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Tips & Guides — 30 Nov 2022

Growth Strategies For Startups + Bonus tips

Startup Growth Strategy: The Key Steps For A Startup To Succeed

As an early-stage company, every startup wants to grow fast and develop into a stable business. This leads to most entrepreneurs running against time and doing many tasks simultaneously without knowing the priorities. However, what brings a startup to the next level is a set of growth strategies that effectively increase customer base, market share and save resources.

Many of today’s industry giants such as Google, Airbnb, Uber, and others were startups. Carefully chosen growth strategies helped them win leading market positions, and, in the case of Airbnb, based on market research, the company noticed that word-of-mouth would contribute significantly to their success and decided to prioritize the customer experience and invest in a referral program. This allowed the platform to increase the number of reviews on the website, which led to more bookings and increased growth.

It’s essential to use the right methods to attract, engage, and retain customers. As a result, you will achieve sustainable growth. To help you find your path to success, we will focus on growth strategies for startups in this article. What are the most common mistakes to avoid, and what makes a strong strategy? Read on to find out the answers, starting by:

Image source: Freepik

What should you learn from the mistakes of other startups?

Launching a startup is challenging, but at the same time, it’s an exciting process. As we can see below, surveys say that 90% of startups fail and, in 42% of the cases, the reason is lack of market. Another common problem is not taking proper care of the budget and expenses of the new venture, which causes 29% of startups to fail. 

On the other hand, if a startup enters the market at the right time and consumers need and are willing to buy the product or service, the chances of success are much higher. 

Image source: Findstack

Undoubtedly, a startup’s success depends on a combination of many factors. These include the product or service idea, hiring the right team, knowing how the offering can meet customers’ expectations, the right timing, and a set of good strategies that will help you anticipate different scenarios and avoid possible risks. So before we start with the process, let’s make sure you are ready:

  • Planning adequately

First of all, it is helpful to have an overview and plan well. Make sure you have a clear picture of your business in the coming years. A realistic and sound strategy is essential to grow and avoid common pitfalls. For instance, many entrepreneurs start without checking whether a sufficient number of potential customers would pay for their products or services.

Every startup needs to have a product in demand or needed, and they also need to price it correctly. Make sure your research covers this topic, for example, by asking your target audience if they are interested in your product by collecting data, conducting polls, surveys, or examining social media.

  • Be careful about expanding 

There is no doubt that startups need to grow to be successful. However, expanding too quickly can become a problem if you don’t understand all the areas and markets you need to reach. Suppose an entrepreneur does not take proper care of research and strategy, as mentioned above. In that case, expansion can be one of the main reasons for significant financial problems for the startup budget and run of money. 

  • Watch your resources

It is not size – a small or large company – that determines the limits of your growth, but rather the ability to manage resources and capital to move forward while building a good relationship with your customers over time. In general, starting a startup is more affordable today than it was years ago, thanks mainly to technological tools. So your goal is to choose and use the best resources to build a solid relationship with your customers and grow your business.

  • Pay attention to your management

Feeling that you don’t have enough time usually means not prioritizing or using resources effectively. You must spend all your time and energy on the most critical tasks. This can be a challenge if you are busy with many tasks at once and don’t have a large team. With the right tools, you can find alternatives to managing repetitive tasks, allowing you to focus on decision-making and building long-term relationships with your customers.

  • Understanding social media 

One of the most important channels for startups and entrepreneurs to target, promote, and even sell their products and services is social media. Today, more and more people are turning to social media to seek services and learn from brands. Whether it’s through LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or Tiktok, either way, it’s essential to understand each channel and get your message out through them.

Also, social media channels have characteristics that allow you to work with different content and materials, such as articles, e-books, or audiovisual content, such as short videos.

Image source: Freepik

How to develop a growth strategy for a startup?

Apart from an innovative idea, a good team, and knowledge of its audience, a startup also needs a good tactic that will lead the company to success in the years to come. A growth strategy helps in most cases and scenarios. Let’s find out more about it:

  • Identify your target audience

First of all, a startup is a new business created to solve a problem for a specific target audience. Therefore, it is essential to know this target audience very well. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of your budget and time on campaigns that are unlikely to be successful. 

In short, the profile of your product’s target audience is determined through analysis. Essentially, you study your audience’s behavior and tailor your offers to the different channels using analytics tools, surveys, or reviews. Here are some ways to identify your target market that you should analyze:

Analyze market data: Most likely, someone has already heard of a product or service similar to the one you offer. Therefore, you need to gather information and knowledge about the target markets to find out how to position your business there. Also, consider researching competitors and find out what is most popular.

Collect survey data: Startups often work with companies that do in-depth market research. This way, they can send out emails or newsletters to collect data. In-depth research is one way to explore the relationship between your customers and your brand. Early-stage startups often lack the resources or expertise to obtain these metrics. It’s also helpful in understanding your customers’ expectations and figuring out how to improve their experience.

Check personal networks: Ask for constant feedback from your community, including employees or friends. Through them, try to disprove assumptions about the product or service. 

Image source: Freepik

  • Working with key performance indicators

Another essential business element is performance indicators. Most business owners know how important it is to deal with them because without knowing your KPIs, you can hardly go down the road to success and stabilization. 

