Startups can be manic environments, it is just a fact of life. The first 12 months are spent worrying about selling your product or service, delivering for the client, cash flow, offices and the million other things that you have to worry about. Your daily task list is rarely completed and it can often feel like you are swimming against the tide.
If you are lucky this may subside somewhat but be under no illusions, as you try to grow your business this craziness will rear its ugly head time and time again. Having worked in startups for a number of years I have identified key problems areas which are essential for start ups to address if they are to grow.
If these areas continue to be problematic they can often be significant factors that contribute to stunted growth. All startups will at some point reach a size past which they struggle to grow. The following points will help you push past this point!
1. Independent teams
Your teams should be able to deliver your product or service independently, with minimal input from yourself. Clearly this requires you to make the right recruitment decisions but can also be aided by cloud based systems.
How many times has someone been ill or on holiday and there is a deadline for a client but they have not given other team members all the information required?
Having a cloud based project management system on which all information on a project is stored will help your team to run independently, it will also give the management a clear snapshot of projects statuses and potential issues. Choose your platform according to your requirements, but have a look at Trello and WorkflowMax.
Ok. so I am probably biased here because I run a digital marketing agency but bear in mind that marketing companies also feel the benefits of marketing themselves!
Outbound sales can be very effective and are still a crucial part of startup success but creating marketing campaigns that generate inbound enquiries can free up substantial amounts of time spent ‘hunting’ for business.
Furthermore, inbound enquiries are naturally warmer than outbound sales hence why it is called ‘cold calling’. Effective marketing campaigns will see your sales conversion rate increase substantially therefore making your sales team more efficient. In turn, efficiency means higher margins from which the profits can then be reinvested to aid business growth.
Whether you choose to pursue social media, email marketing, SEO, redesigning your website or outdoor marketing it important to note that it should be according to your target audience and what will be the most effective at attracting said target audience. Horses for courses.
3. Act like a big business
I am a big believer that just because you are a startup business does not mean that you should act like one. Remember that business culture can be incredibly difficult to change, especially as you grow.
You may be incredibly busy and frantically trying to find your feet, but churning clients, failing to deliver projects on time, poor internal communication and all the other pitfalls that startups can fall into should be avoided like the plague.
Ensuring that your desired culture is established early on will save you from having to make drastic changes as you grow. Acting like a big business from the start will mean that these types of issues do not stunt your growth.