Tips to Help You with Growing Your Startup in 2018
If 2017 saw you finally launch the startup of your dreams, you have probably spent recent months working on fine-tuning your processes, getting as many customers as possible, and sorting out your finances. However, it’s important to think about ways to keep growing your venture, so you can start to achieve your goals ASAP. To help you do this, read on for tips you can follow today and over the year.
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Better Understand Who You’re Targeting
One of the first steps you should take is to think about, and better understand, who it is you’re actually targeting with your products or services. It’s not enough to say your wares are designed for “women with children” or “busy CEOs,” for instance. You need to have a very specific type person in mind, an ideal customer.
Once you’re clear on this shopper, it’s time to learn as much as you can about their typical lifestyle and behavior. Conduct research (e.g. read reports, articles, books, surveys) and discover what you can about them.
Find out things such as:
- How, when, and where they shop
- What their key needs and wants are
- How they like to communicate and receive customer support
- What problems they need solved or benefits they’re looking for
- The price point they prefer
- Which marketing avenues will best reach them
Put Together a Plan of Attack
Next, while some growth occurs naturally as your startup ages, significant growth won’t happen unless you devise a plan of attack to create it. You must be proactive. Decide which areas you want to focus on each month, quarter, and year to move your venture forward.
It pays to have a detailed business plan you can refer to again and again. This will remind you of your business vision, mission, and other goals. This ensures you don’t work on things which won’t help you get the results you’re after.
Your plan should cover where you want your startup to be in 12 months, 2 years, 5 years, and beyond. Additionally, it should include a marketing strategy for the year, broken down into months. It needs to contain information as well on things like your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Also include likely financial projections, staff requirements, and sales processes.
Use your business plan to help you work backward. For example, think about what you want to have achieved in a year’s time. Then decide exactly what you need to do to make that happen. Plan out, step by step, what you must do each month to achieve these goals. Further, decide on the necessary order of each task.
Concentrate More on the Sales Process
Next, realize that if you want to grow your business, you must commit to spending more time on sales. One of the main reasons why so many ventures stall is that their owners aren’t concentrating on the sales process anywhere near enough. While you might find this area challenging, it’s something you need to do if you want to reach your goals. This is true even if you feel like you’re not a born salesperson, or you don’t think you should “sell” people on your products or services.
Working on sales isn’t about trying to do the hard sell and make people buy things they don’t want, though. It’s about making sure current and potential clients know exactly what you have to offer. Additionally, it’s about letting potential clients know how best to use products or services. Basically, sales is about communicating the benefits of your wares and how they can improve your customers’ lives.
Selling successfully involves showing customers you’re there to help, and then following up regularly, even after the sale, to ensure they’re satisfied and getting the most benefit possible out of their purchases.
When you’re in the startup phase of business, try to devote at least 80 percent of your day to sales-related tasks. This will enable you to gain a foothold in the market rather than just be another number. Once your business becomes more established, you can reduce time you spend on specific sales processes and other direct customer interactions to around 30 percent of your day.
Learn New Things
Lastly, keep in mind that to grow a venture, you must grow yourself. That is, you should continually learn new things. When you’re open to cultivating your skill set, broadening your knowledge base, and gaining more experience, you will be much better placed to identify exciting new opportunities, or potential threats that could halt growth in its track.
Gaining new skills can also mean you’re better able to manage finances, develop marketing strategies, negotiate with suppliers, and decide on the right people to surround yourself with to help grow the business, just to name a few things.
There are all sorts of different ways to learn. You might decide to get an in-depth education by enrolling in an online MBA program in California or a data science course in New York City, for instance. Or you could complete some specialized training in areas where you’re lacking. Also, attend workshops and events and become a member of business clubs and relevant associations. Moreover, as a startup owner, be sure to read books, blogs, magazines, reports, and white papers that are relevant to your business and your industry.