The early years for start-ups are often the most challenging mainly because of limited funds to scale, low brand visibility, and stiff competition from established enterprises.
These challenges are the reasons why over 70 percent of start-ups fail to celebrate their third anniversary. While there are many reasons why a business could fail, one of the biggest roadblocks to success is the lack of effective communication around the business's unique value proposition (UVP).
The UVP clearly identifies the benefits a company's products or services will deliver to its customers. This also defines the business model and how it will generate revenue and profits.
If a business cannot effectively communicate to its target consumers why it uniquely impacts them, it is bound to have a hard time standing out.
A well-thought-out value proposition and continuous communication of the same both internally and externally can be the differentiator for a business.
With start-ups, employees play a critical role as they act as the first customers and brand ambassadors. They ensure that customers are satisfied by demonstrating the value of money spent. In the long run, customer loyalty is harnessed.
This underlines the importance of consistent internal communication. Noting the critical role of internal teams, founders who conceive the business idea should ensure the rest of their team understands the business model and contributes to realising the vision.
Since most start-ups heavily rely on funding, differentiating a business from the rest is also important in attracting investors, who in turn are interested in maximising returns on their investment.
Investors are unlikely to fund a company that has not nailed its value proposition. Convincing investors calls for consistent external communication.
It involves developing messaging that clearly illustrates the value of the offerings and demonstrates unique relevance to target audiences in different categories.
However, all this can be complex for entrepreneurs who juggle a number of tasks on any given day. While founders mostly excel in the conception of the business, this may not be the case when it comes to communicating the idea to the staff and potential consumers.
It, therefore, makes business sense to work with communication strategists who can help communicate the unique value the business brings to customers, employees, investors, and the community at large.
This will go a long way in setting the business apart from the rest of the market. A 2021 Lucidpress survey indicated that customers perceive consistent brand messaging and images as indicative of high-quality products and services, leading to a 33 percent increase in revenue from brand consistency.
Deploying communication expertise can indeed help in crafting effective messages by evaluating the current market status and needs and foreseeing future trends.
This way the start-up is able to target the right audience from inception and enhance its survival and growth prospects.
Preparation at an early stage also means that the business stays open to improve its communication strategy given that the founders' vision may evolve or become clearer with time.
Businesses are also bound to encounter unprecedented, challenging circumstances which for a brand is well prepared and can be an opportunity to carve out a competitive edge.
A brand goes beyond the name and the logo, it is primarily perception that is built over time through messages disseminated internally and externally around what value the business offers.
Therefore, the impact of continuously disseminating messages around the value proposition cannot be overstated.
Njeri Kagwe is a communication consultant at Communicis. Email: [email protected]