Jumping into the startup world is exciting. Bidding entrepreneurs’ trade the 9 to 5 working lifestyle for the chance of financial freedom and independence. The pathway can be filled with gold if entrepreneurs stick to the key factors that will guarantee them success. Below are six critical steps that every startup must follow.
Make business development your main priority!
Successful business development is critical to the growth and survival of the business. Revenue is the lifeblood of the business, which can only be fulfilled by the prospects and leads in the business’s pipeline. The business must invest in both inbound and outbound marketing activities that will create opportunities for the business to secure more sales. Business development activities that the startup should be implementing include:
- Cold calling
Telesales or tele-appointment setting is the fastest way to scale a business. Businesses should qualify their target audience and hire a telesales person that can complete up to 70 dials a day.
- Direct mail
Direct mail initiatives such as postcards and sales letters can be great for securing new sales and brand awareness.
- Search marketing
Search marketing through paid search (Adwords) and search engine optimisation (SEO) can generate qualified leads that are likely to convert into customers.
- Referral marketing
The business should have a system in place to get more referrals from its existing client base. Also take a look at these recommended tips from successful companies and how they are acquiring new customers through referrals.
- Media marketing
Promoting the business’s offering in magazines, journals, newspapers, television and radio to generate inbound leads.
Hire people that will become assets for your business.
Employees are the ones that will shape your business’s identity and brand. It is important that you have a hiring process that allows you to identify and hire candidates that will add value to the business as well as fit into the business’s culture.
BusinessNewsDaily has a great article on 8 ways to make sure you are hiring the right person for a job. After all, it’s not just about hiring someone, it’s about hiring someone that can expand the growth of your company and make your day-to-day responsibilities even less.
Securing your business premises.
Business security is typically overlooked in importance until it is breached. From internal theft to shrinkage, breaches to the security of the business’s perimeter and IT security risks that could cripple the new business overnight. It is important that new businesses implement a security strategy. Ideally, a fully managed security solution such as Chartercom who provide surveillance, patrols, 24/7 monitoring and IT security management can give new business owners peace of mind so they can focus on developing their business.
Understand your financing position.
Every business will start with some overhead costs that will need to be financed before they can grow profitably. The finance choices are usually in the form of bootstrapping, loans, angel investors or venture capitalists.
Build your brand’s credibility.
Many new business owners struggle to understand why their business doesn’t receive the prestige or accolades like others in their industry. This is because prospective clients find it risky to invest into businesses that have little or no credibility behind them. It is essential that the business develops a portfolio of credibility to win over prospects that struggle to take the desired sales decision. Ways the brand can be developed include:
Recommendations from customers are the ultimate endorsement for your business. Gain as many as you can!
- Brand mentions
You want to develop as much brand exposure as possible. Seek to develop brand mentions both online and offline to improve your brand’s awareness in the market.
Nominate your business for awards. The more awards the business gains, the more recognition it will receive in the industry.
Managing the cash flow of the business is critical to its success. Ensure that you have financial targets for operating costs and profits. The business should always be operating as a cash flow positive entity. For any periods where revenue is negative, the management team should have an action plan that will allow them to improve their cash flow.
Sticking to these key factors will allow your startup to grow into a profitable enterprise. Evaluate your business plan and ensure that you have all of these areas covered so your business will thrive in the future!