Creating Sustainable Growth For Your Startup
Growth is often the number one priority for any startup. With growth comes revenue and with revenue should come profit, eventually. However, growth is all about finding the sweet spot – too much, too quickly and your startup could be left short of resources or without the proper structure in place to support your expansion. Too slow and your business could face stagnation and lose the race to turn profitable. The sweet spot is what’s known as sustainable growth – the rate at which your resources, structure and systems can support growth without risking the quality of your product or service, or operations as a whole. Below we’ll explore some of the areas of your startup that you should be focusing on to help generate sustainable growth.
REMAIN FOCUSED ON YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE
Many startups fall into the trap of losing sight of their fundamental offering once they start to focus on growth and profitability. This can be a dangerous and ultimately fatal mistake because your product or service is what underpins the whole operation. Continue to optimise and improve your offering whilst you find new customers and try to generate loyalty from existing customers – this will ensure that you are building your business with the customer in mind and not simply money.
GENERATE CUSTOMER LOYALTY
Following on from the last point, continually improving your customer experience and boosting customer satisfaction is essential to generate loyalty which is key to building a sustainable business. As is common knowledge, keeping existing customers is far more cost-effective than attracting new ones – which not only will help you to turn a profit but also maintain a consistent revenue stream from which further investment can be used to create sustainable growth. Loyal customers will spread the word about your brand and will spend more over a longer period of time, which are key features of a sustainable business.
BE REALISTIC WITH NEW BUSINESS
Gaining new business and customers is, of course, essential for any startup to grow and develop. However, new business efforts should never detract from the importance of your existing customers and fundamental offering as touched on earlier. Particularly in service-based startups, taking on too many new clients can reduce the quality of the work your business is outputting because resources become stretched and attention is shifted from each individual client. Therefore, being realistic with how many new customers or clients you are bringing on board is essential to ensure that you can provide your product or service sustainably.
CREATE A HEALTHY WORK ENVIRONMENT
Internal proceedings are just as significant as external when it comes to sustainability. If your startup doesn’t have a healthy work environment or leadership structure then you risk losing talent that would have been able to drive your startup’s long-term success. Create a workplace culture of progression, acceptance and inclusion so every member of your team feels a genuine sense of connection to the venture and its mission and vision. Look after the wellbeing of your staff too, whether it be in physical terms through providing sufficient personal protective equipment or encouraging discussions around mental health. A happy and healthy workforce is more likely to stay and support your startup for the long haul, which is critical for organisational sustainability and stability.
CAREFULLY CONSIDER YOUR RECRUITMENT STRATEGY
Recruitment is a challenging process for startups because working patterns and structures can change quickly while the company is finding its feet. Impulsive or reactive recruitment, especially around peaks and troughs in demand, can lead to bloating or starving your business which may hinder your sustainability. Carefully consider and strategize when and where additional staff or talent may be required and consistently review these plans.
LEARN TO DELEGATE
It’s all too common for entrepreneurs to want to have a say in everything that goes on in their startup. While this is understandable, learning to delegate is potentially the most important thing you can do if you want to build a sustainable business. A flat or non-existent leadership hierarchy can slow your processes and decision-making. Find people you trust and delegate where necessary so you can focus on bigger-picture items and allow your startup to thrive and flourish more sustainably.
Source: Startups Magazine