Startuphacks: 3 Simple Steps on How to Expand your Startup and Market Share
Ever wonder what is the missing link to your entrepreneurial path from building a product to ultimate success? Somewhere between setting up your startup up-and-running, receiving some initial traction from your amazing product, and profit-making, lays the mysterious and obscure road of market growth and business expansion.
In fact, in business, profit and grabbing a sizable share of the market kind of go hand-in-hand. Why? Market share, a.k.a. the number of loyal customers your business serves over a long and consistent period of time, determines your earnings and how sustainable your startup is.
The road kickstarts at online sales and marketing, takes you rapidly to B2B sales, and ends up with sealing powerful partnerships that promote and empower your business and its reach.
It also involves creating and chasing opportunities for your startup and yourself and whole lot of planning and strategizing. As Maria Kolitsida, The Accelerator 2016 Expert and Business Specialist, states “If you see everything as an opportunity or if you see nothing as an opportunity, one thing is certain: you have no plan.”
To make the process clear to all aspiring entrepreneurs out there, here’s our 3-step guide to market expansion and growth – ready, set, take notes!
#1. Get your market groove on – Expand and grow online
Once your product is set up, the key area to focus is one: sales, sales, sales. It’s time to get out there and expand the pool of users that are willing to pay for your service. You may feel uncomfortable asking people for money, yet this is what stands in the heart of a sustainable business.
While traditional market entry would have you, the eager startup founder, using old-school sales strategies, such door-to-door sales or costly offline advertising, to promote your magnificent product, today’s digital evolution has brought with it a new era of online sales processes that are extremely budget-friendly.
What is extremely important at this stage of your venturing journey: setting up key goals for your business, ones that will help you retain your existing users and, secondly, attract and convert new leads into customers (a.k.a. setting up your sales funnel).
And this is were good and smart marketing comes in. Yes, many entrepreneurs think of marketing as a necessary evil. So you may have created something that certain people love, adore, and swear by, yet don’t you want to get its word out there and acquaint new people with your product?
Building awareness for your brand can be done in many different ways during your entrepreneurial path from getting new people to know to actually converting them to devoted customers. There are many techniques that will bring your startup traction and, eventually, help you expand and grow:
● Spending some time to grow your own marketing assets and create kickass, relevant, and fresh content for your blog and share on your social media channels makes people happy and interested
● Staying close to existing and potential customers through email marketing is also a great way to touch base and keep them warm and engaged
● Experimenting with PPC ads is always a great way to find out which triggers will work and which will not for different types of potential customers.
Tip: Spend some time to come up with the marketing strategy that best supports your product and brand. Find out how to communicate your values and vision to the world, build a relationship with your potential leads and… start growing your business.
#2. Back to the Basics – Do business as usual
Ok, so you got your individual customers flowing – what is next? Selling your product to other businesses. B2B sales is really all about reaching out to the right organizations, the ones that need the product or service you can offer them because it will help them increase their revenues or productivity and/or decrease their expenses.
Also: when larger organizations join your pool of customers, your brand gets even greater recognition and social proof.
As you may understand, this part of your sales strategy requires a different mindset than selling your product to individual customers. Surprisingly, many startup founders do not know how to customize their sales approach to a business customer. Truth be told, this type of sales involves higher investment on your part. Check out your prospective leads website and sign up for their newsletter to find out more about their activities.
While doing that, try to figure out what it will take to turn this lead into a customer:
● Will this account be profitable for you?
● Are there any challenges?
● Is it worth your time?
If the answer to these questions, justifies your quest, then you need to stay relevant with their progress so as to build a compelling argument on why your product fits their needs better, follow their social media channels and blog to see what content they are consuming and producing, and finally make the grand step of contacting them.
To paraphrase Sun Tzu “Keep your friends close and your prospective B2B clients closer.” So, keep in mind that calls and meetings are extremely effective in the case of B2B sales – so get out there and show your face to the world!
#3. Do not stand alone – Partner up to grow up
By now everything should start falling into place in terms of sales, customers, and marketing. Want to know what’s missing? Business development a.k.a. putting together partnerships.
A strategic partnership can be a very powerful weapon to growing your business bigger and stronger. In fact, it requires a mix of strategic thinking, hustle, and negotiation skills. In the wise words of The Accelerator Expert, Charalampos Kassios, this is the time to “Be bold and ready to step out from your comfort zone.”
And here is why: first, you need to focus on creating partnerships of value for your startup, the ones that you can handle to chase after, given your busy schedule. Spend your time wisely to go over potential collaborations, select the partners that enhance your business and your mission, and focus on how you can get them onboard.
Beware of the pitfalls! Startups are often in disadvantage when trying to form a new partnership, due to their constantly evolving character. What you can do is think about what your startup brings to your partners’ table:
● Can your innovative product or service can be of use to them?
● Could it be that your partner is thirsty to get their foot in your market or your local ecosystem?
● Is your partner in need of your disruptive brand and the fresh buzz your business is generating?
Final tip: Put yourself in your prospective partner’s shoes to prepare a proposition for collaboration that is useful to both of you.
The Bottom Line – Famous Last Words
Growth can happen for your startup, if you follow these three simple steps: set up your sales funnel, sell to other businesses and, finally, collaborate with other organizations to expand your market share.
“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it”, said once American writer, Andy Rooney. All in all, take some time to figure out which growth strategy and channel works for your startup given your business goals, potential, and vision. And once you get a plan, start the climb of growth.
Want to know more about growing your startup fast? These stories will get your engine going:
● Startuphacks: 5 Steps to Building a Product that Sells Itself
● Startup Business Development Strategies: 7 Tips For Putting Together Stellar Deals
● The Step By Step Process To Building An Online Sales Funnel
● 5 B2B Sales Call Techniques That Get More Meetings