A great idea is a step in the right direction. But it’s not enough on its own. Often, that vision will need to change in response to customer feedback – or because of changing market trends. This is but one of many challenges that can impede start-up growth if left unchecked.
In this guide, we’ll break down the top three pain points facing B2B start-ups. In particular, tech and service-led companies keen to accelerate growth and outgun their nearest competition.
And if you need further guidance as we emerge from lockdown, you might want to speak to one of our specialist mentors. We’ve helped B2B startups in Brighton and the rest of the UK to achieve strong growth, even during the restrictions that COVID19 challenged us with.
1. Is your idea the right idea – and what should you do if it isn’t?
If things aren’t going to plan, it’s tempting to Google the solution. Inevitably, this leads to a range of solutions; but which one should you pick? In some cases, the answers pose new questions or problems, leading you deeper down the proverbial rabbit hole and further away from a solution.
In an ideal world, you don’t want to change anything. Extensive research has led you to believe your idea is bulletproof. And besides, you’ve built your branding, revenue models, and product or service around a specific solution for a specific market. Revising it will take time and expense.
Many entrepreneurs walk away at this stage, their dreams of start-up growth over before their business has left the ground.
To overcome this challenge, you could:
- Look at your competitors to see how you compare using a SWOT analysis, then identify what you’re doing well and where improvements need to be made.
- Deep dive into your market to work out what problems need solving. Are you addressing those issues for your customers or do you need to pivot?
2. How do you hire the right people & when should you do it?
Start-up growth will only happen for your business when you hire the right people. Try and go it alone and you’ll put an immediate cap on your future success. This means hiring a team with the right specialist skills is essential if you want to catapult your business into the stratosphere. But who should you hire and when?
There’s no substitute for experience. That’s why a lot of B2B founders like to get their hands dirty by learning how to apply a particular skill before hiring someone to do that job for them. It provides a level of insight into the abilities needed to fulfil that role and the challenges their new team member will face.
When should you start looking for new hires? Here are few warnings to look out for:
- You’re turning down work because you don’t have enough people to perform the required tasks.
- You’ve identified new opportunities for start-up growth but don’t have the specialist skills in-house to tap into that new market.
- Your customers are either unhappy or leaving. This could be because of your product or service, or the level of customer service they’re getting (or not, as the case may be). Will hiring someone new solve this issue?
Alternative solutions to hiring new team members could include:
- Investing in better systems to help you manage workflows and develop more efficient processes.
- Hiring freelancers to cope with growing demand – so you can test the waters before committing and toggle their services on/off depending on demand.
3. Are you struggling to find new ways to win customers?
Growing a business requires a steady stream of new customers. Winning new clients on the back of referrals or using your company page on LinkedIn as a sales funnel are two ways to generate leads. You might even decide to ‘poach’ new customers from rivals by reviewing and approaching their connections.
But these methods are not enough on their own. The trick is to find the channels where your prospect is most active and to tap into them using a mixture of active and passive marketing techniques to attract their attention.
For passive, think about a company blog that provides valuable information your customers can put into practice. For active, think paid advertising which you can use to target your demographic (but this will only work if you’ve built an ideal customer persona whose needs you fully understand).
Start-up growth can only be achieved by using elements of passive and active marketing in the right proportion.
To get that balance right:
- Carefully study your competitors to see how they are engaging with their customers
- Be bold and talk to your rival’s clients to learn what convinced them to buy.
Can you really do all of this on your own?
Or would you rather work with skilled enablers who can help you develop the right strategies and structures – and, just as importantly, hire the right people at the right time.
We’ve helped B2B start-ups in Brighton and throughout the UK to grow their business, win new clients, and take total control of their sales.
Curious about working with a mentoring company that was chosen to support founders on Natwest’s entrepreneurial accelerator programme? Then get in touch.
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