Looking to grow your business? Entrepreneur, startup and fundraising advisor Dee Dosunmu provides expert advice on how to grow your startup business.
What does growth mean to you?
Growth is a buzzword constantly on the tip of our entrepreneurial tongues, whether the concept is truly understood or not! While there are a few different vantage points as to what business growth truly is, for the sake of simplicity, let’s stick with the core concept. It’s essential before even thinking about your growth strategy to define what you consider as business growth.
Of course profitability is a given, however, if you’re a technology startup for example, growth for you is probably traction represented by the number of active users of your product, whilst for a new design agency this could be the number of key accounts you are able to win in a year.
To simply say “make more money” is not enough - after all, a business can make more money yet damage their brand, alienate their customer base and more. Whatever growth is for your business, make sure you clearly define this before exploring ways to effectively grow your startup.
Collaboration is seriously underrated. With an average 500,000+ startups emerging each year in the UK over the past 5 years, the likelihood that you’re the only startup with your value proposition is unrealistic. We’ve all had that sinking feeling at a networking or pitching event when you realise another speaker does exactly what you do, only they claim to be the best at it (shock horror).
I always remind startups I work with that not everyone in the same space as you is a competitor that you must spend hours launching an aggressive plan of attack against. Maybe, just maybe, they’re a potential collaborator? Consider the possibility of partnership, particularly if they’ve been around the block for a lot longer than you have. Ever heard the term “standing on the shoulders of giants?” Instead of starting from the ground up, maybe you can leverage the many years they spent cracking a market to help propel your startup to growth.
The key thing is to look for an entry point. Where is the synergy in your offering? What do you have or do that they currently don’t? What additional value can your startup add to their target market?
As the founder of a startup, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you know your space better than anyone else you know! Sounds intimidating I know but stick with me here. Several entrepreneurs go into business with a passion for something. This is a great place to start, but we must move from passion and developing our skill, to becoming experts in our fields.
Don’t get caught off guard when it comes to dissecting your market, debating key issues and importantly providing insightful thought-leadership. Establishing yourself as a thought-leader will afford you opportunities and open-doors that could otherwise have taken years.
Beyond simply publishing great content on a consistent basis, it’s about positioning your startup as well as yourself as a brand, and creating a hit-list of potential clients, companies or partners you want to get the attention of. Once you’ve done this you can begin to build a clear-cut strategy around how you will convert this attention from your thought-leadership into gains and growth for your startup.
Digitisation and innovation
It’s no secret we are in the digital age. Depending on your core product or service, consider how you can turn this into a digital asset as an additional product. The huge benefit of digital products is that once you cover the initial outlay required to create or produce the asset, establish a clear sales funnel and are able to effectively reach your target market, they begin to sell themselves.
With so much automated sales and marketing software available, including relatively affordable products for fledgling startups like Insightly and AgileCRM, digital assets can grow your business and deliver considerably higher profit margins.
Also, think about innovations emerging that your startup can utilise. It’s important to remember that innovation is not exclusive to technology, there are also innovations of process and more. Innovation can help to distinguish your startup, get the attention of industry heavyweights and improve the quality of your offering. Again, strategy is key here. If you do decide to innovate, think about why and the end-goal for your startup.
This list is by no means exhaustive so here are a few final thoughts from me: be creative, do your research and take action!
#GoForth, Dee Dosunmu
About Dee Dosunmu
Passionate about all things startup, Dee Dosunmu is an entrepreneur, startup and fundraising advisor. She is the Chief Eternal Optimist (her own words) of the UK’s ‘largest digital network’ of startups and pre-start individuals UKStartUp. She regularly mentors new businesses and supports early-stage businesses across the UK to access finance through consultancy as well as digital products with the recently launched breakthrough course “How to Raise Finance for your Startup.” You can connect with Dee on LinkedIn or Twitter.
UKStartUp is a digital network providing online resources to startups and pre-start individuals across the UK. Their mission is to “enthuse, educate and expose” entrepreneurs to help them setup, survive and thrive in business. Lead by Dee Dosunmu, UKStartUp understands the dynamics of building a startup and can relate with the challenges along the way. They’re dedicated to inspiring their 300,000 strong community with great content, affordable resources and unrivalled opportunities to promote their startups, through all things digital! You can connect with UKStartUp on Twitter, Facebook or join their LinkedIn group.