The stats say that half of all startups will be out of business within five years, and only around one-third of them will still be in business a decade down the line. That means, if you want to be one of the successful ones, you have to be smart and work hard.
Probably, one of the best things you can do to ensure that your business survives to celebrate its 10th birthday and see the office removals company coming in, not because you’ve gone out of business, but to transport your stuff to a bigger office, is to create a growth strategy. After all, if you don’t know where you want to be, you’re never going to get there!
Creating a growth strategy is about more than just wishing for success in the long term – you need to have a real plan that tackles your issues and gives you and your employees something to strive for. This takes deliberate and continuous effort.
Here are the growth creating steps you need to take if you want your startup to be a true survivor:
Work Out What Your Value is
The first thing you will need to do if you want to create a solid growth strategy, is to identify what it is that you offer. Why do consumers choose your products over the competition? What makes your brand better than all of the other ones in your niche?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you can use it to market your company more effectively to your target audience. For example, if your biggest selling point is the fact that you’re a master bonsai tree grower, and therefore an expert in your field, or if you sell organic food in a place where there is a dearth of it, you have leverage, and you can use this leverage in your growth strategy.
If you stop doing the things that give you more value, stray from the path and start doing something else, then you put your business at serious risk.
Identify Your Perfect Customer
It’s also a pretty good idea to identify who represents your ideal customer. Are you selling clothing that appeals to teenage girls, grills that middle-aged men can’t get enough of, guitars that are perfect for people with small hands? It doesn’t matter who your perfect customer is, as long as you know who they are and continue to monitor their likes and dislikes, via market research, social media etc., so that you can keep giving them what they want.
Test and Monitor
As a business, you can’t simply set out a strategy for growth and then leave it alone, thinking that it will always work for you – it won’t. Things change quickly, which is why you should be using software to monitor everything from the amount of traffic your website gets to the demographic buying your stuff. Not only that, but you should always A/B test any changes, to ensure that they really do work. That’s how to get your business running at it’s best.
Add New Revenue Streams
It is vital if you want to still be around in a decade, that you verify your current revenue streams, to see what you’re using and what isn’t working for you, so that you can make adjustments. However, it is also vital that you keep looking for new streams of revenue as your business grows. So, don’t be afraid to drop good ideas that just don’t generate revenue, to take a chance on a new idea that research suggests could be good for you.
Watch the Competition
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in; you should always have one eye on the competition. Chances are that you’ll be doing a few things better than them and they’ll be doing a few things better than you. If you’re taking notice, you’ll know what’s going on, and you can start beating them at their own game.
Invest in Employees
Investing time and money in training and developing your current staff, and perhaps more importantly, hiring new staff who bring their A-game to your business and a whole bunch of new ideas that you can use, is vital if you want your growth strategy to work, so please don’t leave it out!
If you include all of these elements in your growth strategy, then there is a very good chance that you’ll still be standing in a decade when your peers have fallen all around you. However, you can never be too complacent, so keep your eye on the ball and never stop improving your business!