Do you know there are more than 30 million small-scale businesses across the U.S., but only 50% could sustain over five years? Many startups fail when it comes to achieving product-market fit.
The reason is that most of these businesses lack a clear roadmap toward long-term success. They lack a concrete growth strategy that is equally or more essential than just having a marketing plan for your new startup business
Without an effective strategy, you’re at the whims of a changeable customer base and shifting market conditions.
1. Confirm There’s a Market for Your Idea
So the first key to a successful growth strategy is confirming that there’s potential for your idea to sustain. Is there enough demand for your products or services? Or is your idea up-to-date and can stay in the foreseen future?
Before making bigger moves, it’s important to justify the existence of your business. Because if that’s not the case, you can invest huge capital in your startup with a risk of it going either way, to success or failure.
Being an entrepreneur, you’re the risk taker, but it’s also your job to minimize the risk as much as possible.
The first step is doing the legwork and researching whether or not your products or services can sell. You’ll have to carry out your research as in-depth as you can, and there’s no better way to start than to analyze your competitors.
Check how many sales and reviews they have got. Are they successful? Can you reinvent the same products or services with more improvements? So there’s a unique selling point (USP).
It’s not necessary to come up with a revolutionary business concept. But all you need is an idea that people are willing to buy or can buy in the future.
Until and unless you haven’t acquired the full knowledge of your business domain, you shouldn’t move on to the next steps.
2. Make Your Value Propositions Clear
Once you can confirm a place for your business idea in the market, the next important thing is to know what your business is bringing to the table. What value do you offer your customers, and what makes you different from your competitors?
Remember, your business is headed for long-term growth. You’ll have to clearly explain to your potential clients why your products or services are a need for them. Without seeing the value, they won’t budge to pay.
But before explaining to them, you need to have a complete understanding of your value prepositions. A value proposition is a feature of your product or service that draws potential customers to your business.
To identify such features, ask yourself questions. What problems can you solve for your customers? What issues can you help them with? What sets you apart from your competitors?
Once you have the answers and can convey them to the general public, you’re ready to sell your products or services to customers.
If you’re unsure why people need your product, how can they be certain they do? But to do such magic, you need great salesmanship.
However, you still need to invest time in performing extensive research analysis of your business characteristics and customer needs. And see if you can bridge any gap and lure more sales.
3. Identify your target audience
After being certain of your business’s value proposition and knowing what makes you appealing to potential customers, it’s time to confirm the precise demographic you should be aiming for. In other words, it’s time to identify your target audience as you start advertising to the public.
Once you know whom you’re pitching to and who’ll buy your products or services, it’s much easier to market your business and make fewer mistakes. Also, you’ll be more accurate and focused with your marketing campaigns when you’ve pinpointed the audience.
Whether it’s email marketing, direct messaging to customers, or any other form of advertising, you can pinpoint your customers’ needs/wants and deliver according to that.
You can identify your target audience and their needs by doing multiple surveys. For instance, if your startup is software development, you can do a soft launch of your product and let a small group of people that fall under your demographic test it out. You can then ask them questions and use their honest feedback to construct an effective strategy.
Additionally, you can start your business newsletter and post relevant questions there. Anyone who takes the time to respond to your questions will typically fall under your target audience.
You can also identify your target audience by analyzing the market, identifying your competitors, and knowing the ins and outs very well.
We understand knowing your target audience is a lengthy process. However, to be on the right path, it’s very crucial to do your research before moving on to the next steps or constructing a strategy without considering this.
4. Monitor Your Competitor
Keeping a close eye on your rivals or those giants in the industry can give you great insight into your business niche and help you construct a strong and successful growth strategy.
You’ll be able to discover who their clients are, which will aid you in developing a plan for assembling your target market.
Do you want to attract the same audience? If so, then what difference can you offer to stand out?
Competitor analysis can often show you that you shouldn’t be aiming for the same demographic and can guide you toward establishing your specialty.
Moreover, it can help you understand your startup potential by revealing the success or failure in that industry.
And by analyzing what made a competitor’s business successful or what became a reason for its failure, you can identify beforehand how much work you’ll have to do or what steps you’ll have to take to outperform your rivals.
So by monitoring your competitors, you can identify the shortcomings of your business strategy and address them accordingly before even stepping into the industry.
Yes, you have to do thorough research on your rivals and not be discouraged by the thoughts of unveiling flaws in your business plan.
It’s better to see your flaws beforehand and have the chance to make improvements than to lose heavy investment later due to these mistakes.
5. Make Smart Hires
Making smart hires is also one of the main components of a strong startup growth strategy. With restricted funds, a startup business has no space for investing in the wrong employee.
Being an early-stage firm, a five-figure investment in the wrong employee can result in a major loss of traction, momentum, and revenue.
A wrong employee can be someone who’s not the right candidate for a certain job, or someone who’s capable but you can’t utilize their capabilities to the fullest.
For instance, you hire a full-time chief marketing officer (CMO) for your startup, which isn’t economical. But are there enough tasks available for a full-timer? If not, then you need a fractional CMO to cut down unnecessary expenses.
Additionally, you should also consider tools to manage your workforce. Let’s understand why.
Fractional CMO for Startups
A fractional CMO is an executive with the same responsibilities as a regular full-time CMO. The key difference is that fractional CMOs are outsourced and work part-time or even quarter-time to bring out the required level of output.
You can think of it as CMO-as-a-Service, where a specialist is hired to meet only the specific demands of your business.
So unlike a full-time CMO who works in-house and requires a full salary package with other benefits, a fractional CMO for startups is a smart choice to lower costs.
6. Scale Responsibly
Do you know focusing on growing without establishing product-market fit is one of the main reasons for premature failure? So our last key step revolves around scaling your business but with responsibility.
There’s no better feeling than seeing your business grow. But there’s a process– a learning curve that every company has to go through. If you spend too much on your business, it can get you into deep water.
Alternatively, if you want to maintain a lower burn rate, renting a coworking space is among the simplest ways to do that.
In today’s world, where technology has made everything so efficient, choosing coworking or remote space over traditional office space can typically save you tens of thousands of dollars each year.
On top of that, you can easily scale up or down the output of your business without paying hefty amounts or breaking expensive lease agreements.
Whether you run a food business or some high-tech product-selling business, bringing long-term success requires a solid growth plan. And a solid growth plan includes:
- Researching and knowing that there’s a market for your business plan
- Knowing what value your products and services are offering to the customers
- Identifying your target audience to be precise with your selling approach
- Making smart hires by hiring fractional CMO to cut some expenses
These key steps listed above will help you scale your startup business with a higher success rate. Make sure to follow these tactics and leave your competitors behind.