6 Things Startups Should Do To Grow

So you have successfully researched your business idea, found your team of like-minded enterprising individuals as co-founders, pitched your proposal and secured funding, set-up your company and rolled out your product or service and the business has started picking up momentum. As your business grows from a start-up into a mature business it will face different challenges as it evolves. Here are some tips to help you to grow your startup.

1. Adapt to the changes of growth

Change is inevitable, and a start-up may find that it is being deprived of growth opportunities because of the principles or conditions on which it was founded. If it fails to adapt to the changes that come along with growth, it will lose its relevance to the market or it may risk its value proposition. For example, a change of location may be required for your business as you grow, by location we do not merely mean a different address in a new locality. It may even be a different country altogether. Customer location, regulatory environment, IP protection regime or greater potential to draw investors may urge a startup to change its location from the original country where it was established. If it is essential for the growth of the company, then take the leap of faith and realign your fundamentals in order to achieve the ultimate goal. Therefore don’t get too comfortable and refuse to adapt to the needs of a growing business. Hawksford - What Next For Startups

2. Open channels of communication

As a start-up grows so does the number of touch points within the organization, such as employees, customers and vendors. It is essential to keep the communication channels open in order to ensure seamless flow of information back and forth. An informal text message may have sufficed when the team was small but as you evolve proper channels and systems must be put in place. New hires may not be familiar with a start-up environment and may feel lost, the core team must comprehensively communicate the vision, culture and strategies to them to ensure that they subscribe to the vision of the start-up and sync with its culture. It is equally as important to ensure that all functional teams are communicating well. Likewise listening to customers will reveal gaps in the market and may highlight potential improvements to the products or services, providing you with the next essential growth lever. Even vendors may bring in solutions that aid your growth. Remember growth is a team effort and the team does not merely stop with those within the company, it may extend to include the customers and vendors.

3. Graduate from people to process

As you evolve, start documenting practices and processes, this will be helpful to transfer knowledge to new hires and save substantial training resources. Every start-up transitions from a people to a process focused organization as it grows. Therefore it is essential to establish process owners, roles, responsibilities and workflows. This will eventually be very helpful in scaling operations. For example a template outlining the process flow for a new product will save a lot of time in the planning stages. Although each market or product is different some tasks can be replicated without much effort.

4. Outsource – take the help of professionals

Enlisting the help of experts will reduce the burden on your resources. Hire professional service providers to manage your business functions such as bookkeeping, payroll processing, regulatory and tax compliance. This will empower your employees to focus on the core business functions that are revenue generating in nature. You have to do what you are best at and focus all your resources and energy towards business growth and leave the non-revenue generating tasks to service providers. Hawksford has been engaged by several Singapore start-ups to provide this support. We provide an end-to-end service from company incorporation to managing annual ongoing compliance matters.

5. Choose your partners carefully

Many of the present day big companies had partners that brought synergies in their early years. Partnering is a time-consuming trust building exercise, so if not done carefully it may detract you from your business building goals. Partnering with big established companies brings legitimacy to start-ups but at the same time the lock-in clauses and incompatible culture may hinder growth. Partnering with other start-ups may appear to bring synergies on equal terms but the problems of one could bog down the other. It does not mean that you should run away from big corporations or shun the deals of start-ups similar to you. Choose your partners carefully. Examine their partnership history, the value proposition of the potential partner, the culture and values and their business model. But foremost you must be thoroughly aware of your values that will be attractive to the potential partner and also know your needs that the partners will fulfill.

6. Measure against milestones

It helps to have projected milestones along the growth trajectory. Examples of such milestones maybe, getting the prototype ready by a certain date, making the first x number of customers, generating x amount of revenue within x months, achieving x% of growth or achieving x% of conversions, etc. These milestones are markers along the road to your ultimate goal as a company. This will be helpful in demonstrating the ability of your company to potential investors and partners. You can demonstrate to your investors, how many of the milestones you have achieved and what intrinsic values you have built as a company and also provide an insight into your potential market value. Setting milestones will also help you in terms of budgeting, planning, prioritizing and delegating.

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