Asma Bashir, Co-founder at Centuro Global, shares insights.
Originally published in Business Leader, March 29th, 2019
The start-up phase of a business is a challenging but exciting time.
As the Founder, you will have no choice but to balance core responsibilities of Accountancy, Sales and Operations before you find and can afford the right people to fill these vital positions, in many cases preventing scale and growth.
Despite being in its infancy, where decision-making processes are quick and resulting action is immediate, the start-up phase of a business is definitely the most difficult. Still, with some key strategic changes, you will be able to accelerate your start-up into a scale-up in no time:
Establish your role in your specific market
When creating a successful business, you must offer a product or service that solves a problem for your target audience. Is it better than current market solutions, or is it something completely new and innovative?
Suppose you’re still sitting in the start-up medium. In that case, you’re still likely to be experimenting with and refining your target audience, developing your true market and value proposition and establishing a baseline for your key business metrics.
However, a business in scale-up mode has guaranteed to have mastered its market position, confidently executing everything on a larger scale without sacrificing its current niche for the sake of growth.
To achieve this, your business needs to have everything confidently laid out whilst maintaining a strong sales strategy, knowing exactly what your product or service offers and how it is set aside from key market competitors.
It sounds simple, but clearly defining your market position can really make a difference to your approach and resulting business growth.
Embrace online opportunities
The digital world is crammed with opportunities for your business, and sadly, with the limited time constraints start-ups have, it can be a factor that just doesn’t get utilised.
A strong website with articulate branding and an original message can go a long way, particularly when you consider it only takes about 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for consumers to form a positive or negative opinion about your website.
Secure funding and generate a steady revenue stream
Starting a business can be an expensive venture, where a lot of start-ups dive in head first with limited funds.
Since they are still building a concrete product/service and a steady revenue stream, start-ups are often dependent on some sort of outside funding — whether a venture capitalist or a bank provides it.
Though a clear marker of success, organic growth can be slow, where a start-up in receipt of funding drives that shift to scale-up by enabling them to invest in key job roles, an increased marketing strategy or greater production, which simply wouldn’t have been possible during start-up phase due to cash flow constraints.
Implement automated or replicable systems
In order to fully transition from a start-up into a scale-up, the concept of automation cannot be overlooked.
It is very common for new businesses and their employees to be bogged down by simple and repetitive tasks, which can be better placed to drive business growth.
Whether this is marketing automation through scheduling tools or automating the lead generation process, there is a host of tech platforms that you can implement into your business that will allow your operations to aid and adapt to growth and scale.