So you’ve got a great idea, a good market and some investment – but how do you evolve your business into a game-changer? With only one in twelve start-ups now hitting the big time, the lofty heights of successful start-ups like Microsoft and Virgin might seem a world away. But fear not, there are many hints and tips you can use to make sure your small business is moving in the right direction.
Streamline Your Processes
Your business may be ticking over perfectly, but things change rapidly in any industry and it’s up to you and your employees to continuously ensure that your procedures are as efficient as possible. You can either do this yourself or get outside accreditation, ISO 9001 is an industry-recognised standard; but either way you need to ensure suggestions for improvement are actively encouraged from your whole team.
When you first had that eureka moment, you will have talked to just about anyone who would listen about your product. This is fantastic for validating your initial idea and helping to iron out any initial issues.
Just because your business is starting to thrive, don’t stop this process. Speak to your existing customer base – they are a hive of untapped information. This is vital in developing your start-up to suit your market and can result in some great suggestions you hadn’t even thought of. Even if all you receive back is positive feedback, it’s always great to hear you’re moving in the right direction and this should inspire you to keep plugging away.
Identify Your Procedures
If your business is starting to sky-rocket, you will probably soon need to hire your first employee. This is a very exciting time for any new company, but before you post the job vacancy, you need to be prepared.
Write down all of your procedures so your new staff member can get started straight away. Making sure the frequent tasks in your business have a how-to sheet (with plenty of screen-grabs) filed away will make sure new-starters can hit the ground running.
Decide on Your Marketing Plan
You may subscribe to the ‘build it and they will come’ ethos, but creating a great product or service is only half of the battle. Great marketing is a vital tool for even the most innovative start-up.
In the same way as you decide the framework for how your business will function, you also need to map out your marketing approach. Whether you will have the budget for an agency, or rely on in-house content marketing to begin with, this is an essential step in your business strategy.
Making yourself an authority in your sector is a fantastic place to start. Social media is free, so use it. If you don’t already have a blog, start one today. Make it relevant to your business, but not too sales orientated, ensure it contains valuable, original content for your audience and you will have a loyal readership and client base in no time.
This article has been written by Jennifer Acton, on behalf of QMS International who provide ISO 9001 certification to businesses of all sizes.