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Ten Tips for Startups to Succeed in Latin America

Ten Tips for Startups to Succeed in Latin America

Posted by José Peralta on April 10, 2015

Latin America has proven to be a fruitful breeding ground for small companies and startups that succeed by means of innovative ideas, motivating projects and proper business plans. However, sometimes having a brilliant idea is just not enough if it isn’t correctly put on the map. The “sale”, when it comes to talking potential investors and equity funds into supporting the idea, is a vital stage for any startup.

That’s the reason why investing money in establishing an effective communication is a key step to be taken by this kind of projects. Many people think it’s an unnecessary expense, but the success or failure of companies actually depends on this type of communication strategies that will shed light on us in an overcrowded ecosystem.

We give you 10 tips for your startup to jump from an idea to a sustainable reality:

Make them know you exist. Unlike big companies whose presence already generates a flow of customers, small enterprises need to "speak loud" about what they do and how they do it. That’s the opinion of Federico Astiz, President of Oxean Group, a consulting, producing and communication agency with over 25 years of experience in Latin America, a pioneer in terms of cross communication: “As an entrepreneur I’d recommend to invest big numbers in communication and marketing during the first years of your startup, since you’ll be fighting to survive and customers are the way out. Startups frequently focus their efforts on optimizing their products, services or gaining investors, but they forget to let people know what they do... and that’s when they fail. Nowadays, relations, presence and conversations help business succeed”, Mr. Astiz said.

Tell a motivating story. “The present trend reflects that people are not only interested in what you offer, but what the purpose is, the history and people behind the product or service they pay for. They want to be inspired by those they make business with, they want to share values and identify with those people”, Mr. Astiz points out. Startups have a significant advantage in this sense: since they are small companies, they can offer that personal connection.

Study available channels. Once you have what to communicate, you need to analyze the communication channels. There are many elements to be taken into account, from your website to the posters in your office. Choosing the communication channels entails a message as such and the way you combine the use of channels has a direct impact on the final result of the communication.

Prepare a strategic plan. “It’s important to have a plan in order to make the combination of channels be efficient in terms of the company’s objectives”, Mr. Astiz underlines, who is also the CEO of Sinergia CoWork Punta del Este, a startup that supports the generation and growth of startups in the region.

“We recommend a schedule of actions so the message can reach out to the target public, generate conversations and stay on the people’s memory. Furthermore, the startup’s communication plan should be outlined according to different publics and levels, so both message and style follow the same line. When you strategically plan your moves, you can reduce costs, have elements to measure the impact, modify things and strengthen your presence in the market”, he added.

Federico Astiz is the President of Oxean Group, a consulting, producing and communication agency with over 25 years of experience in Latin America, a pioneer in terms of cross communication.

Be consistent. Many startups work on communication matters in specific moments, when they launch a new product or develop a more-aggressive marketing strategy. This behavior usually ends up in failure because communicating entails creating a relation and perseverance is required to do so.

Mr. Astiz believes that startups have to “cultivate” the bonds with customers, suppliers, media and the public in general, even when there is nothing special going on. “So when you do have something to put out, you’ll have their attention and fidelity to receive the message and spread it”, he said.

Connect with the media. This is an excellent moment for startups on the media: startups are in fashion, they are positioned as an interesting sector of the economy and the media need information about these new companies. Generate and cultivate ties with the media and they will back you up when you need it. There are specialists, such as those working for Oxean, who are in charge of turning startup-related information into interesting material for the media, in an effort to strengthen the relation and shed light in the entrepreneurs.

Professionally use social networks. This is an obligatory mean for startups. The cost is very low and the scope is huge. It not only gives the opportunity to share messages, but generate conversations, receive feedback and gain fidelity of the public. It’s a channel with several information formats, but requires time to be managed. It’s important to have community management professionals working on this matter.

Develop a communicative culture within the startup. Although there are just a few members in the company, make sure to develop positive communication practices. “This will make your startup be more efficient and it will show those who are in contact with the company a strong image. If your startup strengthens its position, you’d have invested in one of the pillars of organization development, just as Peter Drucker asserts, 60 percent of company problems are related to communication problems”, Mr. Astiz recalled.

Develop attractive material. We usually see brilliant startups that don’t show what they really are. Personal cards, presentation folders, brochures or even “power point presentations”, all of these elements speak of the company. “The design is presently very important, so I recommend you to pay attention to every single material, so the same style is present, the design is professional and coherent with the message”, the specialist adds.

Stand out with an enjoyable video. The video realm is the new language of the internet. With a public that barely reads and is short of time, video is a format that turns out to be enjoyable and it opens doors so your message can go viral. According to Mr. Astiz, the world of videos “gives the possibility to spread and establish ideas since these audiovisual materials not only tell you the message, but show the idea.”

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