The rate of startup success is 90%. With those kinds of odds you may be hesitant to make the leap into entrepreneurship.
However, half of all startups will survive for at least five years. From that perspective, it starts to become clear that many startups face challenges from going from an early-stage startup to one that can breakout. They develop their products and ideas and then run out of time trying to scale and build market share.
According to Bob Mangat, an entrepreneurial consultant who specializes in building startups from the ground up, these businesses can overcome such roadblocks. He’s made a career helping struggling businesses expand their sales and turning them into multimillion dollar success stories.
A difficult lesson
At the age of 21, Bob dropped out of college due to family financial pressures and turned to the real estate market to build a career. Within a few short years, after countless 80-hour work weeks, he created a successful real estate firm. This experience made Bob realize that he needed to make a choice between his family and career, or find another way to be successful.
Bob began analyzing his data on what he’d learned from his early hard-fought success. While many of his marketing and branding campaigns didn’t meet his immediate goals, he found success by testing and retesting to find the perfect messaging for his target audience.
Bob explains, “Sometimes you have something in your mind that you obsess over. Then you go and build it, and it flops. The big thing is to build a brand around what people need, and the only way you know what people need is to test different branding messages on your ideal customers.” Bob recognized that by using platforms like Google and Facebook, he could test messaging and product market fit in a cost effective way.
This led to a revelation. “Working hard is not always the answer but more so working smart,” says Bob. “I realized my strength was in marketing my business. I started focusing my energy on tasks related to marketing and not servicing. I learned how to build brands and market, and leveraged other people to fulfill the service side of the equation.” In doing so, Bob was able to make time for his family while pursuing his business goals.
Success is not just about your product, it’s about perception
Bob came to the conclusion that while creating a business requires building a product or service that people need, it also requires creating a carefully crafted brand image that makes what your business has to offer into something people want. The latter is where many entrepreneurs end up falling short.
According to Bob, this is mainly due to taking the wrong approach in product development. “Most people focus on the technology or building their product and end up forgetting about the end-user. I come at things from the opposite perspective. I look at what my target market or demographic wants and then create a product that serves those end-users while connecting to them on an emotional level.”
If you look at today’s most successful brands, you can see this idea in action. Consider the recent history of Tesla Motors. Tesla is building next generation electric vehicles, and managed to become the world’s most valuable automaker without ever turning a profit until recently. However, that’s not the only reason it’s succeeding.
“Tesla’s brand image is built on the back of Elon Musk,” says Bob. “He’s a celebrity, and he’s positioned himself well, so people believe in his vision and mission. That plays a massive role in the success of the company. And it’s not an anomaly. We’ve seen it repeatedly with entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos. You believe in them, and that’s why you do business with their companies.” From the consumer perspective, the celebrity entrepreneur and the company are the same.
Musk gave Tesla the brand image needed to feed its expansion and attract backers to keep it growing. According to Bob, the average company can follow the same path if they know how to do it. Additionally, they can do it without spending every waking moment promoting their brand. The secret, he says, is to use modern-day PR strategies and automated marketing systems to create a winning business model.
Translating ideas into action
Today, Bob helps businesses by coaching them through specific PR game plans, setting up automated marketing tools, managing ads effectively, and creating exceptional experiences. Moreover, he helps build systems and processes combined with financial analysis and modeling to help businesses scale.
Bob stresses struggling businesses should focus on the customer and not the competition. He explains, “When you do that, you get laser-focused and dialed into what your customers are looking for, and you build systems and processes around that.”
His approach is a break from what entrepreneurs typically do. He says, “Most businesses look at others inside their industry to use as a model or to emulate. That is how businesses have evolved over time. But when you do what 95% of the others don’t do, then you’ll be successful.”
The result is a comprehensive growth approach that can help entrepreneurs beat the long odds and create businesses that stand the test of time.
Something to aspire to
Bob’s priority will always remain his family. They were the reason he set out on the journey that led him to where he is today and the reason he’s focusing on helping struggling businesses. As shown by Bob, by working smarter and being customer driven, you can also find success as an entrepreneur without sacrificing your personal life.