When you’re just beginning with a startup, you’re always trying to maximize often meager resources to get off the ground. For a while, growth will come quickly, but once you reach a certain point, you’ll have to start modifying your approach in order to maintain that growth and scale your business appropriately.
1. Networking and Social Media
One of the first moves you may want to make when you’re looking to grow your startup involves your network of connections, both on and off social media. Making or leveraging contacts with influential voices in your industry is essential if you want to be taken seriously, and when there’s a big name mentioned in the same breath as your company, you’ll have some instant credibility with others in the field.
You need to make sure you’re adding something useful to the conversation, though, and so it’s important to do your research ahead of time so that you can provide information relevant to those you’re hoping to connect with.
When it comes to social media, the audience may be different, but the same rules generally apply. Make sure to post good content that will be of interest to your target audience and that will increase your reputation as having expertise in the field.
Posting regularly is important as well, as is engaging with readers and commenters rather than leaving their comments unanswered. In order to keep this manageable, it’s good to know exactly who your target audience is, so that you can focus on a specific niche first before expanding into related but also specifically-targeted areas.
2. Smart Hiring
While it can be tempting to keep your operation lean for as long as humanly possible, hiring strategically is essential when you’re looking to grow. You need to be able to delegate some of your responsibilities so that you can focus on building your business, and attracting and retaining high-quality talent is a vital step in that process. Of course, you don’t want to go out and hire a bunch of people without any clear idea of the contributions they’ll make, but you won’t be able to maintain the kind of growth you want without keeping your hiring a step ahead of that curve.
3. Act Big and Set Goals
Going hand-in-hand with this hiring philosophy is the need to think and act like a big business no matter what your revenue or how many employees you actually have. This means putting procedures in place for things that you might not feel like you need now, but that will greatly improve your efficiency in various areas as you grow, while also helping you to avoid some major pitfalls along the way.
Setting goals and staging this out is an important part of modeling your company after a big business where it makes sense to do so, and it enables you to keep focused on a relatively short-term target that is designed to move your business forward toward your ultimate growth goal. Goals also create a sense of urgency, helping you to keep the positive energy flowing.
4. Value Criticism
When you’ve begun the process of turning your dream into a startup reality, it can be hard to listen to those who might disagree with what you’re trying to do or how you’re trying to do it, even in part. Allowing other voices into the conversation, though, especially critical ones, is an excellent way to avoid any number of problems and complications as you proceed, and it can often pay off big in the long term.
Of course, there’s a definite need to balance the taking in of constructive criticism with the need to stay positive and maintain belief in your original idea. Putting too much weight to negative reviews of your product or business can lead you to make unnecessary changes or become paralyzed as you obsess over satisfying your critics, which only limits your ability to grow.
5. Keep the Big Picture in Focus
All of these elements will combine to allow you to grow your startup the way you want to as long as you also keep the big picture in focus. It’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day challenges of running and growing a business, but you’ll quickly find yourself treading water if you don’t periodically check in to see how you’re doing in making progress towards your long-term goals.
There are many aspects to this, and sometimes it may mean not obsessing too much about every detail, while at others it might have more to do with acknowledging that there are things you don’t know so you can listen to those who do. All of this is much easier to accept when viewed as a tool to help you reach your ultimate goal for your startup, and it’s an important part of ensuring you’re equipped to reach that goal in the end.