The goal of a startup is to not be a startup forever.
No startup wants to be a startup forever. Sure, its founders may want to have the same hustle, drive, determination, and innovation throughout its existence, but no one longs to stay stuck in the cash-strapped infantile stage of startup forever.
So, how do you get bigger? What are the tactics you should implement to start growing?
Here are some of the tactics that have helped me build several multi-million dollar businesses.
In the beginning, when I was young and inexperienced, I at least did one thing right.
I got referrals. Nobody ever taught me the right strategies for getting referrals. I just asked and received.
Thankfully, it was these referrals that allowed me to scale-up my consulting business. Eventually, once that business picked-up steam, I was able to launch several sustainable businesses that are now humming along quite nicely.
Focus on what you do best and forget everything else.
Sure, startups may need to pivot wildly in the early days, but you also need to keep in mind something else: Do what only you can do. And do it best.
As you grow a business, you'll discover that there is one thing that you do best. You do it better than anyone else in your industry. Usually, it's what you love doing, your passion.
This one task, activity, or deliverable will make you grow like nothing else.
So, find everything that doesn't contribute directly to this task and outsource it. Bookkeeping, incorporation, taxes, HR, data, metrics, marketing: Whatever it is, outsource it. Your time spent on any auxiliary task is time not well-spent.
Obviously, you should maintain a firm handle on all the relevant aspects of your business, but don't obsess over them. Instead, find that one thing that you do right, and become known for that.
Grow your personal reputation.
Building your personal brand is one of the best business decisions that you could ever make.
People are more likely to know, trust, and buy from a trusted individual than they are a business. By catapulting yourself into the public eye, you can grow your business, too.
Find your niche.
No business can expect to grow if they haven't found their niche. Another key to growth is knowing your niche, embracing it, and eventually, dominating it.
If you have a small niche, don't worry. Growth isn't about the size of your niche, but about your dominance within that niche.
Build a content platform.
Content marketing will do more to put your business on the A-list than any other marketing activity.
The vital aspects of content marketing include: 1) High quality content, 2) The right content platforms, and 3) Regular output of content.
One of the most strategic content marketing practices is guest posting. Guest posting is the practice of using a larger platform to connect with a wider audience. Your content published in the right places can produce enormous growth in your market presence and amplify your marketing efforts.
Increasing your content outputs will catapult your business into a position of thought leadership. If you can produce content better than any other business in your niche, you will completely dominate the online marketing space. As a result, you will grow larger than anyone else.
Partner with the right businesses.
In the realm of personal relationships, "it's not what you know but who you know."
It's true in personal life, but it's just as true in business. Robert Craven explains:
To really grow your business you need to take advantage of scale and often that requires working with a larger partner who has the required footprint and resources.
The benefits of partnering are obvious, but sometimes the process is difficult. Skock recommends a series of at least four questions:
- What complete solution can you offer that would require a partner or larger business?
- Which companies would best complement yours?
- What specific areas would complement yours?
- Which business would be most helpful for a win-win partnership and defeating the competition?
Partnerships aren't easy nor maintenance free, but they will give you a remarkable advantage in scale.
Speak at events.
As you grow your personal brand, you will probably be asked to speak at industry events. Take advantage of these as growth opportunities for your brand.
Make the news.
Some of the biggest startups are also some of the most newsworthy. Firms like Uber, Twitter, and Facebook often make headline business news.
Sure, part of it is because of their size, but it's also because of their inherent newsworthiness. You may not be able to disrupt an entirely ossified industry like Uber did, but you can penetrate the news of your niche industry in similar ways.
Websites like HARO can help you get connected to the right sources to put your website in the news circuit
Hire the best people you can.
To grow, you don't simply need the right customers. You also need the right people serving those customers.
Seek and hire the very best people you can--people who can complement your business's weaknesses, and who will promote your company's culture.
Hire a PR firm.
Thankfully, there is an entire industry of professionals who can curate and enhance your public image.
When you feel your business taking that upward trajectory, it's not too early to hire a PR agency. A PR firm will allow you to grow appropriately and even capitalize on the small opportunities that you might be missing.
The most surefire way to grow is simply to do stunning work. Outstanding work does not go unnoticed. As you work to provide better service, you will be recognized for your labor and will be rewarded for your value.
What is your startup doing to grow?