As an entrepreneur, you have to front up against a whole host of challenges and setbacks that test your patience to the limits. When the chips are down and things don’t go as planned attempt after an attempt, you try to reason if the startup struggle is really worth it? Well, the struggle is mostly down to some flaw in planning, execution or something as simple as poor understanding of the targeted niche.
But the struggle is tough, there’s no doubt about that. For many entities in the startup domain, the greatest challenge is to find the product-market fit. There’s an awful lot of investment, efforts, and time that goes into building a product/service. If that solution is met with failure or rejection time and again, this can be very demoralizing and make a dent on your confidence. So, how does a startup really get going? Well, the trails and tests are plenty in the startup phase but they only serve to make entrepreneurs tough and experienced for what’s to come ahead.
Even after you’ve found the perfect product-fit, everything doesn’t automatically get easier(well, it does send a much-needed boost of confidence and changes your perspective of what’s tough and what’s not). New challenges are always waiting to greet you. Success, you’ll find has a different definition for everybody. Life as a startup is all about experiencing those ups and downs. This blog will provide a really helpful insight into the various stages that a startup goes through on its road to success.
Success For An Early Stage Startup
The success in the early stages of a startup is all about customers and handsome revenue. Entrepreneurs fuss about the stats, think up ways to make a better reading. And as soon as that product-market fit happens, all the puzzles start to fall in their places. You start to get a sense of purpose and profitability. You understand what’s your ideal business model and who are your actual customers.
But the product market fit doesn’t happen by chance. You need a team that’s versatile, flexible, innovative and doesn’t give up in the face of uncertainty. Obviously, there are ways to cultivate that attitude in your team, like by celebrating little victories and achievements with parties etc. It doesn’t matter how big or small your team is. The key thing is to learn and improve from what the challenges have to teach you.
Focus Shifts To Growth & Branding
Once you’ve found the product-market fit, your focus shifts towards growth and business scaling. At this stage, you start to define success in terms of bigger, strategic initiatives. That ultimately leads you to a crucial aspect of business – Branding. A brand imparts a special identity to your business, something people can relate to. So knowing how others talk about your brand, the terms they use to describe your products/services and getting an overall gist of your brand image becomes important in this phase.
The easiest way to do that is to interact with your customers through surveys or quick Q&As in places they’re known to hang out at. You’d be surprised what all inputs they have to offer into your business planning. At this point, you really start to feel like you’re closing on the final steps of your startup journey.
Customer Retention & Beyond
As the business scales, the way you used to motivate your team and apprise them of your plans and strategy also changes. Your key role as an entrepreneur is now to make sure that everyone in your team is on the same page and fully aware of the company’s goals.
Normally, the frequency of update meetings and weekly emails starts to increase. That’s where the company’s functional leaders have to reign in and start communicating with the entire company about the kind of work everybody is involved in and how all that fits into the company’s major goals. You’ll find dissemination of information becomes vitally important as your company starts to scale.
So those are the phases that a startup has to go through on its way to achieve growth and stability. One recurring theme in each phase appears to be the change. Nothing stays the same, new circumstances crop up and new measures are applied to successfully overcome unforeseen challenges. Be sure to remember that what you’re doing today in your startup will most likely change within a year’s time. So keeping an innovative mindset and never allowing the motivation levels to drain becomes hugely significant in your quest to master the startup journey. Hope you enjoyed reading this blog. Are you from a startup community? What’s your experience been so far? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.