 Ways to Make Your Start-up Stand Out

You may know this, but there are over 55,000 start-ups today in Singapore alone, and the number is still growing. Which means start-ups are not only competing against conglomerates; their fight is with the rest of the start-ups as well. 

In a cut-throat situation like this, the best solution to rise above the competition is to stand out distinctly. Here are some tips a start-up could use to start off. 

Know what you want to say and say it out loud 

Moving forward without a clear message in mind is not a smart move. The purpose of the start-up is vital. 

Only knowing it is not enough. Reaching out to their target audience and letting them know is also necessary. 

A highly effective way to do this would be through marketing. As a member of the PR and marketing team in my start-up, the work I do is crucial. Sure, we focus on the services we offer. Without marketing it, though, we would not be able to complement our hard work and do it justice. 

In my industry of tech, there are several start-ups out there. It is a functional, planned-out marketing structure that would go a long way in setting a successful one apart.

Countless start-ups who fail to make it almost definitely did not focus on marketing themselves early on. Since the message was not sent out earlier, potential customers were left unaware and unreached. Needless to say, that does not do a company’s profitability any favours.

Shout your message out in ways that you can. The impact it can have and recognition you get can be staggering. 

Use social media 

For starters, it’s free! Social media is one of the few things in the world that does not cost you anything and yet is highly effective. With the right content, a company could be well on its way to forming its own organic customer base that they can easily communicate with. 

And these customers can communicate back. Social media channels make it very easy for them to leave any feedback they wish to, which is an asset to any start-up. From blasting emails to posting an announcement on Instagram, there are several ways for a start-up to establish contact with customers through social media. 

The collected feedback would be a significant help in telling the company what they are doing right or wrong, enabling them to make tweaks if and when needed. 

What is the real you?

Customers nowadays are big on authenticity. The same old photoshopped visuals with vibrant colours are not enough to convince them anymore. The question then arises, “What would convince them?” 

Your story would. Customers want to see beyond the sales material; they want to know what makes you…well, you. Sharing how your start-up came about, what the inspiration behind it was – your customers would feel the pull without even consciously realising it. 

This automatically sets you apart, and here is why. Everyone out there has a story, but yours is uniquely yours. All that is left to do is to use the right words to forge a connection between your company and customers through your story. 

This connection would be built on the strength of core values such as trust and a deeper understanding of the purpose of the company. When it comes down to the crucial moment of deciding, this connection may very well be the game changer that makes the customer choose you.

Create a Unique Message Based on Customer Input

For a start-up, knowing what the customers need is a key for growth. The next step is using that knowledge to create customised content for them. Keep gathering data and analysing it to try and work out your customers’ taste so you can craft out the best message. 

At the same time, tread carefully. Make sure, as best as you can, that you do not only cater to one group of customers. Not only would this make the rest of them feel unvalued, you could stray from the very fundamental quality that attracts them to you in the first place. 

Feedback questions and surveys are a great way to go about exploring your customers’ opinions. Basic questions such as “Do you find our prices affordable?” can aid in refining the product or service and best cater to this most vital stakeholder.

Honesty is the best policy

Everyone likes a great, inspiring success story. They like it even better when that story is genuine. According to poll results of top business-to-business (B2B) marketers, 54 percent of them agree that sharing real success stories is extremely effective. 

Building a relationship on untrue content or falsities can never do a start-up any good. As mentioned earlier, authenticity is what seals a good deal. A transparent, real story about how the founder dropped out of college to start his own tech company might be just the thing customers want to read. 

The customers whose values resonate with the story will form the loyal base that every start-up needs. 

What’s life without a little philanthropy?

A start-up’s place in and value to the community is of great importance to customers. If your service or a product aids the community significantly, chances are it is a huge success with the members of that community. 

The company’s dedication and concern to the people is shown, which communicates that the society matters. People get to see that even businesses can think beyond just their own well-being and offer help. 

If you want to find out the vibe or mindset of a start-up, just take a look at its team members. 

Because a start-up’s team is so small, it becomes imperative that each member must be a strong personality in whichever department they belong to. A wildly creative digital marketer or an eloquently tactful PR executive are some examples. 

A vibrant workplace helps to prop up a brand and enhance its uniqueness. This allows  the start-up make sure it is flexible enough to be able to adapt to a changing society as well.

Treat the team right 

If you managed to find the perfect digital marketer and PR executive I mentioned earlier, brilliant. Now, all you have to do is make sure they are treated well. A start-up cannot fulfil its potential without the people who make it up. Their well-being is crucial. 

Team members being emotionally cared for can translate into many positive outcomes for the start-up. Increased revenue, better branding, reduced expenses, an established customer base; the list goes on. 

To do this, start by thinking of what would make an employee want to stay. Empower them through opportunities and encourage their learning. Taking them out for a mean once a month or so would also be the kind of bonding session they would appreciate. The team’s productivity and drive would stay amped up. 

Happy people tend to spread their happiness. Once the word gets out there, more talent would see your start-up as the desirable work environment they want to be a part of. With a satisfied and adept group of people, your start-up has the best team to boost it to its success. 


Competition will always exist, but following these tips might be just what your start-up needs to be the next big thing. These six stepping stones would go a long way in taking it up the ladder of success. 

If your company is not where it wants to be, why not try these out? If you have any tips of your own, even better. Trial and error is an excellent way to figure out what works best for your company. 

Better to be a risk-taker and gleaning the possible benefits of it than staying stagnant, don’t you think? 

Education photo created by pvproductions – www.freepik.com

A Start-up’s Struggles and One Way to Overcome Them

When you are a start-up that is just starting out in this highly competitive, overpopulated-with-competition world, it is tough. Becoming the next AirBnb or Uber comes with an entire set of challenges. 

