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How to grow a startup: 3 steps and 8 tips

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This short guide outlines how to grow a startup, with the three key steps and eight clever tips to grow into a thriving company.

It’s a dream for many: combining one’s passion with a career and founding and growing your startup as a result. Your hobby, what you like to do and do with the fullest devotion, make your profession your profession. For many, a job today is more than just money.

So how do you manage to turn your dream into your business without de facto investing the time and energy of two full-time jobs every day?

In the fast-changing world that we live in, startup companies are on the rise. Many women want to become entrepreneurs and the time for creating and managing a startup business has never been more fertile. Particularly during the pandemic, we saw many new businesses start, and others pivot to meet new needs.

This is not only due to technology but also due to the imaginative and creative minds of some of the most inventive people out there. You could be next. But before you can have a well-established and successful business, you have to build it from the ground up with the basic steps outlined in this practical guide on how to grow a startup for entrepreneurs who are just starting up to turn their dream into business reality.

How to grow a startup: 3 key steps

Step 1. Decide on the right business area

Yes, it sounds simple, but careful thought is needed for the first step in how to grow a startup: to decide on the field of business you want to follow. Ideally this should be a field in which you have a business advantage, or one you are so passionate about that you’re willing to embark on a steep learning curve if necessary.

Step 2. Source the right financing

When looking for the right startup financing, founders have numerous financing options. In addition to public funding programs for business start-ups, founders can also get support in realising their business idea from start-up centers such as IT incubators, venture capitalist or business ‘angels’. However, applying for these grants is often associated with a high level of bureaucratic effort.

Women entrepreneurs often find it is much more logical to deal with funding sources that understand what it is like to start small and how to grow a startup, and offer access to capital finance loans for SMEs, which also gives the benefit of a rapid disbursement and flexible terms.

Step 3. Choose the right staff for the vision

Finding the right employees for your startup is not as easy as just ticking boxes on the applicants’ CVs. As well as qualifications (sometimes even instead of qualifications) you need to look at their motivation and spirit – everything has to fit in how to grow a startup. So there is a whole range of characteristics that suitable startup employees need to bring with them.

Solitary confinement and “nine to five” thinking are out of place when a business is just starting out. Further, you need to be sure they are going to be a good fit with the workplace culture you want to develop for your business … this can end up being one of the most crucial ‘glues’ to have the team stick together.

3 key questions

Is there a demand?

You can be the best in what you do, it doesn’t help you in how to grow a startup if there’s no market for it. Your passion must therefore be in line with the needs of the market. Without demand, you won’t bring your passion among the people, you won’t be able to turn it into your career, and you won’t be able to make money.

Does it create value?

If you want to be paid for something, you have to add value to other people as a key factor in how to grow a startup. If you give money to a baker, you get bread rolls for it, a carpenter makes you a chair and the plumber repairs your sink. In creative areas, this value may be a little more abstract, but in principle it boils down to the same thing: Someone who pays money for a concert, for example, gets the added value of music and memories of the moment of the concert.

In addition to the entertaining value, there can also be a visual, so a pianist can offer lessons for her instrument. Here, too, there must be a market. Of course, you can only make music for yourself, but then you can’t expect to be paid for it. You need an audience for which what you do represents a value that they are willing to remunerate.

Does it pay your bills?

Many people dream of leaving their old job behind and finally pursuing their own passion, but in the end they don’t. But simply throwing in a short-circuit reaction and keeping your fingers crossed that this will surely work out in how to grow a startup is not the solution to the puzzle. It’s never wrong to jump into the cold water, but it makes sense at least to make sure you have water in the pool before jumping off the 10-metre board.

Translated, this means: Do you have a realistic overview of your financial situation? What do you need to live on each month and what are your expenses? Do you have the financial prerequisites to survive the bumpy start time until your passion carries on its own? Or do you have to take paid work to bridge the first time? It is not only the financial aspect that can be interesting here. You may still lack certain skills that you can learn in the job that will help you later.

It’s important to be able to focus entirely on your idea. If you have to worry about having the money you need for three meals a day at the end of the month, that inhibits your creativity.

8 tips for how to grow a startup into a thriving company

1. Be competitive 

If you have a niche market and think that you have the market cornered, do not be too confident in your assertions. A common mistake that new startups make is underestimating their competitors. Even though you may have no competition at the time, there may be other individuals who like your idea. If these individuals have more funding, in the form of venture capital or business loans, they may take your concept and your market share as well.

2. Walk before you run 

When trying to build your startup into a successful business, ensure you walk before you run. You need to start with the basics, and once you master those, you can add more detail to your company. Focus on keeping customers, turning a profit, and having a dominant team. Once you are doing well, then focus on your logo and other aspects that will grow as your business does.

3. Be ethical

Ethical virtue is the gold standard of being morally good. In a world where there are so many people who have no morals, make sure you treat your employees and your clients with respect. Have integrity. Treat people like you want to be treated. You will go further in business and life by being a nice person than you ever will by being a fraud. This is an important tip to remember when your startup takes off and becomes the thriving business you want it to be.

4. Listen to your customers

Another smart approach to growing your startup into a growing company is to know what your customers want. Make sure you listen to what they are saying. If you make assumptions as to what you think they want, you produce goods or services that do not get purchased. You need to create demand by providing an item that customers ask for but could never find.

Startups are bound to experience more challenges since they need to establish everything from the ground up. It is essential to listen to your customers while also remaining competitive.

5. Use technology to your advantage 

When growing your startup, you need the tools of the trade, which include the internet and other forms of technology. Choose your accounting software so your invoices, reminders and payments are automated. Use technology to market to specific clients through social media and apps. There are multiple ways in to make technology work for you in how to grow a startup, so use that to your advantage!

6. Market from multiple avenues

Marketing is essential in how to grow a startup. It is even more critical to market in a variety of ways. Use radio and television, but also use social media, websites, Facebook ads and other means to get your name recognised. Once your marketing message has been seen and heard, you are on your way to building your brand recognition and authority.

7. Be persisent and patient – but know when it’s time to give up!

The last essential tip for how to grow a startup into a thriving business is to be patient with the process. It takes time to get a successful business on its feet. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen with a lot of hard work and dedication. You need to develop the resilience to persist through the challenging times. But you also need to know when it’s time to give up on a particular direction or idea. Don’t be afraid to try new initiatives — but don’t be afraid to let them fail, so you can learn from them and move on to the next one.

8. Don’t waste your time searching for shortcuts

The distant, super-rich uncle, the well-known company that offers to support you in sales and brings your idea from zero to a hundred – such shortcuts never really exist in how to grow a startup. And also the universal solution, with which you can immediately skip several steps and be successful, is something you can search for a long time. All paths are different. Some are faster, others are slower. So don’t waste your stamina for an unnecessary search for a shortcut, but put it into your startup. Because the more you focus on yourself and don’t constantly draw the demotivating comparison with others, the more you will learn and move forward.

However, as soon as the stone gets rolling and you become more successful and your idea grows, you haven’t made it. Your passion is now your business and you can live on the yield, but the process never stops. New customers and new orders are coming. The focus is now a little further away from you and towards your business partners and customers. Business success is a game without end. You just have to be ready to play it.

Make sure you use your team and your technology to the best advantage, particularly for marketing purposes. And by that, we do not mean just the normal marketing channels or social media!

Everything your team does feeds into your clients’ perceptions of your product or service — it’s a crucial part of your brand. And whether the staff are at the front line of customer contact, or in the back end driving development of products, they should all align with your vision for your dream business.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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