From creating one of the world’s largest PC software companies to founding his non-profit organization, Bill Gates has become a household name. What began as an instant interest in the world of computers, learning how to program through trial and error, he co-founded Microsoft and eventually became the world’s wealthiest man. With a net worth of $136 billion, Gates has enjoyed enormous business success.
“If I was down to my last dollar I would spend it on PR.”
This article will look at some tactics that Bill Gates has used and can pass on to startups and entrepreneurs to achieve success.
1) Effective content marketing
Bill Gates had already predicted the rise of content marketing many years ago, and he knew before any of us that only through content can maximum money on the Internet be made. Over the years, he has used many valuable content marketing techniques to create success through Microsoft.
On the top of the list, one of the most important things about effective content marketing is that a company presents valuable content that people can easily understand and provides value to their lives. Companies need to have experts who are experienced on how to write excellent, attention-grabbing content.
Great content comes from having creative ideas. Gates teaches us that innovative ideas like regular campaigns, door-to-door marketing, vouchers, interacting with customers, and social proof are some of the best ways to retain existing customers’ attention and invite the potential of new organic leads. Ideas, of course, do not always have to come from within. You should also look to already published views and the competition within your industry to derive a new ideas. This way, you can generate a new concept from an already existing one.
There is no shortage of people up to that task for brands like Microsoft. Even so, you may not have the budget or reach yet hire expensive agencies to create their content for your startup. That is why PR agencies like Pressfarm exist.
How Pressfarm can help
Pressfarm is a PR agency that helps companies create newsworthy content including professional press releases, engaging guest posts and creative media kits. Moreover, our selection of affordable PR packages provides access to a comprehensive PR database of over 1 million journalists and media outlets so that companies can find their perfect media match. In addition to giving clients access to this media database, we build personalized media lists for each client, helping you to connect with the best journalists in your niche. By partnering with us, you can boost your online visibility by helping your brand to feature in relevant search results across different search engines.
2) Strategic distribution
As many PR professionals will repeat time and time, there is no point in creating captivating content if there is no one to read it. The whole reason for content and product distribution is to get media attention and drive sales. According to Gates, companies should not keep content to themselves; instead, they should distribute it as widely as possible.
However, another potential problem that could arise is distributing this content to the wrong audience. When you develop your distribution plan, you need to know exactly who you want to send their content to. Beyond that, you should gauge whether it will be beneficial to your end game.
For example, suppose you sent your content to a media professional who does not have any ties to your industry. Given that you’ve not targeted this content to the right person, you will get less publicity than you would if you had targeted a journalist in your niche.
Generating media coverage
To effectively achieve media coverage, you need to do appropriate research into journalists and media outlets and organize a media list to compile all relevant media professionals. From there, you can begin creating and developing mutually beneficial relationships with the journalists. These connections will help you share your content more widely in the future.
You can also use your owned media as a way to connect with your audience. By posting your content on your website or social media platforms, you can reach your audience without going through a third party. After all, consumers rely on social media platforms and the Internet for their daily news and updates. For this reason, inbound marketing has become an essential marketing tool for many brands.
3) Keep innovating
In order to stay competitive in a highly saturated market, you need to innovate constantly. If at first you fail, it is essential to accept it, learn from mistakes, and move forward rather than wallowing in self-pity. After all, you could lose precious time creating something great if you focus on the negative. According to Gates, failures are just as important as successes because it forces you to go back to the drawing board and assess the situation to avoid making the same mistakes again.
“Life is not fair; get used to it.”
There are bound to be issues that arise along the way to successful entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, your company’s ability to persist and persevere will help you achieve your goals. It’s also important to prepare for the unexpected. Whether you’re correcting a mistake of your own or managing a situation that’s out of your control, having a crisis management plan is vital. Often, entrepreneurs are looking to achieve overnight success. But as Gates himself said, nothing happens overnight. We can see that from the initial versions of the Windows operating system. The initial versions were not successful, but Gates’s persistence has now made it the most popular operating system in the world.
4) Focus on the customer
Rather than treating disgruntled customers rudely, Gates considers them huge assets because they can impart priceless lessons about things you were not aware of before. You need to look at your negative reviews as a learning opportunity. Instead of dismissing angry customers, listen actively and find the lesson that you need to learn.
Reflect on the positive reviews rather than the negative is all well and good. However, it can make you over-confident and unprepared for any new challenges that you might face. It is essential to recognize the factors that brought success and replicate them. Even so, you will really come out on top if you respond to negative customer feedback and make an active effort to improve your products from there.
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” –Bill Gates.
5) Give something back
Your company needs to have strong relationships with potential customers in a competitive market before they make a purchase decision. One way of doing so is by giving back to the community.
Gates and other entrepreneurs have become famous for their philanthropic activities. In fact, Gates’ philanthropy seems to be a driving factor of his success. After all, his foundation has made a positive emotional connection with the public.
Emotion drives decisions. Customers may seem to derive their feelings about products and services from hard data, but emotions play a massive role in a purchase decision. Ultimately, a customer wants to feel confident that they’re buying from a brand whose values align with their own.
For Gates, another reason for his success is The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Microsoft co-founder has previously vowed to give away half his fortune and has given away over $40 billion to various international and domestic causes over the years. It is partially because of this that customers have built trust and maintained loyalty towards their company.
6) Quality control
As Microsoft continued to grow, the need for more hands was required. Although Gates’ role as CEO did not require programming, he still reviewed and rewrote every line of code that the company released to ensure that the company always shipped out quality software. He made sure that he never lost track of the company’s activities and wanted to remain intimately familiar with its products.
