Make Sure Your Startup Isn’t a Flash in the Pan
This article originally appeared on AllBusiness.
You’ve done a lot to get your business off the ground. Now it’s time to plan for your business‘s future. From your company’s sales strategy to its processes and procedures, there are plenty of steps you can take now to guarantee meaningful growth down the road.
That’s why we asked 11 successful entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:
Q. What’s the one thing my company should be doing right now in order to see meaningful growth down the road?
1. Focus on the Top of the Funnel
Early on, you have to focus on the top of the funnel. Creating content for marketing purposes, getting quoted in magazines, speaking at events, and generally making your customers aware of your existence is the best thing you can do to guarantee future growth. Once you achieve growth, then you can focus on optimization and unit economics. —Brennan White, Cortex
2. Become a Media-Focused Company
We are all in the business of media. You may not be a content marketing company, but you should be a company with content expertise. You may not be a venture capitalist, but you should have fiduciary responsibility. Become a media-focused company by being dedicated to creating and publishing useful blog posts, videos, podcasts, social shares, and live streams. Appear to be everywhere with your target demographic. —Peter Awad, Slow Hustle
3. Invest in Online
People are purchasing, browsing, and finding more businesses online than ever before. If your online presence isn’t up to speed, you’re going to get passed by. Invest now and do it correctly. Don’t skimp in the place where you can easily see the biggest growth. —Brooke Bergman, Allied Business Network Inc.
4. Improve Your Processes and Procedures
If you don’t have documented processes and procedures, you won’t have a way to improve them. Make sure every process in your company has a written standard operating procedure and that your employees all have access to it. Then take a process a week and look for ways to improve. By the end of the year, you will have improved 50 processes, which will have an effect on your bottom line. —Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
5. Focus on a Specific Niche
It’s easy to spread yourself too thin with a new venture since there seem to be endless opportunities. Achieving growth in the future is easier for startups that are able to identify a niche market that values their core competency. Becoming a leader in a specific niche will naturally allow for growth if that market matures, but will also provide valuable tools and lessons for success in other markets. —Charles Bogoian, Kenai Sports, LLC
6. Plan for Diversified Growth
When it comes to growth, many entrepreneurs make the mistake of putting all their eggs in one basket by focusing on acquiring a few large customers. While this has a positive effect in the short-term, it’s not the meaningful type of growth you want. Nothing is guaranteed; that one big client could leave you in the dust at any point. By setting diversified growth metrics, you’ll ensure sustainability. —Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital
For more on startup story, watch this Fortune video:
7. Focus on Relationships Over Transactions
Transactions are a byproduct of the great relationships you’ve built with prospects, customers, and referrers. Your business will grow and change, but the rock-solid relationships you cultivate will transcend whatever services or products you sell. So focus on more high-value, long-term, growth-oriented relationships rather than give-and-take relationships with your prospects, customers, and referrers. —Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing
8. Be Consistent
We always tell our clients the most important thing they can lock down is their brand voice and tone. Everything across all social channels should feel consistent and on point. Consistency is how you drive people to your brand and keep them there. —Bryanne Lawless, BLND Public Relations
9. Focus on Search Engine Optimization
Building a website is a good start, but there’s more to it. The biggest concern I hear is that most businesses don’t want to spend $2,000 a month on SEO. It takes time to develop trust from Google—you need to create great content, post on social media, build more review sites with user-created content, and get great links. Google (GOOGL) takes time, but it will be the cheapest acquisition cost in one year. —Tommy Mello, A1 Garage Door Service
10. Have a Ready-to-Execute Plan
Having a detailed growth strategy with realistic goals is crucial. Even more important is having extensively developed executions ready to go that you’ll use to meet these goals. If you have goals with no way of reaching them, you’re going to miss all of your targets or spend time trying to figure them out when it’s “go” time. —Duran Inci, Optimum7
11. Focus on Your Go-To-Market Strategy
Focus hard on your go-to-market strategy. Figure out what’s broken and fix it. If your GTM is working, it’ll be easy to grow and scale your business in the long run. If it isn’t, you’ll be in for a tooth-and-nail struggle every step of the way. —Simon Berg, Ceros
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs.