Here’s five golden rules to consider before expanding –
- Know Your Business
As we highlighted in our last blog post, it’s imperative you know your business inside out and only then can you really understand and be confident about what you have that others don’t.
For mobile or web companies, the challenges you face scaling your business requires a clear and clever strategy. Growth in tech is not nearly so mainstream as understanding the latest fashion trends, blogging beautiful or pinning aspirational images to attract new followers. Your customers have different driving forces. What are they? Who are your core customers? And what drives them to buy your product again and again?
Remember, your USP is vital to your future and, more importantly it’s the key to what is going to drive you to increase user numbers.
- Understanding Growth
Once you’ve established your product is wanted, needed and totally blows all other similar products out of the water, you need to make some choices about where you go from here. Perhaps there is an untapped market you can penetrate, maybe your product isn’t available in other parts of the world? Whatever your plan, scaling your business can mean great success, you just have to find the right way to do it.
To quantify growth, Paul Graham of YC encourages his start ups to study their growth weekly.
If you have 100 users, you need to get 10 more next week to grow 10% a week. And while 110 may not seem much better than 100, if you keep growing at 10% a week you’ll be surprised how big the numbers get. After a year you’ll have 14,000 users, and after 2 years you’ll have 2 million.
Understand scaling up then plan, plan and plan some more. These are the foundations for a good growth strategy.
How and Where?
Andrew Chen has written a very detailed post on the road to expansion; paid, viral, SEO and sales. Each has its benefits but where partnerships are concerned he advises you tread with caution,
There’s the odd partnership, like Yahoo/Google, that can help make or break a startup – but these are rare and situational. But sometimes it happens!
While partnering up can be reassuring, it might not be best for your business. So, be brave and go it alone !
- Start Close To Home
Like Andrew Chen, we’d encourage you to take a more organic approach to growth. Start with your family and friends, get them to use your product and review it. Stay local by emailing and posting around where you live to educational establishments, businesses, community projects and get them on-board. Embrace social media as a tool to access new followers worldwide and favour niche press to review or write advertorial for your product. The great thing about the web is the open doorway it gives you to new users worldwide.
Whichever of the above you choose, each action should have a positive cyclical effect to gain new customers and then use them to bring you more.
- Reap What you Sow
Once you’ve created the right product you need to earn customer loyalty. It might sound obvious but if you’re growing your business and sales are soaring, you need make sure your customer service, delivery and after sales service is up to scratch too. Here’s a great article by Marketing Donut about building customer loyalty, after all, it’s a lot easier to sell more to your existing customers than go out there and find brand new ones.
In a nutshell –
Have a clear and concise strategy, meet customer expectations and reward them. That in itself translates into growth, great service and being the best in your field.