It’s not always easy to recognize when it happens, but at some point, your business stops being a startup and becomes a viable long term venture. This is the crucial moment when you can push your business to the next level or allow your competitors to catch up and eat away at your market base.
At this juncture, the next steps you take can establish your business and make it attractive both to customers and investors. While many pitfalls have seen the downfall of more than one company, several specific actions can significantly increase your chances of success.
If you’re ready to take your startup to the next level, consider implementing the following processes.
1. Revisit Your Business Plan
Entrepreneurs are inquisitive by nature, and when new opportunities arise, it can be tempting to explore fresh avenues and lose focus on your core business. However, it’s essential to return to the business plan steps that got you to where you are now.
These are the foundations that have helped you grow, and it’s vital to recognize this is a successful strategy that has brought you to the next stage.
A business plan is a living document, and no doubt you’ve revised it numerous times as you’ve learned lessons along your journey. Now is the time to revisit your business plan and integrate your new ideas into the existing flourishing structure.
2. Champion Customer Service
The majority of businesses grow by providing outstanding customer service. However, some startups can become too involved with expansion plans and forget to focus on this crucial element.
Although there are challenges involved with implementing new processes suitable for a larger workforce, maintaining and improving customer service levels is essential.
If you are recruiting more staff, it may be prudent to hire a manager who can oversee the training and service standards to ensure you remain at the forefront of your field.
Your reputation is crucial, and your commitment to excellent customer service determines your standing in public perception.
3. Increase Your Marketing Efforts
Your existing customers know you operate a trustworthy business, but there is still plenty of untapped market share that need to know about your expertise. The more customers who know about your company and your products, the more opportunities you have to increase sales to fit your new status as a marketplace authority.
Having an effective SEO strategy is crucial to establishing your company with a more extensive customer base. Optimizing your online advertising campaigns can be challenging if you’re unfamiliar with terms such as keyword metrics, SERP, and algorithmic penalty.
You can hire a qualified SEO expert, but this can be expensive, and it can take some time to see a return from online advertising. You may want to consider outsourcing to an online advertising company, or you could consider hiring a freelancer with excellent references and results.
Online marketing is a data-driven industry, so it’s essential to work with a professional that supplies weekly reports on advertising spend and results so you can monitor your returns.
4. Cut the Fat
Investment is crucial when taking your business to the next level. However, it is vital to trim costs where possible. Every startup spends money while they discover what is profitable and what isn’t. When the time to become an established business arrives, it’s vital to cut spending on non-essential areas.
By saving money in one department, you can increase the amount of capital available for investment in more profitable areas.
5. Create a Company Culture
When employee numbers are small, it’s much easier to instill a company culture. Staff can benefit from being in close contact with management and learning first-hand how the company presents itself to its customers.
However, this becomes more difficult as staff numbers increase. When a business grows, it also demands more time from directors to work with investors and high-profile clients.
It’s vital to provide a written document of exactly what kind of culture you expect from employees. Honesty, respect, encouragement, positivity, and support are excellent aspirations for every member of staff. Each manager in your business should promote your ethos, so your personality continues to run through the company as it grows,
6. Raise Capital
You know your business can make a difference, and so do your customers, but the reality is that you need money to make the dream a reality.
Seek out the right partners rather than investors who only provide capital. You can benefit from an investor’s expertise in helping companies develop and make meaningful business connections that could be ideal for exponential growth.
7. Implement Your Plan
When your startup becomes a viable business, you can experience conflicting emotions. Pride can mix with doubts about where you go from here. Implementing these six steps can provide you with a solid foundation for success, and help take your startup to the next level.
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