Targeted decisions improve performance, and that’s why KPIs are essential for any startup. They are also a way to make sure the entire company is on the same page – when everyone knows their responsibilities, it’s easy to drive your growth. For example, one of your company’s KPIs may be to achieve a net zero goal in terms of your carbon emissions so that your company doesn’t negatively affect the environment. This can be beneficial not only for the environment but also because with customers now being more selective about who they do business with, they want to see the values that are important to them reflected in the companies they buy from.

Even more, if you give these aspects the attention they deserve and spend enough time tracking them, you are more likely to improve your company’s performance indicators. Below is a brief description of the most popular growth metrics:

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): to calculate CAC, you add up all the costs associated with acquiring a new customer, including the marketing and sales budget. Then divide that amount by the number of customers acquired. 
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): this is the total value of a customer over the life of the relationship with your brand. To figure this out, you need to evaluate the whole customer journey and connection with your brand during the time, not just in terms of a single purchase.
  • Conversion Rate: of the total number of visitors to your website, your conversion rate indicates the percentage of visitors who achieve the desired goal (conversion). If your conversion rate is adequate, it means your potential customers are engaging with your offers.

Image source: Freepik

  • Check and study competitors

Surely you have done your research and know your competitors well. But every industry has competitors who, just like you, are constantly trying to innovate and change their strategies. Moreover, competition is one of the biggest challenges for startups, as shown below. The best way to overcome this is to observe your competitors and understand what has brought them to the step they are at today. 

Image source: Techjury

Learn from your competitors. Try to understand how your competitors approach or stand out to the public. Once you identify your competitors, work on the differentiators and show why your company has a more significant competitive advantage.

  • Diversify marketing channels

By diversifying its marketing channels, a company has a much better chance of generating enough leads. A brand that uses multiple channels for lead generation will naturally have more opportunities to attract new customers and increase awareness among its audience or community. 

So in your strategy, consider diversifying your channels by working with content marketing, SEO, influencers, partner marketing, email marketing, and more. See our article with the most effective lead acquisition channel strategies to learn more.

  • Check marketing automation

We have already mentioned how important it is to prioritize making crucial decisions, especially for entrepreneurs. Using automation will improve your decision-making because you’ll have more time to focus on what’s vital to growing your business. Trying to do too many tasks at once can affect the quality of services your startup offers and even your customers’ perspectives about the company.

Statistics show that 53% of B2B organizations implement marketing automation, and 37% plan to implement it. In addition, marketers who use automation to reduce time spent creating reports have more time to focus on strategy and concentrate on their customer base.

  • Track your results

At this point, you probably understand the importance of measuring your results. In the past, it was a hassle, but today there are several ways to ensure your performance is headed in the right direction. Start by identifying the most critical factors in your startup that determine its success. Once you have done that, you need to figure out how to measure them and collect data.

The essential data is about how your customers have used your products and services. From this point, you can assess what changes need to be made to your products and develop a more effective way to reach potential customers.

Image source: Freepik

Bonus tips

You should also be aware of some tips on tactics used by successful startups and include them in your list of strategies. See what they are below:

  • Try to implement a referral marketing program

Referrals from friends, family members, and colleagues in your industry are crucial. We can assume that referral marketing generates one of the highest conversion rates because customers tend to believe and consider the opinion of people close to their circle of friends. That means the more people talk positively about your startup, the more it will help your business grow. 

You can even turn this initial boost into a referral program, which has helped many startups like Dropbox grow. Dropbox decided to invest in a referral program that offered incentives to the referrer who received extra storage space and the referrer who also received benefits. The results were so positive that signups increased by 60%. This is how you increase brand awareness, customer reach, and customer base at a relatively low cost.

  • Consider starting a partner program

To get more effective results when diversifying your strategy and marketing channels, consider employing partner marketing. This will allow you to work with different offers across many channels and pay your partners for their results. 

The strategy is highly recommended for startups as it does not require an already consolidated online presence to increase your visibility and reach more potential customers. Essentially, there are many benefits that a partner program can bring, such as attracting new customers through new channels, lowering acquisition costs, and adding value to your product. Learn more about how to increase your customer acquisition with partner marketing here.

To sum up

In this article, we have focused on the strategic part. Still, it is important to mention that passion and enthusiasm are essential elements for the growth of any business. Finding the right path is a learning curve, and innovation is required for a successful startup. We hope that we can clarify the potential of growth strategies for startups. Let’s do a quick recap:

  • Be clear about your values and what makes your services different from your competitors.
  • Expanding your portfolio through understanding is the best way to diversify your products or services.
  • Pay close attention to your performance and KPIs.
  • Keep your eyes open to the competition.
  • Try new channels by investing in different platforms and strategies, such as partner marketing.
  • Use marketing automation for repetitive tasks and save time on important decisions.
  • Be aware of how you can work with data to improve your products and services.

Among all the strategies, using affiliate marketing is one of the ways to diversify channels and sustainably promote your startup’s growth. With Affise, you can quickly build partnerships and manage them effectively. You can also create and monitor offers, customize your dashboard, and track your campaigns. All of Affise’s features are designed to give you all the marketing resources you need to run a campaign with a partner in a way that saves you time.

To continue to learn, we strongly recommend that you also look at our contributor’s article with 11 powerful business growth ideas. Thus, it will ensure that you will have what it takes to build a sustainable growth strategy.

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Affise Academy

Affise is a partner marketing platform for brands, advertisers and agencies to scale via all possible performance marketing channels. Synergy of technology and our long standing experience lets you expand your partnerships, automate every step of the campaign lifecycle and make data-driven decisions.

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