SME Growth Strategies

Growing and scaling are two very important factors in a company’s development and ultimately their success. After your company successfully navigates the initial phases of product/service development it will need to change focus to increasing your market share and increasing your customer base.

The first stages of product development tend to revolve around customer needs, wants and hopefully a gap in the market. When a company begins to develop a product, data must be collect a market assessment should be completed. The more interaction a company has with with their target market, the better equipped the company will be moving forward.

Unfortunately, some companies tend to be focused internally, which can be harmful to the overall production and growth phases. Ultimately, you must know what the customer wants. While you hypothesize a solution (your product) to a specific problem, data must be collected to help improve your chances of success. A product problem is great for companies that are just beginning to understand the direction the company is going to go. Initially the focus is on building a product or service that is going to be positively received by consumers. Growth and scaling of your business comes later.

After you have an optimal product designed and developed, you need to gather feedback from your target market. Engaging and learning with your customers will ultimately determine how your product evolves. This is the point where companies can and should begin their focus on growth strategies.

Now that you have your initial product, you should be focusing on how to brand, market and increase your market share. By now your product has been analyzed, altered and (hopefully) validated by the market. Next the company needs to develop a firm, but flexible growth strategy that the company commits to follow. If your company needs help in this area you are not alone. Having a stable growth strategy and effective plans to complete your growth goals will be the key to your company’s success, or at least preparing them for success. Luckily, for all companies there is a lot of support for developing effective growth strategies.

The Truth About Startups & 5 Helpful Tips

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It’s simple; startups are a lot of hard work.

No one is going to argue that fact, or try debating it. While they may be a lot of hard work, startups are still fun and vastly fulfilling.

They require loyal commitment and also take up an exuberant amount of time and typically rely upon a centered small, lean team who work long hours. Hopefully, these teams are innovating and creating products and services that stand out from the crowd. It is guaranteed that your company will battle against tight market competition eventually and it’s best to be prepared. Innovation and strategic is a must if you want to stay ahead of the proverbial game. If you aren’t innovating and keeping ahead of your competitors then you are falling behind or closing your doors. If you are successful at being innovative, remember to protect it. Even if it is time consuming or expensive, it is worth it.

Being innovative isn’t simply enough anymore and protecting your innovation is important not only for your business to succeed, but also to establish and receive investment.

The more barriers against competition that your startup can provide will help increase your credibility and longevity. That and investors will inevitably have more interest in your company.

5 Helpful Tips for Startups

1. Sell the promise: There are two ideal times to raise money for a startup: before your launch and when you start experiencing your growth curve. Before you launch you’re ultimately selling the guarantee of your vision (which is unquantified).

2. Ask for advice – the money comes later: Tell people you’re not raising money because when you ask for money you get advice. If you go out and ask for advice you’ll get money (and advice). That being said all startups are raising money, but it’s about how you approaching finding investors. The key is finding the right advice, money and investor for your company.

3. Write down all that advice: Take detailed notes during and after meetings with smart people. Ask short questions and record the answers. (e.g. ‘what do you think?,’ ‘what your favorite part?,’ ‘would you use it? how?,’ ‘who do you think would have feedback on this?’)

4. Take your time: Get it right the first time. Take your time and prepare and test everything. Create a solid product and a structured company that can support its success.

5. Market and plan for a big launch: If your launch isn’t generating buzz or being picked up by some media outlets, you’ve done something wrong. You only get one launch so take your time and make it worth the wait. Emails, tweets and social media interaction generally acceptable before going to the press about a beta test and product launch. Most importantly, ask for help when it comes to commercializing new products.