No matter how successful you are or how excellent your reputation is, you need to be aware of your products and their quality. Given that consumers have become very opinionated, executives cannot just sit back and trust that their team is doing a good job. The company has a reputation to protect, and one wrong move can hurt your long-term success.
7) Always stay ahead
In the early 1980s, computer companies had told Gates and then-president Steven Ballmer that graphic interfaces on computer screens would take slow and that it would be difficult to write software for their idea. It wasn’t until Apple launched Macintosh in 1984 that everyone decided to change their tune. It wasn’t until a year after Mac’s success that Microsoft released Windows 1.0, and they were able to do so because they had started developing the software two years earlier.
However, in a highly saturated market, it can be difficult for companies to find products or services that do not already exist in the market. Gates became a powerhouse in the tech industry because nothing like Microsoft had existed before. However, even when you have an innovative product, you need to do research. In fact, this is especially important when you have an innovative product. After all, you want to develop the best version of this product possible.
8) Make the most of opportunities
When Gates started using computers, he made the most of this opportunity. His initial curiosity developed into impressive computer skills, and he managed to turn this into a career. Beyond that, he took advantage of many other opportunities to continue doing good work and creating new products. If Gates wasn’t proactive, we wouldn’t even know about him today.
As you can see, it is essential to make the most of any opportunities you have access to. Only by seizing these opportunities will you reach your true potential as an entrepreneur.
9) Marketing can be simple
Consumers are continually looking for solutions to their problems, whether in the form of a product or service. Gates teaches us that to build a connection with customers, we need to be open to identifying problems and offering our products as solutions.
Ultimately, customers look for products that will solve their issues effectively and at a reasonable price. In fact, some are not too worried about price as long as it adequately solves a solution. For this reason, having a product or service that fulfills a need is critical for success. Add the bonus of a reasonable price, and customers will be flocking to purchase your product.
10) Never stop learning
Even after stepping down as CEO of Microsoft, Gates continues his philanthropic work focusing on global health and development, education, and tackling climate change. This does not mean that he is stepping away from the company. After all, it has always been an essential part of who he is. He merely passed on his board responsibilities to others. In the meantime, he continues to help shape the vision and help drive the company forward.
There is always something new to learn every day. Gates continues to learn valuable lessons from each of his personal and professional successes and failures.
You need to be open to learning opportunities, seek out others with more experience in the industry and ask for their advice. You should not be complacent with your position in the market because there will always be another brand trying to knock you out of the competition. You should not assume that you know everything because arrogance will most likely lead to failure. Entrepreneurs need to identify their weak points and learn from them to be successful in the future.
11) Time is valuable
“No matter how much money you have, you can’t buy more time.”
Gates’ work philosophy focuses on the idea that every moment should be spent on doing something productive. His success comes from his ability to cultivate the necessary habits of success in personal and professional life. He was always curious about new things from a young age and was an avid reader of anything from inspiring biographies, philosophical works, and intellectual periodicals. He used the knowledge he gained to develop his mindset when creating his company.
On a personal level, Gates always started his day with a metabolism boost to stay focused and energized throughout the day. Furthermore teaches young entrepreneurs that they should concentrate on things that will provide a beneficial outcome rather than wasting precious work hours. At the end of the day, you can spend all the you have and achieve positive ROI, but you can never recover any time you waste.
12) Do your own thing
Finally, there are always going to be critics out there that will have things to say. Gates has had his fair share of criticism thrown his way. Nonetheless, he’s still maintained his status in the tech industry. As a business, you need to stick to the original brand message and focus on presenting a united front at all times.
It’s also important to stay original with their products or services. There is a fine line between taking inspiration from others and trying to recreate something that someone else is already doing. You need to make sure that you are doing their own thing and they are proud of it. You should be trying to develop your unique brand voice and identity to stand out from your competitors positively.
13) Move on from your mistakes
Making mistakes is part and parcel of turning an idea into a thriving startup. Rather than obsess over your mistakes when you make them, you need to learn from them and move on. Spending time wallowing over something that has gone wrong only holds you back from future success.
“If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault. So don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.” ~ Bill Gates
Instead of wasting time examining what went wrong, focus on how to turn your failure into a success in the future.
Gates has also said that entrepreneurs should not shy away from unconventional thinking. Rather, it’s worthwhile to choose an unexplored path. Sometimes, to win big, there need to be significant risks. Walking the road less travelled could be what sets a company apart from its competition.
The world is continually changing, which means that companies need to innovate to boost their visibility in the market.
14) There are no shortcuts to success
No matter what the new business or self-help book is promising you, there are no shortcuts to success. There is no magical strategy that will turn you into a billionaire overnight. In other words, if you’re trying to launch a new business, you need to be ready to put in the work. After all, taking shortcuts will only result in a half-baked product or service.
15) Appreciate your critics
According to Bill Gates, negative feedback doesn’t just help you learn, it also pushes you to solve problems. Without critics, your business will have little, if any, incentive to improve. Negative feedback alerts you to problems your customers are facing and also gives you insight on how to solve these problems.
“Listen to your customers and take their bad news as an opportunity to turn. Your failures into the concrete improvements they want,” he wrote. “You should examine customer complaints more often than company financials.” ~ Bill Gates
Bill Gates has proven to be one of the tech industry’s significant powerhouses. However, he didn’t succeed by sheer luck. While he was given an opportunity to master the art of programming at a young age, his persistence and perseverance is what has made Microsoft as famous as it is. Additionally, he credits his success to his ability to create problem-solving products, and his constant yearning to learn new things. Gates is an excellent example for startups and entrepreneurs to follow when they are trying to achieve their goals.