This article originally appeared on the Prodality blog in January of 2013. But during the creation of our newest company, we felt it would be good to revisit this topic.
We have recently experienced the very nature of this post – getting so excited about the vision of our product that we end up not focusing enough on the task-at-hand to get it off the ground. Instead, we face the common issue of everyone on the team going in different directions. While this is a natural progression of starting a business, it’s important to hone in on the immediate core need, begin executing your product, and prioritize next phases and features to get your product to your end vision.
Growth is a natural desire in startup businesses. Once your product is proving traction within a small segment of your target audience, it’s easy to think it’s time to blow it out on a widespread scale. But there are a lot of factors that need to be considered before launching your product in multiple locations or to multiple segments, such as:
Do you know exactly who your customer-base is? Do you know where they’re located, how they consume information, or how they make purchasing decisions? What about their pain points? Not knowing these critical details in the beginning will ultimately hurt your brand and company as a whole in the long run. Plan ahead and identify whom you’re going after and the best geographic market to expand. Sometimes you only have one chance to get in front of your audience. Do it right the first time around.
Does your organization have the capacity and resources to take on more markets and customers? Think about the way you conduct business today and imagine quantifying it by ten. Are you ready to take on the extra workload as you currently stand? If the answer is yes, that’s excellent. If you’re hesitant, think about what it would take to go to the next level. Maybe you need better-defined team roles to efficiently move projects through to fruition. Or perhaps you need more staff on board to handle more work. Identify what you need and move forward accordingly.
What processes do you have in place to streamline business operations? How do you nurture and convert customers in the sales funnel? What tasks are performed to operate your business on a day-to-day basis? Inadequate operations are the main reason why startup companies fail on a large scale. Too many startups try to grow without having their ducks in a row, which results in sloppiness. Tasks and items get lost in the shuffle and customers end up receiving half the experience they deserve. Don’t get too focused on growing that you’re not focused on running your business to its optimal level.
Take a step back and critically think about these factors in your business. Regaining focus is sometimes the best way to fuel growth. It’s better to provide a smaller group of users excellent experience than a larger group of users with poor experience. Once you have what you need in place to expand, growing your business will be natural, seamless and successful.