If there’s one company that just about every household has heard of, it’s Google. One of the biggest websites and companies in the world, Google is certainly a company you want to pay attention to when it comes to being successful. Here are a few lessons that every start-up can learn from the Silicon Valley search engine.
Not every product launch will be a success
If there’s one thing that Google got wrong, it was social networking. Google Buzz didn’t catch on very quickly, and Google+ is suffering the same fate. Although some Internet entrepreneurs will try to persuade you that this year is Google+’s year, it has still failed to be popular amongst more than a core few users.
Google has seen great success when it comes to dominating markets: search, email, digital advertising to name a few. However, sometimes you just miss the mark, and that’s okay. You can either scrap the idea completely (which has not been the case as of yet), or you adapt and continue to try to make a difference in the field you’re in.
Keep it simple
You know what sets Google apart from Yahoo or MSN as a homepage? It’s clean and simple. With the exception of artwork changing every now and then, what you can find on Google.com is a search bar and a handful of links. A logo and white space is all you’re going to see, and maybe one line of text for a specific cause.
You don’t have to overwhelm your users with a bunch of information all at once. Give them the primary thing they’re looking or asking for, and make everything else secondary. People are easily distracted, and attention spans get shorter and shorter. Focus on what’s necessary, and leave the extras for another time and place.
Be a problem solver
If you need directions, there’s Google Maps. If you need to know what’s trending online, there’s Google Trends. If you need the cloud to host your documents and collaborate, there’s Google Drive. For just about any online related problem, Google has a solution. That’s what has made it a trusted authority and a household name.
Your start-up should have a mission to solve a problem that your target audience has. You want people to think of your product or your service when they come across this problem. Whether they want to put a bandage on the issue and you provide a temporary fix, or if it’s a major problem that gives them grief and you want to eliminate it, make that the primary focus of why your company exists.
Keep an open mind
Many of Google’s products have come from people other than project managers. User input has been instrumental in either creating or adjusting your favorite Google tools like Inbox and Google News. Project managers or no longer the gatekeepers.
What’s great about start-up culture is the open door policy many of the companies have. Every employee, not just the founder or CEO, has a say in what could be done better. Every idea should be taken into consideration, and not just brushed off. Your customers and clients’ opinions should matter. Keep an open mind; you never know what idea will become the next big thing.
Google is a brand that just about any company can emulate for success. It did not happen overnight, and it’s not guaranteed that they stay on top, but these lessons that they learned the hard way can help you and your start-up the easy way.