By Asma Bashir, CEO of Centuro
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, but 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 need to offer a product or service that solves a
problem for your target audience, does it better than current market solutions
or is something completely new and innovative.
If you’re still sitting in the start-up medium, 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
However, a business in scale-up mode has guaranteed to have mastered their market position, confidently
executing everything on a larger scale, without sacrificing their current niche
for the sake of growth.
To achieve this, your
business needs to have everything confidently laid out, whilst being able to
maintain 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.
Your business needs
to have an online presence, there’s no question, but the way you deliver your
business on these platforms can be make or break for a consumer.
With social media,
powerful blogs to drive your message, and even the use of video to document
your journey in building your business and your brand, can really give you an
edge over your market competitors, as long as you are consistent in your output
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 it be provided from a venture capitalist
or a bank.
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.
Ultimately, with an established product or service offering
and concrete funding, start-ups can shift into a bigger operation – enabling
the brand to grow and develop at scale.
Implement automated or replicable systems
In order to fully
transition from start-up into a scale-up, the concept of automation cannot be
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 driving 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.
This can funnel into
all areas of your business, from integrating cloud accounting software to
cloud-based storage systems to ensure all team members can access all
documentation to fulfil their job role from any computer or mobile device.
It can be tough in the initial growth phase to find the staff to share your dream and
want to pursue the growth for your business. When taking on new hires, start by
instilling your passion in the business from the get-go to ensure they can add
value and fuel your growth from day one.
Asma Bashir is the CEO of Centuro, a leading
London-based Consultancy agency, helping businesses and entrepreneurs thrive in
their chosen career industry.
Asma is a legal professional and philanthropist with
over 20 years’ experience within the legal services industry.