No matter how much success your tiny little startup makes at first, you’re always thinking about the big break. While it’s important – vital, even – not to get bogged down in dreams of making the big time, knowing how to cope when (not if, positive thoughts, people, come on) this break comes is crucial.
You might see it coming a mile off, or it might suddenly happen overnight. The fact is you’ll need to know how to keep up this moment and stay ahead once the ball starts rolling. Everyone loves a plucky underdog, but you’ll soon grow out of this tag and become a full-fledged member of the industry elite. Or, at least that’s the plan.
Staying ahead of the game as soon as the fire of success ignites is the most critical part of your next steps. It can be the difference between announcing yourself to the world building towards further growth and retreating into the modest niche you started in.
How Will They Find You?
The first thing you might need to do with your happy little startup is to consider rebranding. While there might not be anything wrong with your name when you’re a fledgling service, competing with other brands that have snappier, more straightforward names could be an issue.
So you’ll need to tweak your name, if not change it altogether. But what about your existing customers? How will they get themselves to your website or product page after this change occurs?
You can put an announcement out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, but there’s a chance they might not see this. If you’re creating a whole new URL, they’ll end up disappointed.
To ensure everyone manages to find you even if they don’t know about the name change, you must create a 301 redirect that will take them from the old URL to the new one, all with them none the wiser.
Trusting the Data Before Your Eyes
Even though you might already have a vision for what comes next stashed away in a folder at the back of your closet, you might need to ease off on pulling it out just yet. You got to this far by trusting your experiences, so don’t throw this strategy out of the window right away.
If you want to continue positive progression, you must trust the data in front of your eyes and ears. When broken down, this information will tell you what you’ve done well and what you can improve on.
Too many businesses have flown too close to the sun and subsequently fallen into the Icarian Sea because they’ve thought they know best. However, any smart business owner understands listening to the customers is the way forward.
People, especially those in retail, follow the Customer Is Always Right mantra to mean you bend to any whims. What it reveals, though, is that if your customers like a product enough, it will show in the data.
What Changes To Make
This data may mean you need to make changes. But what changes could they be? Luckily you’ll have a few weeks to organize everything perfect for your Second First Day, which will give you the time to adapt to whatever you need.
For most startups moving into the upper echelon of the industry, it’s making changes to the marketing side of things. You’ll need to present yourself as a business that understands the current trends. This means as much as word of mouth got you this far, it may not work as effectively anymore.
Consider your online presence and how you interact with potential customers and clients. Not everyone needs to be the Meme Account, but depending on your audience, it pays to pay attention to them and how they operate online.
Preparing for the Flood
With greater exposure comes the flood of new business, which can be a double-edged sword if not managed correctly. New clients mean more work for you, and if you’re working all by yourself without additional personpower, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
When getting new clients, it’s easy to accept every proposal that comes your way, but this can be a detriment to both you and your new clients. Instead, it’s beneficial to consider how much new work you can take on and still balance everything accordingly.
Understanding where you can and cannot dedicate your time will make you more cautious about which additional clients and potential projects to take on. It allows you to be more strict in deciding what to go for while also managing to keep everything afloat. You’re not a master juggler yet, so don’t try to throw too many balls up in the air and hope to keep them all off the ground.
Build On Foundations
Even though you will be gaining new clients, you shouldn’t neglect your existing ones; after all, they are the ones who got you where you are today. These are people and companies that already have your trust and are likely ecstatic that you’ve hit such great heights, so you must reassure them they won’t be left behind.
There’s a discussion in business over which type of clients should take priority. Are you looking to impress new, more lucrative clients by making them number one, or are you showing loyalty to the clients who may be smaller but with who you also have a deeper connection?
The decision, ultimately, is up to you, and you will be able to understand which side should take priority. It’s not an easy decision for sure, but it’s one you need to make.
Loosening the Reins
There may come a point where you need to accept you can’t do it all by yourself, and this is okay. If you have the sense to loosen the reins and hand over responsibilities to employees, you will see higher returns on your investments.
By trusting employees with clients, accounts, and other tasks, you show that you are a flexible and transparent employer who is willing to take a step back when needed. Doing this will give employees the confidence to succeed and save you from drowning in too much at once.
Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks
As a business owner, you’re not afraid to take risks. The first risk you took was starting up this business, and you’re experienced enough by now to know that not taking risks doesn’t get you very far. Now, just because you’ve hit the big time, you need to consider more risks than ever before.
If you want to stand out and stay ahead of everyone, risks are something that becomes second nature. Soon your instincts will have made the right decision before you’ve even realized.
Push Yourself (Or Find Someone to Push You)
You’ve pushed yourself this far, and it’s easy to be overcome with the fatigue of success. At some point, you’re just going to want to chill out and relax for a few minutes. This is fine, and you need to take some me-time when possible, so you don’t suffer burnout, but while taking a break is essential, so is the drive to push yourself. Reminding yourself that your work is not over is a great motivator, as is imagining how much more successful you could be if you work an extra half an hour or more.
It’s understandable that this can be exhausting, though. So you might need to bring in an expert business partner to help out. Not only will this keep the competitive drive going, but it will also give you the chance to see different perspectives that allow you to tackle and overcome issues differently than you would normally.
Know What Comes Next
While it’s impossible to make a set plan for the future as there’s too much that could (and likely will) happen between now and some arbitrary date five years down the line, you can at least have a general idea of what comes next.
Knowing where you want to go will help you make decisions but also adapt and change your plans accordingly. A lot can change in even one year, so you’ll need to know what’s on the agenda but also be able to be flexible.
Taking the changes as they come will not only reduce the stress of things veering too far from your plan, it will also train you to adapt to change naturally, and with the way technology and business is rapidly shifting and evolving every day, this is an essential skill to have to continue to be successful.
Way Out In Front
It may seem like a mammoth task right now, but once you realize you can separate the overwhelming jobs into smaller chunks, the path towards greater success becomes much more manageable. As long as you keep a clear head and understand what your clients – both current and future – expect from you and you from them, you won’t have any issues leaving the competition in the dust. Maybe, with enough hard work, you can catch up to the behemoths of the industry and give them a run for their money, too.
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Tags: growing a startup, startup, startup agency, startup business, staying ahead