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Fundamentals for Start-Up Growth

Start-ups come in various shapes and sizes, some with high aspirations and deep pockets, others simply hoping to remain solopreneurs - each situation having its own requirements in terms of preparation and execution. If you are looking to scale, the top 5 things you should have in place are outlined in this blog.

Fundamentals for startup growth, business plan and strategy

Business Plan

Your business plan serves two critical purposes. Firstly, it should be used as an internal tool to provide guidance on the upcoming period. Secondly, if you are looking to scale, you are probably going to be looking for money as well. Any investor worth their salt will be seeking a comprehensive document outlining the company’s current situation, ambitions and forecasted future situation. Here are some key sections to include in your business plan:

  • Organizational overview and purpose

  • Target market size, trends and market potential

  • Products and competitive advantages

  • Future products

  • Key staff and stakeholders

  • Competitor analysis

  • Key actions/projects

  • Roadmap/implementation schedule

  • Performance measures

  • Actuals, pro-formas, funding requirements, EBIDTA

  • Shares on offer/cost

Your plan should provide comprehensive insight into every element of your business. Other uses for business plan include grant applications, loan applications, establishing partnerships, stakeholder engagement and organizational performance management.

If you are keen to learn more about business plans, check out our past blogs on common business plan mistakes and updating your business plan.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

Even if you are a charity, you will need a source of revenue, and this is not something that is simply handed to you. While there is inherently a strong link between marketing and sales, if the efforts on both sides are not focused, the results will show in your bottom line. Having a robust strategy in place will not only increase your sales and increase brand awareness, but it will also reduce stress and allow you to implement activities with more confidence. Some considerations for your marketing and sales strategy include:

  • Define your services or products

  • Defining your target audience – (everyone is not the right answer)

  • Defining their platforms

  • Defining collateral and website requirements

  • Creating a Playbook – this outlines all activities for posts, events, promotions etc.

  • Establish a CRM for tracking opportunities

  • Consider the creation of scripts/blasts

  • Defining metrics an alternate options based on performance

  • Create a sales process to align with your pipeline.

Product Roadmap

“If you do not know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else” – Yogi Berra

While a roadmap should be covered at a high level in the business plan, a detailed plan of how you will achieve your goals should be kept as a separate document. The roadmap at a high level may cover the development of many products; however, each individual products roadmap can be documented as a project charter or project management plan. Considerations for your product roadmap:

  • Impact/priority

  • Timeframes

  • Interdependencies

  • Scope

  • Funding requirements

  • Feasibility

  • Benefits and ROI

  • Risk and quality

Change Management Strategy

A major hazard of growth and planning that is often overlooked is how to adapt to change. If you are planning to scale this is critical to control and can only be controlled effectively if there is a plan in place. Ok, so you say you want to triple sales next year? What are the implications of that; increased marketing and sales, increased production, implementing more efficient systems, training, recruitment, warehousing and logistics capacity, supply chain limitations, the list goes on. Organizations often plateau because they are simply not adapting to change as fast as they are growing. So, you want to triple your sales next year? Then have a plan and budget in place on how this change/growth will be catered for. Some considerations for a change management strategy may include:

  • New metrics

  • Trigger metrics, e.g.:

    • When to recruit

    • When to relocate

  • Key actions/projects

  • Staff capability to deliver

  • Staff training

  • Contingency systems and locations

  • Alternate supply

  • Timeframes for transitions

  • Contractor requirements

  • Communications

  • Consistency in customer satisfaction

Support Network

Surrounding yourself with others in the same situation as yourself allows the sharing of experiences, ideas and sometimes costs. To scale you will need a solid network that you can leverage as required, so do not be shy to join networking events or reach out to like minded professionals. Most cities have an established start-up community, our senior consultant Chiara is on the board of Startup Vancouver, if you are looking to grow your network in BC. There are also apps such as Shapr and LinkedIn that can help you find like minded individuals.

The team at iota will have your back regardless, feel free to give me a call or email if you need any advice – +1 (604) 376 3488

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