Scaling a small business into a biggie is a tough row to hoe for anybody. History has many dated pages where a small startup stayed small, whereas there have been success stories where small startups have made it large. That does not, in any which ways means that it was easy-teasy for these startups. In almost all cases generalized, Tech startups are the brainchild of IT graduates (Technology background), they don’t have a sound business acumen running a startup successfully from a commercial standpoint. And that’s one of the main reasons, why most of these startup founders are never able to pass the early stages.
In general, investors are keen to understand your growth potential, the strategies in place and of course the business plan to gauge and assess the recurring Return on Investment (ROI) later. So, the need of the hour for any startup founder is to create an ever-winning startup growth strategy that is sustainable in the long run.
Before we move ahead, Let’s start from the basics and get this first question answered – What is a growth strategy?
The perfect definition of a ‘growth strategy’ is an amazing ‘game plan’ to eat into the existing player’s market pie. As a matter of fact, for startups, the growth strategy is quite different from that of an established business, the startup growth strategy starts with a business finding a go-to-market product, this is the initial stage for any startup. So, to reiterate, startups need to first find the right product and then think of a growth strategy.
Looking for a long-term success? wait; don’t jump the gun, first have a short-term growth strategy as having a profitable business is neither an achievement nor enough to keep it running for long. You know what, the road to success depends on the evolving strategies with you. You need to prepare step-by- step plan and then hear me right, add ‘fuel’ to keep the ‘fire on’.
In the consequent section, we are discussing six simplistic ways to boost your growth story:
1. Figure out your Value Proposition
Your value proposition is the key differentiator against your competition. It should be crystal clear and coherent why someone should buy from you instead of your competitors in the industry. Make sure you know the secret ingredient for the perfect recipe, what makes you stand apart from the competition and the means to reach it successfully, if you are doing all this, then you and your business is already on the right track to create the right story in the long term.
In the first place, you need to dig it out why customers approach you, Is it really the differentiation strategy? Or you have a first mover advantage in the market, is your concept so unique and first of its kind? If you’re able to answer all these set of related questions, then you can explain it to the customers, why they must do business with you? May be your value proposition is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Without these, people really don’t have a reason to work with you viz-a-viz competitors.
2. Define the Target Market
You probably started a business, as you saw an underlying opportunity to make profits, though remember not everyone is interested in buying what you’re selling. Make sure you’re targeting the right audience at the right time at the right place. Seek people who want the products you are selling. These days millennia consumers are more marketing savvy than ever before, and don’t like to be “mixed” with others – so what should you do here? Be sure, you understand the target market and your target audience. And even if you’re not able to find the right targeted audience, then start making a people network and then let them experience, judge and evaluate your products and services, it makes it easier that ways to find the right audience.
3. Focus on your Strengths
We often hear a lot about working on our weaknesses until they turn into our strengths. Trying to turn your weaknesses into your strengths is not a good option for entrepreneurs these days indifferent to the past, as you might be wasting time and energy trying to be someone you are not.
Rather try this option, put in efforts in translating ‘what you are good at’ into ‘perfectionism’, it makes more sense to focus on things you excel at and leverage those into bigger assets.
For a better understanding, lets discuss these two very familiar and similar startups from the real world scenario, ‘Uber’ and ‘Lyft’ from the cab for hire industry. Both these startups are extremely successful, you know what, the secret of their success lies in their unique strengths. Both apps are intermediaries dependent (Inclusive), serves as a platform, and a means to connect passengers and drivers, and get paid via commission model. But have you ever noticed; what’s the unique strength that makes them so successful? Here is the answer, both these startups have diverse specialisms, for instance – Uber has manifold vehicles varieties, you can choose a limousine, a sedan, or even a hatchback depending on your budget and need – all in from one stop shop app. As far as Lyft is concerned, it is well known, famous and considered for its availability at any point. You can count on them; drivers are available at midnight. And on top it is more economical than Uber. From a branding perspective, it is easily recognized by its stylish pink logo.
From the above scenario, we can make out that diversified USPs does not work in today’s scenario. You can taste success with just one unique strength. So are you making your startup growth strategy? Important to know is your strength(s) and resources in place and then plan, strategize, re-plan and re-strategize until you reach uniqueness.
4. Set your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Keep your fingers on the Performance Indicators, it is kind of a pulse check on the business as is situation.As a good habit,successful startup founders do work on their key performance indicator. It’s a good measurement tool that shows where your business is right now in the present state, relative to where it comes from in the past and where it is going in the future. It allows you to set targets for implementing your growth strategies. You need to dedicate time and money to achieve the targeted Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). There is no other better way for measuring your startup growth story.
5. Business Model Review
Most of us take care of the smallest of things on a regular basis such as maintaining our cars, going to the dentist for a checkup, and getting our air conditioner serviced before the summer. But do we take a step back and invest some time to look at our business model to see everything is working as per the plan?
For business models, it is utmost common to have ‘goals’ and ‘assumptions’ sections. One of the first thing, you need to do is – to check whether you’re achieving the set goals or not? Are you on track or off track? Review your business plan thoroughly and analyze where you are heading? If you’re not heading the right way, then re-plan and re-strategize what you need to do to achieve your goals. Make a revised business model and update the goals if you find the goals to be outdated.
You also need to update your staff about the revised goals and expectations. Chalk out your plan, your strategy and set goals in a year’s time. Do not hesitate to modify your objective(s) if things don’t work out your way.
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6. You got two eyes, right? Keep one eye on your Competitor always
Keeping an eye on the competition and coming up with competitive analysis, are the basics and has been a part of the business strategy since the business was business. It does not matter at all; from which industry you belong to. Once you’re in the market, competition is in your way as an obstacle to reach success. Do a thorough omnidirectional deep analysis of the competition.
You need to question each and everything to make the right choice(s). Whether they are right or wrong, positioned or not positioned. Remember you’re not perfectionist, be a lifelong learner. Correlating and comparing business vs competition (apple-to-apple comparison) will widen your knowledge about the target audience and industry insights, this will help you refine the business strategy efficiently.
Last words of wisdom as a wrap up
Growth story for any business; big or small and especially startups has always been challenged time to time. Never be complacent of the fact that your business is going to sustain and grow. If you have a really strong growth strategy,that will set you apart from the dozens of the startups out there, that you are likely to compete against your journey. The strategy is filled up with a subset of small tactics that ripe benefits and results gradually, step-by-step in continuum. These small achievements and accomplishments in the long run, come together to become a ‘big bang’ for you.