5 Stages of Business Growth: 3rd Stage: Concept to Growth: Survival Stage of your Business
Updated: Jan 31, 2018
The new age organisational structure is “Creative Environment”. This means that people come in dressed in whatever they feel comfortable and play around on their computer, until they get a moment of inspiration. I have seen this everywhere. Google gives you free breakfast, lunch as standard and dinner if you work past a certain time. Amazing tactics right!!
Define what structure you want and stick to it, because when you come to scale, you will find it impossible to do so if you aren’t happy with it. Think of it as a meal, you may add a few different touches to the recipe, extra herbs or spices, but the fundamental ingredients are all, always there. You just need double or treble etc of everything. Mess with the recipe too much and you make people sick and fed up!
Get your Job roles defined. Exactly what do you want from your employees. Don’t tell them one thing and promise nothing. These are your babies, how you raise them will define how your business succeeds.
SOP’s & Handbooks: Standard operating procedures. What your business does, how it does it, what you expect from the employees. This is where you sell the story and get the additional staff on board to share your views.
Contracts: Make sure you have one for everything. Jobs to operations. If you work in high risk environment, get yourself an assessor, to tell you what documents you need and what training you need. Your local council will give you all you need to follow. They are the ones who accredit the assessors.
Training Plans: For every department, for every job, you need one of these. Yes you will hear the annoying, “it’s not my job”, because of this, but it defines what you expect for each person. The “it’s not my job” will disappear when you offer the best environment for your staff. You will need to update this on a regular basis and that’s what the job of HR and Training Development department is, contrary to belief, they are not there to find you staff.
Crowdmix. 14million in funding. Great idea, shocking execution. London start-up. Bankrupt. Stupidness included 5* trips to US and installing a slide in their office.
To create a brand is probably the most important part of your business.
Some will get some revenue on board then do branding…..this is where you can go wrong. If you have done all your homework, your branding should be already there. Branding costs a lot of money and will change more times than you change your underwear. Sometimes it is better to get your brand after establishing your business, so you can start envisaging it in motion. You could end up like one of these (yes these are real companies):
Whorepresents.com: Who Represents: a website to find celebs agents
Itscrap.com: It Scrap: Business specialising in IT scrap.
Penisland.net: Pen Island: A resort
Name: Start with your mission objecitve, then look at yourself, then look at what your business is. Brainstorm. This part will take anything from a couple days to a few months.
Logo: The one thing that will distinguish yourself from everything else. Immediately recognise you via a logo only. This should read what you do – Heinz started in 1889 with slogan “Pure Food Products” (they at least meant well)
Branding: This is the “People buy People” part. How you represent your business is your biggest selling tool. Your personality has to come out a little here and ensure you are as loved as Taylor Swift.
Marketing, Advertising & PR: Marketing is now primarily conducted through social media feeds. You can analyse all your activities, manage campaigns and control your distribution. Advertising is your active participation and involvement in your brand representation, you ideally need this in place, so that your marketing can move forward. PR, this is your face to face meetings and networking with the most influential list of contact in your industry.
DO NOT FALL INTO THE TRAP OF GOING WITH A CONSULTANCY AT THIS STAGE – This is coming from a Consultant! This part you need to do and it is all trial and error, there is no secret method, theory or magic “I can seed a billion, I will get you Gangnam style views on YouTube, I will get you as many followers as Kardashians”
WHERE ARE THE CUSTOMERS?:
Customer Base: When you are doing your marketing and sales strategy, you need to make sure your time is well spent. What is the point of having all that marketing activity for an IT company, when you are selling Premium Quality Wagyu Beef? Think before you act, don’t waste your time and effort.
Over expansion: Spreading your seeds too far. Always great to have a million orders, but can you handle it and how? Are you going to offer IT solutions whilst providing the best Wagyu Beef? Build to your capacity. You will not make friends with anyone, especially as a start up, if you don’t deliver or you piss off either your workers or clients.
Market Presence: Don’t see your competitor as an enemy, work with them where possible. There is no point in adding to your stresses by watching what they do. Help each other spread the word. Unless you are in the business of selling crack, you don’t need to start a war. Even cartels work together on territories. Think cartels!
Networking, tradeshows, events all great places to gain following and to scope your market. Don’t need to spend £10,000’s on stalls. If you do, do your research. Ask for past event numbers, stats on walkers and traders, who went last time? how many businesses attended? Where was the most condensed area, to make sure the stall you get is going to get attention. Finally, negotiate on price “I am ready to sign, but that price is just not going to work for us!!”.
Disrupt the Market: The first 18months to 2years of your business life is going to the most mentally and physically draining of your life. You need to be prepared to visit every place, exhibition, event to introduce yourself to everyone that matters. Write whitepapers, get involved in social media discussions, make people think “who is this?” and “I’m intrigued to know who this is!”.