What US Based Start-Ups Do That South African Businesses Don’t

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Ever wonder why the Silicon Valley start-ups move from the garage into the big time?

Yes, it involves tremendous amounts of hard graft and years of it.

Yes, the founders have elite IQ’s and above average EQ’s.

Yes, they breathed life into one brilliant idea and found a team of dedicated passionate individuals to believe in it too.

And yes, they have six times the population that South Africa does.

Now, I don’t think these characteristics are restricted to just Americans, we have South Africans that are just as hard working, intelligent, creative, passionate and it’s expected that SA will have the fastest growing youth population (0 – 24) globally in the next 30 years.

So you ask yourself what is the key difference? What is the one thing US based start-ups do that even our established SME’s and Corporations in SA don’t, let alone start-ups?

Well, it’s simple, they focus on one thing.

One person actually.

No, it’s not the entrepreneur and their amazing talent. The one person that gets all their focus is the customer.

That’s it. Everything created, solved, discussed, produced, promoted, changed, posted, shared and boosted is for that one person – the consumer / you.

The customer centric business model is not a new groundbreaking idea – it’s basic business etiquette. It’s the first lesson you learn when attending your overpriced Business College and the first one seemingly forgotten when you collect your underwhelming diploma.

In SA we as consumers can attest to the absentminded experiences we idly accept on a daily basis from a whole range of industries (Telecoms, Finance, Retail, Food etc). The lack of focus to the consumers overall sales journey and appreciation for their brand interaction can not be overstated. All brands and businesses are guilty of this problem – especially the marketing industry. And it is one that can and should be solved easily.

All it takes is for the brands that want to deliver a service experience that is against the status quo to orchestrate conversations daily around their consumer. Every meeting, every objective and every principle that is discussed from 8am to 5pm should revolve around the consumer. Every owner and entrepreneur must ask themselves; “How will this impact the consumer? What does my client gain from this shift? Will I retain my customers if I remove X and replace with Y? Does this tie into my consumers set of beliefs? What will my target market think, say and post?”

That’s the key difference between a US based start-up and a South African one. The conversation surrounding the consumer never stops, it is integral to the businesses direction and growth. Because there is a lack of customer service in South Africa doesn’t mean you should allow your business to be guilty of it too.

Now, with the far reaching and everlasting impact of Social Media it is in every entrepreneurs best interests to ask these questions continuously as they move their brands message across the different digital landscapes. Be the brand that takes the initiative and goes the extra mile to make a client smile or offer to help with something that falls outside your mandate. It’s these little things that make a big impression.

It’s this little difference and lack of focus that makes you and your brand potentially miss the big time.

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