Every startup founder feels a good mix of excitement and apprehension when they are just starting out. With an idea and some research behind them they set out to build the next innovative product.

There are times when you as a founder find it very frustrating in running business activities because of things you have not really given attention to and not until you began to comprehend them, you will fail. I know it was never easy, because I have been in such position before.

As you get deeper and deeper into the startup world, you realize many of your peers are working on their next big idea too.

Navigating the world of startups can be challenging especially if this is your first time and you are unsure of the process. There is a big difference between knowing your idea and being able to communicate it to the world in a coherent way.

People will ask you about your startup. You will have curious onlookers wanting to know what you are working on. When you pitch to potential investors to get feedback or even when you are in front of a room full of people at a demo day or a conference, people are not only looking at your core product, they are observing how you are able to express your idea to your target audience.

If you’re starting a new business, or need to structure a struggling one, the following information should be invaluable to you. It is called 5P’s. Nearly every organization or system adopts these elements (5P’s) which are; Personality, Positioning, Purpose, Process, People, and product. I will give it a bit of explanation to each of the elements for better understanding.

Personality

Bring your unique personality to your product and your brand. Inject your ideas and opinions to your brand. Without your personality, your brand will be another one of the startups.

Create a personality for your brand with your personal flair.
Lay down some core values for your brand that you can communicate through stories.

Having a set of core values for your brand is a real way to create a personality for your brand. Make your core values fun instead of the corporate kind.

I know a Consulting firm that there core value is “Smile”. I might not remember anything else but now I associate a smile with their brand. With one word, they are able to inject their personality into their brand. And it becomes a great topic of conversation.

Any investor or client will smile when they see that and they will be sure to have a conversation around it. So, think about things that excite you and you strive and stand for and fuse them into your brand.

Positioning

Why are you different? No idea is a new idea. But every idea is unique because of you. What makes your product or idea different from so many others in the market?

You need to have a positioning statement that you are able to coherently convey even before you are asked for it. The purpose reveals why your product will make life easier for your target audience, the positioning paves the way for your customers to have a reason to buy from you and not your competitor.


Don’ forget to add an emotional component to your brand positioning statement. Sometimes just cutting costs or innovative product is not enough. Uber‘s brand positioning statement is “Everyone’s private driver”. Whereas Lyft’s brand positioning statement reads “Your friend with a car”.

At the basic level, both brands pretty much do the same thing but because of their positioning statement, you get a very different feel about how the experience is going to be.

Purpose

You need to have a clear purpose. What is the purpose of your product? There needs to be a good story or experience that you are able to draw on when you talk about the purpose. Who does it serve, why should your target audience buy your product or service? How does it make life easier for them?

The more clarity you have about the purpose of your product, the more you are able to draw in your target audience easily because you are talking to their needs and fears directly. I recently met a founder who is creating a product for the gifting industry. Her purpose is very clear – “To make gift-giving fun and easy”.

Process

To every successful business both small and large that you can see around you today, there is the procedure to it. Success on a large scale is all about the process and it’s equally crucial at smaller levels. The process starts at the conception stage, that is, product or service development. It then moves you from there to the hiring of labor, expansion…

If you really want to comprehend in detail, think about every information in your business plan. If you don’t have a business plan, you are already missing it. You are more of a serious-minded person in business if you have your business plan. It is your process. Most times, you will have to audit your process as well.

People

People, as you know, are always integral. Even if you’re a one-man or woman operation, the business can’t survive without bodies filling the seats and keeping the “wheels” turning. There is much more to this part of people than just filling seats, taking orders, completing deliveries, completing sales, selling… Of course, you understand what the people in the shop or office do.

In business, the right people make you profitable while the wrong people generally do not. If you, as a manager, you don’t audit your people and you only tend to do so when there is a customer complaint it is a sign that you are not doing well. However, you must always watch them work and ask them question to determine their attitude, efficiency and satisfaction to see if there is something you can do within the reason to make them happy.

Product

This is a very crucial part of it. There is always a product or services to be marketed in business. As important as it is if the aforementioned is not properly put in place it is a waste of time altogether. However, success is recorded here if personality, positioning, purpose, processes and people are properly put into check.

Use the 5P’s to get some basic brand functionality for your startup when you are just starting out. These will evolve as years pass and investors come in, but to have a solid foundation to start off with will help you secure the initial traction.