You’ve beaten the odds, the danger has passed and you’ve kept your start-up afloat through those crucial first few months. You could sit back and watch the money roll in, or you could start thinking about stage two. Here are our top tips for taking your vision to the next level:
Our Top 10 Tips
1. Forget money (for now)
This is not the time to be checking your bank balance. Instead look at how you can invest your income back into the business.
2. Work less, plan more
The average small business owner works 63% longer than salaried employees, with many getting bogged down in run-of-the-mill tasks. Try to focus on strategy and managerial issues, by delegating areas of workload, where possible.
3. Set some goals
Whether it’s luck or entrepreneurial genius that’s taken you this far, you can’t survive on it forever. Go back to your business plan and reassess; decide where you want to take your vision and when and how you are going to get there.
4. Find a mentor
Having a few more grey hairs on board can never hurt. Joining a small business group on LinkedIn can be a good place to start looking for advice.
5. Enhance your customers’ experience
Retaining (and potentially upgrading) your existing clients should be your first investment priority. Set out a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy that will reward loyalty and provide incentives for repeat business.
6. Get serious about marketing
With a stable revenue stream secured, you can then start developing a lasting online marketing strategy. Focus on long-term options, such as SEO rather than the immediate returns of pay-per-click strategies, for example.
Aligning yourself with another small firm can help attract more business whilst also spreading the cost of marketing and overheads.
You might also look at joining a breakfast, or small business group, which can be a great way to gain new referrals.
While your current product line may be pulling in the punters, there’s no reason you can’t start developing complementary products or services that can provide an alternative revenue stream.
10. Raise more capital
Back to money. There is always financing out there looking for a good idea to call home. The risk to investors is lower for an idea that is proven to work, meaning improved borrowing terms for you.
The order in which you follow these steps or indeed the steps you choose to follow will naturally depend on where you are in the process and how successful your business has been up to now. Regardless, the sooner you start thinking about taking your venture forward, the quicker it’s likely to happen.