Source: Public Domain Pictures
Now that you’ve secured the funding, organised a solid marketing campaign, and ironed out all the kinks in your product, you probably feel pretty satisfied with your business as it is. Unfortunately though, you can’t just sit back and watch the money roll in! If you want your business to be as successful as it possibly can, then you need to be looking to the future and planning for continuous growth. Here’s some helpful pointers to get you started.
First of all, don’t try to expand your customer base too early. I hear about countless start-ups that try to be everything to everyone, and find that they’re not performing all that well at anything! It’s great to have ambition, provided you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Don’t launch yourself into any wide-reaching service offerings if you’re not sure you can afford it, and don’t develop any products which are far outside your comfort zone. Business growth means taking the plunge into exciting new areas, but if you do this too early you’re only going to cripple your business. Focus on your strengths, and don’t attempt expansion if it’s going to be too rapid. For more, read this article where Hampton Creek talks to Forbes about scaling rapidly.
My second tip for healthy expansion is to create a company culture that keeps your employees happy. It’s a pretty common issue for start-up owners to become too wrapped up in expenses and profit margins, and totally neglect the people who make it all happen. This can often lead to early HR issues like a high employee turnover. If you’re constantly looking for more professionals to fill in the gaps at your business, then you’re not going to have much time to focus on healthy growth. If you think you’ve been too focussed on cold hard numbers, then make a point to give something back to your employees. Show them that their work is appreciated, and that you care about them personally and professionally. No business ever achieved great things without loyal employees.
Finally, forget that old maxim “build it and they will come”. This may be true for medical firms and a few other businesses, but for everyone else it’s grossly out-dated! Getting a business off the ground is tough, and if you’re just managing to stay afloat you might see big marketing campaigns as a totally unnecessary expense. This attitude is a huge mistake. History is full of great ideas that lacked the marketing support to go anywhere. Modern consumers are very picky about what they’ll spend money on, and will generally only go for products and services with a strong brand behind them. If you rely completely on word-of-mouth referrals, and you don’t have a truly revolutionary product, then your growth is going to be severely stunted. From the first brain storming sessions to the day your product hits the shelves, make sure that you’ve paid a lot of attention to how you’re going to market it.