From Startup to Scaleup: Tips for Sustaining Rapid Growth
Good news! Your startup is picking up traction and beginning to snowball. Such a growth spurt may mean you are finally over the hump and making your way in the world, but it is essential not to get ahead of yourself. While increasing growth is a great sign, you must keep the momentum.
Many startup founders make the mistake of sitting back and relaxing after a significant growth spurt, which is why so many startups fail right after they begin to grow. To avoid the same mistakes as your predecessors, you must keep up with the growth of your business, and we know exactly what you need to do.
What is a Startup?
A startup is a newly established business developing a unique product or service to bring to market. Typically, startups are characterized by high levels of uncertainty and risk and often operate in an environment of extreme resource constraints. In many cases, startups are founded by entrepreneurs seeking to disrupt existing markets or create new ones.
What is a Scale-up?
A scale-up is a business that has already established its product or service in the market and is experiencing rapid growth in revenue, customer base, and team member counts. Unlike startups, scale-ups have already proven their product-market fit and are focused on accelerating their growth and expanding their market share.
To achieve this growth, scaleups typically require significant investment and often need to develop new processes and infrastructure to support their expanding operations.
Stay True to Your Brand
As a company, your brand identity should be the root of all behaviors and actions of your organization. Staying true to your brand identity can become increasingly challenging as you grow, but you must do it. As a startup still trying to establish yourself, you must stay aligned with this brand, as it helps customers understand who you are.
That said, it can be easy to get side-tracked by a growth spurt and stray from your brand identity. The faster your startup grows, the faster you must make big decisions. But it's important to remember that with every decision you make, you must stay aligned with your brand and initial goals.
Another important consideration when making fast-paced decisions is to focus on more than just the numbers. It can be easy to get swept up in the increase of customers or users your business is gaining, but focusing on that alone could distract you from your overarching goals.
You likely didn't start your business solely to make money but to provide your customers with a distinct and unique value. That being said, as your business begins to take off, it is vital that you keep your mindset on your brand identity and the value that you deliver to customers. Consumers can spot inauthenticity from a mile away, so stay true to your brand to maintain your growth.
Don't Get Ahead of Yourself
A critical mistake that many startups make when experiencing a growth spurt is to scale up too quickly. A study shows that over 70% of startups fail because of premature scaling, primarily due to premature hiring. Often when experiencing significant growth, startups will overcompensate by hiring many new team members. While this can help to accommodate the growth spurt, such a large workforce may not be sustainable when the growth spurt inevitably slows. As a result, businesses are left with a workforce they cannot sustain.
Even if your business can handle this new workforce, it may not be the right fit if hired in a hurry. A significant aspect of staying true to your brand identity includes hiring talent that aligns with your business's brand and values. If you hire too quickly during an upscale, you may end up with team members who don't fit your brand.
For this reason, it is essential not to rush into scaling up. Instead, slow down to find the right talent, ensuring the spread of your behaviors and beliefs throughout the company. While you should not scale up too quickly, you still need a scalable infrastructure. With a scalable infrastructure, you can optimize your momentum without getting ahead.
Track Your Success
Tracking your success is an excellent method to manage your upscaling with progressive growth. With a major growth spurt, it's easy to get caught up in success without analyzing it properly. There is a lesson to be learned with each success, so paying attention and using all information to your advantage is essential.
By keeping track of your progress through metrics and KPIs, you can obtain excellent business insights for future growth. With each new client you obtain, notice what converted them from a prospective lead into a customer. This information can tell you what worked, what is still working, and what can be improved to keep the growth momentum going.
With CRM systems like HubSpot, you can easily monitor and manage new and pre-existing clients while tracking essential metrics such as KPIs and ROI. This information will help you continue your startup's growth and make smarter decisions in the future.
Furthermore, data and metrics will help you make SMART goals, allowing you to align long-term goals with day-to-day operations. As a result, you can manage your growth today while sustaining it tomorrow.
Don't Neglect Marketing
Even though your startup may be gaining traction and attracting attention, don't assume that your marketing efforts are over. It is an excellent sign that your marketing efforts are proving successful when experiencing a growth spurt, but you haven't crossed the finish line. Remember, marketing is an ongoing business process, not the last resort to seek customers.
As a business, especially a startup, you should never assume your customers will find you. Even though you are picking up traction right now, more customers are still to be found, significantly when traction inevitably slows. For this reason, you must continue marketing and seeking new customers, even as you grow.
Whether practicing traditional, online, or content marketing, you must continue to reach out to customers and raise brand awareness. Experiencing a growth spurt in your startup is an excellent opportunity to scale up marketing efforts. Using the metrics you have been tracking, you can determine which marketing efforts lead you to your growth spurt and hit the ground running with them.
Additionally, this could be an opportunity to try new marketing efforts that may not have been feasible before your growth. Practices such as blogging for business can help you spread awareness of your brand identity while serving as a new method to reach consumers.
Managing and Sustaining Growth
As a startup, fast-paced growth is exciting and a milestone to be proud of - you're doing something right! Still, while you should embrace the accomplishment of growth, be careful not to get swept away. A surprising number of startups experience a growth spurt but fail to take the proper steps to keep it up. Such a mistake can dissipate your momentum or cause your business to fail.
Carefully made decisions and grounded business insights got you to where you are now, so it is important not to abandon them at the first sight of success. For this reason, it is important to continue tracking your success, seeking out new customers, and maintaining growth at a manageable level.
By staying true to your brand and scaling up gradually, you can manage growth and keep it coming. These essential practices will allow you to accommodate a growth spurt in your startup and equip you with the tools to keep it coming.