Growing a successful company from scratch is like pushing a boulder up a hill; you are fighting gravity to gain recognition and achievement amongst a mountain of adversaries. Establishing yourself amongst a sea of competition while you have a fraction of the revenue, funding and reputation of the competition is extremely arduous. Acquiring customers, gaining press, and finding product market fit are a few of the many struggles that you will encounter when building your startup. Despite the challenges, developing a startup can be very rewarding -- if you are able to implement the right strategies.
Here are five tactics to use during your startup's early stages to expedite growth:
1. Be flexible
Always be willing to adjust your plan and product according to the demands of your market and customers. Never be too proud or stuck in your ways to judge your product critically. Always be open to advice, feedback, and suggestions from other entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and customers. If your customers want something that you aren't delivering -- it can cost you their business. Above all else, be willing to change. Remember that the goal is not to create the best product, it is to create a product that your clients will believe is the best. Stay focused on the needs of your clients, and on how to fill those needs, rather than your own preconceived vision. A successful company is one that can embrace failures, learn from them, and create strategic iterations upon iterations until product market fit is found.
2. Never lose faith
Startups are not for the faint of heart. Inevitably there will be disruptions -- sometimes disasters -- that temporarily stand in between your company and success. Having continued patience and devotion to your company's success is crucial to overcoming the challenges. Staying positive through a marathon of opposition is half the battle, and will ultimately enable your company and team to stay afloat. Successful entrepreneurs have to spend months or years working towards their idea even when investors, experts, and sheer logic indicates their idea will likely fail.
3. Get clients
This seems simple enough, yet too many companies wait for their product to reach perfection before swallowing up market share -- and by the time their product is pristine the clients have gone elsewhere. Begin making introductions, spreading your brand, and obtaining committed partners from the moment your company is established. Once the product is ready, it will spread like wildfire if the right partnerships are in place.
4. Get Press
Believe it or not, you don't need a plethora of media connections, brand popularity, or an expendable PR budget to get your company on the Wall Street Journal. What you need is networking savvy and charisma. The idea to bear in mind when looking for press is that the people who write press are just people, and these people have a strategic agenda just like yours. What makes the news isn't always what is what is the most noteworthy. More often, the media chooses the best ideas that are presented to them, given their personal gains from writing these stories. If you want an article posted about your company then find media writers who cover topics that overlap with yours, forge a way to make a connection, and present a value proposition to them.
5. Hire the Best People
The people on your team are the most important assets to your company. Hiring the right people will enable your company to stay on the right track and rebound from defeats. The best people for startups are not necessarily the best people in their industry; if you want to build a new entity you need innovative, intelligent, adaptable people who can help create a company from an idea. A person who has the willingness to do anything necessary for the company's success is a person you want on your team.