Launching a start-up is no small task. Getting those early customers and revenue, adding the necessary contractor or employee and the additional supplier, as revenue incrementally ramps. But how do you really get your young company ready for sustained growth, that is growth that is both dramatic and consistent over a significant period of time, and how do you maximize the potential for that growth?
Most businesses have some element of growth potential. But many never fully realize it. Many entrepreneurs go through a growth cycle that often looks like a sine wave. Some years up, some years down; but nothing sustained. Growth can be illusory, if you don’t take some crucial steps to ensure that you can maximize your business’ potential for that sustained growth. Getting sustained growth is matter of harnessing and maximizing the potential for that growth. Here are five crucial steps toward that end:
Determine Why/How You Will Grow
Just because you sold ten customers, doesn’t mean you can sell one hundred. Know why the ten selected you, in the first place. Wherever possible replicate and build on that success through references and case studies. The more successes you have, the better the chances for more. And spread the word. Customers love to be part of a success story, especially if it helps their business. And, while you can increase new customers also determine if you can sell those ten customers another product or service. Upselling is a very efficient and effective way to grow.
Establish Realistic Company-Wide Growth Targets
Growth targets should never be a secret. In fact, quite the opposite. It gives your employees, regardless of how few or how many, a sense of mission, especially if and when you start to hit some of your targets, and maybe some of their compensation are tied to those targets. Additionally, to achieve sustained revenue growth, you need to grow commensurately (but efficiently) in areas that create and support that sales environment. Areas like marketing, customer service and operations. Make sure those folks understand that as you grow, so too will their roles and resources.
Build on your success and continue to work the niche or niches where that success has come. Sustained growth doesn’t necessarily require new strategies. In fact, it usually means even tighter focus and emphasis on execution of the strategies that achieved your early growth.
Expand Market Scope Through Partnering
Develop partnerships to help further penetrate/expand the niches that you have penetrated. Use the partnerships to gain either sales presence for your products in aligned markets where you have none, or new products in markets and for customers you already serve.
Continue Your Personal Growth
You can’t grow your company without sustaining your own growth, both professionally and personally. Professionally, be a sponge. Never stop learning both about your market, your customers and your competition. Personally, don’t forget yourself and your significant others. You need a periodic escape, to get away from the hour-to-hour, day-to-day pressure of growing your business. Find yours and try to keep a balance between your personal and professional life, your family and your business.
Sustained growth is what separates really successful entrepreneurial ventures from the very pedestrian ones. Maximizing the potential for sustained growth is a matter of sticking to some fundamental, but crucial steps to reach that potential.