Acquiring first customers

When a speaker gives a speech, the hook is crucial. Whether or not you manage to get your audience’s attention at the very beginning is what determines how effectively your message is ready to be received. 

The same applies for a product or service. Once it is developed and out there, promotional efforts come into play. Social media becomes a significant marketing tool. The content a company puts out becomes their hook. 

Facebook, Apple, Coca Cola; their initial marketing efforts contributed greatly to their significant success today. 

There are countless products which are out there in the market, with their existences fading even before being established in the first place. A company’s first customers are crucial, because they are the people who trusted the product enough to try it. If they are appeased, a happy-turned-loyal customer is the best spokesperson any company could ask for. 

Traction

Any good driver knows what traction is, but the definition changes up slightly in the business world. Here it means the progress and momentum growth of a company alongside the growth of its business. 

There can be several reasons as to why a start-up is not getting enough traction. Just building the product is not enough. It does not guarantee that a start-up is anywhere close to success. The key – and hurdle – is making sure the company branding is oriented around the product, while giving timely and strong support to its customer base. 

If a product does not solve a problem, address a need, or even make lives easier or more entertaining – chances are, customers will not pick it up. They may not have a need for the product or may simply not be interested in using it. 

Poor presentation could be yet another factor for lack of traction. This may not just be of the product, but even the company itself. 

For instance, poor website presentation – if you run a start-up and your company’s purpose, value, and problem-solving statement cannot be effortlessly found out from your website, it is high time for it to be upgraded to include all these. 

Without a clear reason of why your product exists, the website essentially serves no actual purpose. 

The same applies to the company’s social media platforms. The best content communicates with your target audience by – for starters – telling them who you are, what you do, and what is in it for them. 

It is crucial to maintain an active social media presence by regularly updating your customers (followers) and constantly trying to engage them in interaction. Several start-ups lack in the latter aspect on their social media platforms, which is why they hardly get any interaction despite having large numbers of followers. 

Small team

Any company, big or small, cannot function without the contribution of its team; its people. Each member plays a significant role, and this is magnified when it comes to a start-up. 

Since the number of employees in a start-up generally stays in the single-digit range, there is a lot more responsibility on each member. A great deal more effort, time, energy, creativity and brain power are required to get a start-up’s wheels turning. Without any of these, forget exponentially gaining momentum; even keeping up the momentum already gained will be a tough task. 

The worst part? Despite all this, more often than not, the employees’ hard work may not even be seen or acknowledged by outsiders. It could be customers not doing their hard work justice by constantly not responding to social media posts, or it could be investors shooting down pitches so easily it is almost dishearteningly dismissive. 

Apart from that, every member needs to have an in-depth knowledge of their job scope and probably even beyond. While start-ups offer large room for learning, the work scope can seem so vast to the small team that it induces pressure as well. 

If a conflict occurs within the members, the impact is felt greatly. In order to not let it snowball and eventually affect the quality of work, the team has to resolve their conflicts and work amicably. 

Lack of results

Despite the entire team’s efforts, the chances of there being no results is high. Even after countless campaigns, posts and promo codes, the response rate can be dejectedly low. 

This in turn can induce despair in employees, because any sort of response would have at least given them a sense of direction. Without feedback – positive or negative – the members would desperately be trying to figure out what they did wrong without knowing where to start from. 

So, instead of working on tweaking their current campaign according to obtained feedback, the members will be feeling lost, directionless, and may even be going around in circles trying to figure out where to focus their efforts. 

Deadly, harmful reviews

It is difficult enough for a start-up to get the ball rolling without any sort of feedback or response from customers. Now imagine having to make a reputation for your company amidst an influx of negative reviews. 

These deadly reviews can do serious damage to even established conglomerates, so you can only imagine the endeavours a poor start-up has to go through to try and battle the impact of all the negativity. 

Kudusto.com.au founder Paul Ryan once said that this negativity could “cripple” small companies such as start-ups. 

Start-ups need to respond with carefully and intricately-chosen words to get themselves out of this mess, so that their customer base is strengthened and they can channel their time and energy on other aspects as well. 

The Solution (one of them, at least)

Here is the thing, though. Despite all the struggles that a start-up faces, there is always a solution. If there was not, then Grab and Lazada would not be where they are today. 

For my company, PHIX, our most effective solution so far has been none other than the formidable social media. 

Singapore has one of the highest social media penetration rates in the world, with over 4.7 million people being active social media users as recently as last year. That amounts to nearly three-quarters of the population. 

These statistics are astounding, and should thrill any founder and marketing team worth their value. The possibilities of using social media to build a business identity are endless. 

That is what PHIX did. We lost momentum and traction after getting hit by Covid, and we tried several ways to regain them afterward and get back to the few thousand rapid downloads and hundreds of active users we had post-catastrophe. 

But the best solution for us turned out to be social media; more specifically, influencer outreach. We worked with social media influencers by offering them a complementary service of their choice from our app, and they posted their honest reviews about it along with videos or photos of them enjoying our service on their accounts. 

The results were fruitful; with our downloads, active users and number of bookings growing at pleasantly surprising rates and instilling a sense of euphoria in us. 

PHIX is continuing to grow today, and it is all because we made use of Singapore’s high social media usage rate. The network effect of social media is so widespread and effective that the impact was almost immediate. 

Now that we have found our solution, we are going to pivot towards and expand on this aspect to ensure continued growth and success for our future as well. 

If you work in a start-up and are finding a way to overcome your struggles, this would be a great platform to expand on. 

As I said earlier, there are endless possibilities. So, you could try it our way, or experiment and find your own ideal social media solution to make your start-up successful.