Some entrepreneurs are driven by a need to be their own boss, others see starting a company as simply a means to meet a particular need. Another set of company founders not only love the challenge of solving problems, but also love the actual process of creating new businesses.
A start-up, or even small business, is something that has the potential to grow quickly; however, more than a third of such businesses fail within two years. But why? And how do successful companies after years of toiling with challenges finally move through the gates of hell? Essentially, you need the ability to adapt and scale quickly.
One of the most common issues in today’s entrepreneurial world is that many stay in start-up mode way too long, rather than accelerating and move on to the next stage of growth.
The moves you make at the growth stage have become increasingly important. Different challenges emerge and the bets become bigger and the stakes higher. In an ideal world, within two years, you want to look back knowing that what’s ahead is something bigger and better, yet if you want to build a big company, you’ve got much more work ahead coming your way.
Here are my five top tips on how to grow your business:
1. Hidden gems
People, people and people. However, they need to be the right people. It’s well known that it’s people who will either make or break your business. Therefore, sometimes it’s better to leave a role vacant than hire someone you know isn’t right for the business. You should be all about finding these special ‘hidden gems’, people that you know share the same values and principles and will naturally fit into your culture.
2. Pick your battles
Don’t get wrapped up week after week deciding on minor things such as the colour of your logo; seeing the bigger picture is key and will make a massive difference. As you grow, so will your business, and things will automatically change and develop further. When you’re by the starting block, make sure you’re focused on the more important things such as gaining customers and making money. If you get that right, the rest will follow.
3. Get attention
The single biggest problem every small business has is becoming known. Yet it is one of the most important tasks on the route to success and a gateway to every penny you raise.
The most important task is to get attention for you and your company; pitch your idea to the masses. Bloggers and social media influencers can make a huge contribution in exposing your business. Pick the ones most relevant to you, reach out to them and introduce your business. Get attention. Get critics. Then get admiration.
4. Create urgency
If you start a business venture without setting specific timelines for actions and achievements, you will be stuck forever with excuses. One of the biggest mistakes made is operating without enough urgency. Being an entrepreneur is a marathon activity with lots of sprints. Win a lot of little races and you will provide your people and company with the right momentum.
5. Trial and error
Make sure you test out any ideas before launching it to the general public. Your goal is to launch a ‘clean’ product, making an impression count and gain respect among your audience. You also need to observe users’ behaviour as you might need to make adjustments based on how habits and feedback on features, needs, likes and dislikes.
Nobody ever said that building a successful business was easy. It’s crucial to remember that your vision is not improved by staying in startup mode and the sooner you can accelerate and become a business that is grabbing market share from more established players, the better.
It used to be the big who ate the small. Today, it is the fast who eat the slow.
Bertie Stephens is CEO and founder of Flubit.
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