Behind every business startup, there is the hope of a better tomorrow; there is the untold dream of potential success. Each startup is a business bet: Is it going to work, is it going to fail? Only time can tell.

Each new business owner sails on this professional adventure with the head full of hopes, and in the heart the conviction that their idea is the best around and that they will succeed.

There is no denying that motivation is essential to the success of your business. But you will need a little more than dreams and hopes to make it work. You will need a growth plan to help you tackle the essential steps of development.

Beware, while a growth plan is not the guarantee of success, it is at least at step closer to it. After all, managing a business, whether you are the sole entrepreneur, or whether you work with a team, is never a child’s play, especially if this is your first time sitting behind the director’s desk.

So here is a non-exhaustive list of 5 of the most important factors to consider to support your business growth. Take note and good luck on the entrepreneurship journey!

Only invest in smart marketing

Marketing is essential when you are launching a business. You need to make yourself known from the market, from potential partners and future clients. As a result, it is impossible to successfully launch a business without planning a marketing plan.

But you need to ensure that your marketing plan goes beyond the needs of an advertising campaign. First of all, it is important to understand the role of a marketing campaign. Your campaign is designed to get your business name out.

If this is your first campaign and you are relatively new to the market, don’t expect to see any sales at the back of it. The ROI of your first campaign needs to be measured regarding awareness: How many people have come across your advertising is the question that you need to ask yourself. You will then be able to expand on your marketing strategy with the following elements.

Use lead generation experts for specialist markets

You will probably need to use lead generation agencies to receive your first contacts and leads. It’s almost a mandatory step if you are new to the market, and this is even more essential if you are not a high street seller.

Specialist businesses are difficult to spot when they first reach the market, especially for the medical sector such as medical spas or physiotherapists, for example.

This is a very specific audience group, and therefore you should start with professional marketing for med spas, if this is your domain, or with the specialist marketing agency for your sector. As you start generating more leads, you will see your popularity growing in your specific branch.

Learn the power of data

The fact that most businesses rely on digital data means that data analysis plays a central role in the marketing strategy. Indeed, the knowledge of data enables you to target the right audience at the right time with the right service or product. This is something that has become a trend in the past 15 years and is now expected by clients too.

Be yourself

It may be difficult at first to develop your style. Every business has its own voice and its own motto. As you start you will need to establish who you are, how you choose to address your customers – are you formal or informal? – and how you share your identity with your audience.

Save on most tasks

At the core of business growth lies the effective use of time and budget. Indeed, it’s tricky to grow a business if you invest your time and your money in the wrong places. Therefore you should know that successful businesses have understood where and when to keep simple tasks in-house, such as the maintenance of the SEO profile of your website with regular, fresh content or updating your social media presence.

Additionally, you should always keep a clear account of your expenses, gains, and investments, by using an online accounting software to make sure that your taxes are always correct and easy to prepare. In the long term, the DIY approach can save you a lot of money.

Learn to network

When you start a new business, networking is the highway to market. But there’s more than liaising with your potential clients. You should keep in touch with your existing professional contacts, and expand your network to meet people who share similar interests too.

Don’t approach people out of the blue. Even if they don’t know you, you should at least have made your research about them, even if it is only by reading their previous posts or by researching their company. And never start a conversation by trying to sell your products. This is a no-no in the business world!

Adopt a modern business structure

If you choose to work with a team, you need to maximize the digital space to give your team a way of collaborating and communicating on a project. You will find plenty of apps such as Dropbox and Google Drive that support teamwork and productivity like a charm!

Your interest in the digital space shouldn’t stop there. It is important to approach the market with a professional website that is accessible from all devices. Indeed, digital businesses are mandatory nowadays: You should make your products and information accessible to your customers and employees online.

Make a long-term strategy

Last, but not least, is the business strategy. A strategy plan is the roadmap of actions for your business, and it acts as your navigator as you launch your business. But this is more than just a route to follow.

Your strategy indicates the desired vision and mission for your business: This is a reminder of who you want to be and what you want to achieve. While you may not succeed in achieving what you’ve set for in the time that you’ve arranged for it, the strategy helps you to remain true to yourself.

Founding Editor @Alltopstartups, Contributor @Entrepreneur, Columnist @Inc. Magazine and Curator at Postanly (his free weekly digest of the best life and career improvement posts on the web. Subscribe for free.