“If I was down to my last dollar I would spend it on PR.”
From creating one of the world’s largest PC software companies to founding his non-profit organization, Bill Gates is not a name we do not recognize. 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.
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 the right experts that are well experienced on how to write excellent, attention-grabbing content. There is no shortage of people up to that task for brands like Microsoft, but they may not have the budget or reach yet to hire expensive agencies to create their content for startups and entrepreneurs. That is why PR agencies like Pressfarm exist.
Pressfarm is a PR agency that helps companies create newsworthy content and, through their PR packages, provides access to their PR database of over 75,000 journalists and media outlets so that companies can find their perfect media match. They also help increase content visibility in relevant search results across major search engines.
That may be all good at well, but 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. Companies should also look to already published views and the competition within their industry to derive a new idea. This way, they can generate a new concept from an already existing one.
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. 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 much as possible.
However, another potential problem that could arise is the distribution to the wrong audience. When companies develop their distribution plan, they need to know exactly who they want to send their content to and whether it will be beneficial to their end game. The usual distribution process for content is to focus on getting media attention first, which will hopefully get the public’s attention.
For example, suppose a company could send their content to a media professional that does not have any ties to their industry. In that case, they will not get the visibility they should be receiving if they had distributed their content to their perfect media match.
To effectively achieve media coverage, companies need to do their appropriate research into journalists and media outlets and organize a media list to compile all relevant media professionals. From there, they can begin creating and developing mutually beneficial relationships between them and journalists. These connections are what help companies share their content further in the market.
Companies can also use their owned media as a way to connect with their audience. By posting their content on their website or social media platforms, companies that already have a fan base can reach their audience without going through a middle party. Since consumers are heading to social media platforms and the Internet for their daily news and updates, inbound marketing has become an essential marketing tool that companies should use to attract more users to their content.
3) Keep innovating
For companies to stay competitive in a highly saturated market, they need to innovate constantly. When it comes to failure, it is essential to accept it, learn from mistakes, and move forward rather than wallowing in self-pity. Companies could lose precious time creating something great if they focus on the negative. According to Gates, failures are just as important as successes because it makes companies go back to the drawing board and assess the causes of loss 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, but a company’s ability to persist and persevere will make them achieve its goals. Things will not always go how a company expects, whether it is their mistake or their industry may have taken a hit out of their control; having a crisis management plan is vital in this kind of situation. Often, entrepreneurs are looking to achieve overnight success, but as Gates himself said, “There is nothing that was overnight.” We can see that from the initial versions of the Windows operating system that was not successful, but Gates’s persistence has now made it the most popular operating system in the world.
Along with that, Gates has also said that sometimes, for startups and entrepreneurs to succeed, they should not shy away from unconventional thinking and choose an unexplored path. Sometimes, to win big, there need to be significant risks. It could be what sets a company apart from its competition.
The world is continually changing, which means that companies need to innovate their products and their process and their visibility in the market.
4) Focus on the customer
Customers are the gateway for companies to understand their position in the market. Rather than treating disgruntled customers rudely, Gates considers them huge assets because they can impact lessons that the company may not even realize. Companies need to look to their negative reviews and comments to listen and value the message.
While it may seem obvious to reflect on the positives rather than the negative, it can cause companies to become over-confident and unprepared for any new challenges that they might face. It is essential to recognize the factors that brought success and repeat it. Still, it will work out more successfully in the long-run if companies respond to negative customer feedback and improve their products from there.
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” –Bill Gates.
5) Give something back
A 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 establishing an emotional connection with them to develop loyalty.
Gates and other entrepreneurs have become famous for their philanthropic activities. That seems to be a driving factor of Gates’ success because of the emotional connection his foundation has made with the public.
Emotion drives many people’s decisions. While customers tend to derive their feelings about products and services from decision-related data, emotions play a massive role in making a purchase decision. They still want to feel confident that they made the right decision regarding picking a product and the company they buy it from.
For Gates, another reason for his success and the ability to retain the tech industry’s attention is because of his charitable foundation, 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. And while 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.
This teaches companies that no matter how successful and excellent a reputation, it means to be aware of its products and their quality. When consumers have become very opinion about their opinions and grievances, 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 its 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 his or her 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 been in the market for an extended period. That does not change the fact that companies need to research their drive for new trends and new needs and wants from consumers. They may not be able to create an entirely new concept, but they may approve of it.
8) Make the most of opportunities
Gates was first given an excellent opportunity to access a device that would change his life and used the opportunity to his advantage. His interest and ability in the computer and tech industry managed to turn curiosity into a career. From there, he was present with many other opportunities to continue doing good work and creating new products. If it wasn’t for him being proactive, it is possible that we may not know his name or his company at all.
This philosophy shows companies that it is essential to make the most of any opportunity that it is given and work towards realizing the true potential.
9) Marketing can be simple
Consumers are continually looking for solutions to their problems, whether in the form of a product or service. One of Gates’ lessons shows that to build a connection with customers, companies need to be open to presenting problems and presenting solutions in their products or service.
Ultimately, while customers may be looking for products based on their great logo or low price, they look for products that will solve the issues effectively and at a reasonable price. Some are not too worried about price as long as it adequately solves a solution. So, having a product or service that fills a need is critical for companies to be successful and add in the bonus of a reasonable price, and customers will flock to purchase it.
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. It does not mean that he is stepping away from the company because it has always been an essential part of who he is. He merely passed on his board responsibilities onto others and continues to help shape the vision and achieve its ambitious goals and how its progress can continue benefitting the world.
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 to apply to future ventures.
Gates’ advice tells companies that they need to be open to learning opportunities and seek out others with more experience in the industry and ask for their advice. Companies should not be complacent with their position in the market because there will also be another trying to knock them out of the competition. They should not assume that they know everything going on because arrogance will most likely fail. 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, leading to his idea that time is valuable and needs to be used learning and building something beneficial that could impact a person’s company’s growth. He teaches young entrepreneurs that they should concentrate on things that will provide a beneficial outcome rather than wasting precious work hours. A company can spend all the money globally and achieve positive ROI, but the time they wasted will never come back.
12) Do your own thing
Finally, there are always going to be critics out there that will have things to say. Gates and Microsoft have had their fair share of criticism thrown their way but have still maintained their tech industry status. A business needs to stick to the original brand message and focus on presenting a united front when presented to the public.
Also, they must 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. Companies need to make sure that they are doing their own thing and they are proud of it. They should be trying to develop their unique brand voice and identity to stand out from their competitors positively.
Bill Gates has proven to be one of the tech industry’s significant powerhouses, but it was not just out of luck. While he was given an opportunity at a young age to learn and master the art of programming, his persistence and perseverance made Microsoft as famous as it is. Along with that, his ability to create problem-solving products, remain up-to-date with everything going on within the company, 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. As he predicted, effective content marketing has become an essential part of any company’s marketing plan. They need to focus on creating content that reaches the hearts of their audience. Whether they decide to do it themselves or hire professionals, it should be one of the main reasons companies stay relevant in a highly saturated market and obtain visibility.