Articles
Published on
December 29, 2023

3 Essential Tips for Startups in 2024

5
min read

The startup world is a dynamic one, constantly changing and evolving. Yet, the opportunities available to a startup founder at the beginning of 2020 are far different than what he or she would face at the start of this year.

While there may be plenty of challenges, there are also plenty of opportunities that startup founders can capitalise on. By leveraging modern tools while sticking to the basics, there's no reason a startup cannot thrive.  

As 2023 comes to a close, let’s focus on what startups can do to bring themselves to the next level in 2024.

1. Approach fundraising strategically

Venture capital (VC) funding in 2021 was at an all-time high, standing at some $345 billion in the US alone, based on numbers from Statista. However, that era has since passed. VCs have taken a different course of action that has seen that number drop nearly 45% to $240 billion.  

The capital is still there but VCs are keeping them stashed away. Such funds, termed “dry powder”, are reserved only for the most promising startups that they see potential in. To be part of this category in an environment of extra cautious VC activity, it’s important for startup founders to hit the right notes in their pitch.

Focus on the right audience

Part of being a startup founder is the building of relationships with as many people as you can, and the same applies when you’re looking to secure funding. Connecting with people within the startup community, attending events, or participating in pitch competitions are all ways to expand your network.  

At the same time, it helps to be strategic in who you reach out to. While VCs may have different portfolios, they tend to gravitate towards industries they are more familiar with. Reaching out to funds who are familiar with your industry or investing in it would significantly reduce the time and effort it takes to set up a call or meeting.

Articulate your unique selling points (USPs)

One of the first things that VCs look for in a startup is its unique selling point (USP). A USP is what sets your startup apart from the competition and provides a compelling reason as to why it should be funded. Your USP should showcase the benefits your startup provides to customers, the problem it solves, and convince VCs that your product or service would generate for them a good return on their investment.

🔑 Read More: SWOT Analysis For Startups

Consider alternative funding methods

VC funding is a popular option but it is not the only one. It's also important to know that VCs can impose stringent terms and conditions on startups who accept their funding. This includes giving them an equity stake in the startup, or a high percentage of their profits. Such terms tend to be dictated by the VC as they possess the funds startups need and thus, have greater leverage over the process. With the post-2021 fundraising climate being much more cautious than ever, it is likely that the terms and goals set by the VC will be more difficult to meet.

If you are uncomfortable with such arrangements, you can consider alternative funding options such as angel investors, crowdfunding, or government grants. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, so do your research and choose the option that best suits your business model.

2. Hack your growth with artificial intelligence (AI)

The days of treating artificial intelligence (AI) as a novelty have come to an end and it is now viewed as what it truly is – a powerful tool that can significantly streamline or shorten processes. Here are a few ways that your startup can harness the power of AI to accelerate your early growth.

Automation

AI-powered automation can transform the way you operate from day one by automating repetitive tasks and freeing up time for employees to focus on higher-value activities. Startups can use automation to optimise processes such as customer service or marketing.

This is where prompt engineering really shines. The practice focuses on creating the best inputs for AI tools so that it can produce optimal output. You can generate weeks or months’ worth of blog articles or video script content with the right AI prompts. These can then be scheduled for publishing or production, fast-tracking your initial marketing efforts while giving you the bandwidth to focus on more critical tasks such as product development.

🔑 Read More: AI-Powered Business and ChatGPT: Is It Time to Make the Switch?

Fine-tuning your pitch to the right persona

Earlier, we explored the importance of being strategic in your fundraising efforts and selective in who you reach out to. The next step is to have a strong pitch deck, and if you want to nail that presentation, you need to make sure that it's tailored to the specific audience you're pitching to.

AI tools can be immensely helpful for this. For one, it allows you to create segments and personas that helps you to understand their different priorities and objectives. From here, you can identify the best value proposition that resonates with their needs and wants. This also helps you to tailor your deck for each persona. AI can help you generate this personalised content by analyzing the data you have and then creating custom content that is tailored to each group.

AI-assisted decision making

One of AI’s biggest strengths is its ability to analyse large volumes of data and provide insights that humans may overlook or take longer to identify. When applied to decision making, AI can enhance decision quality by providing accurate, data-driven recommendations.  

Startups can use AI-powered tools to automate decision-making and eliminate inefficiencies, such as identifying optimal pricing, forecasting demand, and identifying operational bottlenecks.  

3. Sharpen Your Cross-Border Processes Early

Startups need to think global from day one and for good reason too. Operating in the global market is instrumental in helping your startup to take off, but for that to happen, you’ll first need to set foot beyond your borders. This is where efficient cross-border processes empowers startups, and we’ll look at three big ways doing this early can help you leapfrog the competition.

Procuring goods and raw materials

Whether it’s a simple t-shirt or a water filtration system, any product you design and manufacture will require different components and at times, even raw materials. Having robust cross-border process in place will allow startups to easily convert SGD to IDR to obtain steel or rubber from Indonesia, or SGD to THB for electronics from Thailand, and more.

Streamline freelancer engagements

Startups often rely on freelancers, especially in the early stages, to move fast and scale efficiently. Freelancers can help to design and build brand guidelines, develop software, or handle digital marketing. They are a useful resource but with so many of them based overseas, it’s important that you can make timely payments to them for their services, and in their preferred currencies.

Smoothen the path to expansion

Seamless cross-border transactions are crucial to startups especially when setting up a foreign office for the first time. Hiring the right talent, securing office space, procuring supplies, paying local taxes and more are just some of the things you can expect to encounter as part of that process. For instance, if you operate in Indonesia and the Philippines, you’d have constantly convert SGD to IDR or SGD to PHP.

🔑 Read More: Edtech firm ErudiFi sends, holds and receives USD, IDR and PHP easily through Wallex

What is less straightforward are the costs associated with doing such conversions. Highly traded currency pairs such as SGD to THB, SGD to PHP, SGD to MYR, and SGD to IDR usually carry higher FX risk due to the volatility. These costs will accumulate over time and can be a significant financial burden.

Accelerate your startup’s journey to success with Wallex

Cross-border payments and collections have become an essential part of daily tasks. Being able to pay and get paid allows startups to expand their reach within Southeast Asia and beyond.  

That’s what Wallex is here to help you with.  

Startups can navigate the costs and complexities of international payments and currency conversions with Wallex. Our comprehensive suite of cross-border solutions allow you to pay in 47 currencies to over 160 countries, receive payments  in 36 currencies, hold 13 currencies in our Multi-Currency Wallet, and convert FX at the most competitive, near mid-market rates.  

Learn more about Wallex here or get in touch today!

The Financial Lead Playbook

Tips for success to navigate the ever changing economic landscape

DownloadContact Us