Startups play a significant role in the economy of almost every country in the world. In India, they enjoy favourable government policies and several incentives that provide solutions to entrepreneurs’ doubts on how to grow business.
While passion is the driving force behind most startups, to be successful and move up the ladder from local to national or even global, several other factors are involved. Most importantly, the enterprise leader must have a clear vision of how to expand the business.
A combination of personal skills and attributes, coupled with strategic planning and correct decisions, can propel a small business into the large marketing universe, a domain of big brands. Remember, less than 50 % of startups go beyond five years. Proper strategies, timely decisions, and the right attitude have significant roles in the enterprise's life.
Growing your business
Let us now look at a few business growth tips based on the practices of successful business owners.
But before that, let us find out some basic skills and attributes that can boost the quality of leadership; and enhance the chances of success for the startup.
1. A curious mind
Curiosity is fundamental to human nature, it is said, but if you wish to succeed in your business, you need to use it as your second nature.
Being curious and creative will help you adapt to new situations and provide solutions to problems you never anticipated.
2. Effective communication
Communication is essential to doing business – you have to communicate with your team, customers, financiers, suppliers, and prospective customers. You, as the leader, have to carry everyone towards the goals of the organisation, and miscommunication at any point can upset the cart.
3. Learning to be resilient
In the dynamic arena of modern business, situations may not always work out as per plan. Setbacks are part of any business, and resilience teaches you to stay calm and determined in the face of adversities—the ability to learn from challenges and use learning as your strength defines failure or success.
4. Sharing your vision
Vision is a crucial driver of startups, but when you focus on how to grow a small business into a large business, you need to share your vision with others; your team members, financiers, and most importantly, customers. Success comes naturally when people connected with your company are willing to share your vision and work towards a common goal.
5. Managing cash flow issues
Timely availability of funds is critical for any business, and in the case of a small enterprise, it is the lifeline. The only way to grow with limited cash is to manage faster turnarounds (of the money cycle).
Many entrepreneurs fail to navigate through the choppy waters of cash flow issues and reach a dead end. The success lies in the timely collection of your dues and payment of your bills. Once you master the trick, the growth gateways will open up wide for you.
Small business growth tips:
1. Find your niche
Large companies focus on broad customer bases. Their strategies are oriented towards satisfying the needs of the majority. Small enterprises can service customers with specific requirements and can generate immense goodwill along with the business.
Operating in a niche segment allows the local business to develop expertise and build sustained customer loyalties.
2. Innovation is the key
Innovative solutions provide the required ammunition to small enterprises to fight large brands. For example, in public transportation, providing an effective solution for the last mile connectivity like cycles, or battery-run three-wheelers can be a good business opportunity. Moreover, the business can be expanded quickly to other cities, besides the initial place of operation.
3. Planning for growth
As the enterprise grows, higher quality checks, the addition of equipment, both hardware and software, are necessary. Investing in continuous up-gradation of product and services will help the startup to be on the growth path.
4. Teamwork, partnerships
A passionate individual may start an enterprise, but to be successful, an efficient team is essential. The team must share the vision of the enterprise.
Strategic partnership with a business that handles a specific task (related to your business) can also be considered. Such partnerships help in keeping your focus on your strength areas.
We have reviewed some of the probable answers to how to grow a small business into a large business. One crucial input as part of business growth tips remains – brand building, a core marketing activity.
Brand building is a process to generate awareness of your business through carefully planned strategies and campaigns to create a specific and lasting image in the marketplace.
The customers' overall perception of your business is your brand, and it is the most valuable asset that a company owns.
Issues involved in the brand-building process:
- The differentiating factors between your product and other similar ones
- What benefit does your product offer to the customer or, what problems are solved (by the product/service?)
- Who is your brand's target audience?
For a better understanding of the lifestyle and behaviour of your consumers, create a buyer persona using demographics (gender/age/location/ education level and more);
The effectiveness of communication increases with a narrowed down audience focus.
- Consumers prefer an emotional pitch.
A brand that takes the emotional route of communicating with its target audience does better in brand recognition and sales.
Having understood the strategy behind a brand-building exercise, let us now find out how to grow your business with branding.
- Creating a logo and tagline: You must use the logo in all your communication and business platforms to enhance your visual identity.
- Integrating the brand with the business.
- All visual touch points must have the logo.
- The digital platform must show consistency in logo colour, font, and styling
- Stay focussed on the brand –
Consistency is the key to success in brand building; you must remember that advertising and promotion work best with repetition.
Checklist on how to grow your business
- Market- fit product – the benefit it offers to users.
- Successful product ideas from another place must be tested in your area of operation for suitability before launch.
- You must realise that funds are necessary to convert ideas into reality; therefore, your business model must be profitable and scalable to support funding.
- Focus on revenue and profit is as important as the product itself.
- Customers are the lifeline of any business.
- A flexible and agile business model with continuous learning as the theme.
- Constant endeavour for product /service improvements.
- Taking small steps at a time and analysing feedback (good /bad).
- Leadership issues- Start-ups are driven by the founder/s and the core team members.
There is no secret formula to guarantee the growth of your business. At the end of the day, it is your passion, your focus, your dedication, and your creativity, which will take you to the premier league. But remembering a few simple tips can help you in firming up your action plan for achieving success. And, who knows, your brand can be in the headlines soon!
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Q. Scaling up a business requires funds. I am not able to meet the information details asked by the bankers for my additional loan application. What is the way out?
Ans. Banks have specific procedural requirements which must be complied with; you may take the help of online fintech companies for finance which they organise through NBFCs. The fintech can also arrange operational information of your company from raw data. Among others, Okcredit is a reliable organisation in this sector.
Q. If the founder lacks leadership skills, should there be a professional CEO to run the startup company?
Ans. Startups run on tight finances; if the situation warrants, a CEO may come, but the organisation must be in a position to absorb the cost. The focus of a startup must be on business growth, branding, and scaling up of operations. If the founder lacks leadership, it is advisable to find a mentor to develop the required expertise.
Q. When a startup is attempting to scale up operations, any delay in funding can affect the prospect. How to overcome it?
Ans. Maintaining the latest data (of the business) and initiating timely follow-ups with financial institutions is one option. But, in reality, if the startup is doing visibly well, venture capitalists will approach with finance. There are many instances of this happening.