TL;DR – Start-ups can’t be start-ups forever; there is a time limit to how long you can call your business a start-up. If you keep telling people you’re “just a start-up,” you will never take actions for real growth.
One of the goals you had when starting a business was to grow it into a full-fledged running business, the type of business that has a steady market growth and one that can sustain itself for the foreseeable future.
It’s time to move from start-up mode to grown up mode and from planning to doing.
Depending on your drive and motivation you probably have managed to grow your business to a substantial stage all on your own. However, at a certain point because of a number of things that have creeped in into your goals and vision, your start-up may have now become stagnant. What could be preventing your business from growing? Take a look at the things listed below and see if they reflect the status of your company.
You have the wrong team
At one point you decided to get yourself a team. Great decision!
But guess what… You could have hired the wrong people. That doesn’t mean they’re bad people or bad employees. The wrong hire could still be a talented and committed person. They are just not the right fit for your company at the moment.
If they don’t share your passion for growth, they will slow you down.
In the early stages of a startup you are bound run into a lot of problems. So what you need are problem- solvers with technical skills. Hiring the wrong person could actually reduce your productivity and also may make you lose money.
You don’t have a team
So having the wrong team can slow you down but so is doing it all own your own. Going at it on your own may work but it will not be as fast as having an effective team. You may feel compelled to wear all the hats of HR, marketing, IT, finance, web development, and sales. But your energies are best channelled into a few specific and strategically crucial tasks, so make sure you get help from other people.
Delegation is an important skill all entrepreneurs must master. To become a going concern you have to start investing in people to do tasks you can no longer do. You have to grow your business. It is a misnomer to think people cost money.
Waiting for the right moment
Perfection never happens.
Perfection prevents a lot of people from achieving great things and it has killed a lot of dreams. It’s doing the same for your business. Sometimes it’s hard to get things moving because you want things to be flawless.
Work on the core of your business, and once it is ready, don’t waste your time on trying to get the small stuff perfect. Don’t get wrapped up for a week deciding on a logo when it ultimately doesn’t matter. Your brand will evolve as your business evolves, so your logo is likely to change.
A startup business is like a living organism, it will evolve over time. As long as you have the core features in a sufficient state, you will be fine.
There is no room for creativity
Well maybe you are being too stiff! You don’t need to have documented procedures for everything. Processes are important and good to have, but like everything else, they should be used in moderation. It’s not that processes are evil. It’s just that they can stifle creativity.
As an entrepreneur you need to be flexible and adjust and compromise on a lot of things. To achieve your vision you need to be willing to take different routes and adopt different mentalities, you need to change your temperament accordingly and focus on the growth of your business. You need to have a team that is not afraid to be creative when it comes to growth and problem solving. That could save you millions in cash.
The only thing you should not compromise on is your vision and strategic goals.
Assuming you know your customers’ needs
Have you ever conducted a survey on what your customer really wants? Say you sell clothes, have you talked to some of your clients to find out what fashion they prefer or did you just assume and decide for them? If you’re not sure of the last time any of these things happened, you’ve got a major problem. Your customers are important to your business and you need to listen to them.
A great way to know your customers’ needs is to ask them.
Don’t assume you know what features your ideal customers want. Take the time to do research and routinely check in with your customers. It will pay off! You will know what the market wants and you will grow from there.
You have no target
So your target is everyone.
Well that’s not a great idea. Just as big of a mistake as assuming you know what your customers want is trying to be everything to everyone. Your target market is not “everyone.” It should be a small segment of people who have a specific problem that your product solves.
Once you have a niche market it becomes easier to market your product. In turn this will enable you to grow at a faster rate than you are at the moment.
Your vision is not improved by staying in startup mode. It’s time to accelerate and become a going concern that is grabbing market share from the other bigger more established players. Take a critical look at why your business has become stagnant and try to think outside the box.
Source: Chomwa Shikati