Not everything about starting a business is fun.
In fact, a lot of the work during the early growth stages just, well, sucks.
Yes, you read that right.
Startups can be stressful; however, the sucky, pull-your-hair-out growth stage isn’t forever. In fact, the not-so-fun startup phase can provide you a lot of information about both your business and your market – what works and what doesn’t work – that will shape your company’s future. Being able to weather the startup storm, and respond to the growing pains of your baby biz can be a “make it or break it” phase of your entrepreneurial career.
Here are three tips for making the growth phase less “sucky”:
#1. Respond to the Market
Wanna learn a little secret to determining if a business idea is “good” or not?
Here it is: Does it make money?
A new product or service isn’t a good one if it doesn’t make money. There’s no way to find out whether or not folks are going to “like” (aka: buy) your offering besides throwing it out there.
Smart entrepreneurs respond to the market. If consumers don’t like your offering, figure out why, and modify your business model to meet their needs.
Disgruntled customers, or potential customers that “pass” on your offering can be your best source of intel. Find out why these folks said the big “N-O” to your business and make the necessary changes.
Remember: one surefire way to lose a race if to beat a dead horse. Same philosophy applies to business “duds” – products or services nobody wants.
“The hardest part about starting your own business is transitioning during periods of growth. When you start out it’s only you, but as the business grows you have to strategically bring on more help and manage growth while maintaining the quality of your service,” states Brandi Baldwin-Rana, Ph.D in her 2015 Millennial Spotlight interview.
#2. Cash is King
Our second principle has everything to do with money, i.e. making sure you have enough on hand to make it over the “bumps and potholes” of driving a start-up.
Cash is considered the lifeblood of your business. Sales are great, but having cash where you need it, when you need, is often the true “clicker” of start-up success. Business experts often recommend entrepreneurs strive to have half of their start-up costs on hand as a cash reserve to help “cushion” unexpected expenses during rapid growth phases.
Not everyone can afford to have this much cash on backup, and that’s okay. Just make sure that you have some cash reserve, and pay attention to your business’ cash flow budget. Thanks to apps like Wave and Pulse, it’s easier now than ever for entrepreneurs to track their business’ cash flow.
#3. Reinvest in Your Company
It’s always an exciting day at Becker Marketing & PR when we land another client. There’s usually a few back slaps, “Hoorahs!”, and the occasional celebratory drink or cigar, depending on how big this new client is (or how much work it took to land them!). However, with ever new client, comes the need for more resources – more staff, more equipment, more space, more everything.
As your business grows, it’s going to require more resources. Be sure to plan on making these needed investments as your business expands from start-up to more established entity. While it’s tempting to take your first year profits and fly first class to Cancun, make sure you’re not spending your company’s future away on margaritas and resort fees.