A company’s first five years can be the most challenging. During this time, the company needs to find its footing in terms of its finances, as well as build up its viability, profitability and customer or client base. This is a huge learning curve for all involved and takes a lot of work, marketing, pitching and pushing to meet these goals and grow as strong as possible.
Through a company’s first five years in operation, there are several key objectives which need to be considered. With this in mind, here are six key objectives every company must meet within its first five years.
1. Establish a Profitable Business Model
Your business model should paint the picture of how your entire business works, right down to the very finer points and niceties. Your business model should answer three main questions –
- Who is your client?
- What do they value and what solution are you delivering?
- How do you deliver this solution at the right cost?
These questions form the core of your business model and will determine whether it is possible. If you have an answer in place for all these questions, you are on your way to success already.
2. Figure Out a Target Market
Although this needs to be figured out somewhat well before launching, it is important that new businesses are constantly keeping up with their target market. Over time, as a business evolves and grows, its target market may well change, or the attitudes and desires of its target market may change instead.
As a result, it is important that businesses are keeping on top of their target market, who they are, what they want and how they can appeal to them. This is especially important during the first five years which is make-or-break time for a business.
3. Secure Your First Repeat Client
Securing your first client is one thing, but securing your first repeat client who keeps on coming back for more is a whole different business milestone. Having a repeat client boosts morale and gives investors and shareholders (should you have them) that your business is a serious contender and is destined for success.
The key word here is “repeat” and this client may be sourced through pitching, through personal recommendations, through an existing client or through complete luck. When you have your first repeat client, learn about them, who they are and what they want and use this to land your second, third and fourth one.
4. Develop a Solid and Scalable Marketing Strategy
Marketing is at the very heart of all businesses; it is not good enough to sit around and wait for clients or customers to come, because they won’t. You need to go out and get them.
A smart marketing strategy drives a business forward, enables new customers and clients to find it and helps the business grow to new heights. Although a dedicated marketing department would be nice, during your first few years it will be much more cost-effective to figure out which type of marketing works for your company and outsource it to an external company.
5. Begin Hiring Permanent Staff
If you’re a one-person start-up, you are likely to heavily rely on freelancers and contractors during your early days. Over time, however, as you grow, you should focus on bringing in a team of permanent full-time staff. You can only get so far on your own or by relying on contractors; hiring and training a team of staff is an exciting milestone which will help your business leap forward to the next level and continue growing.
6. Become Recognised as an Industry Leader
This is more toward the four-to-five-year mark. At this point, your company is growing rapidly, you have a full team of staff behind you and you are enjoying significant profits.
Your next step is to become an authoritative player within your industry, and the internet is your best bet at doing this. By networking with other companies, producing content which makes waves within your industry and consistently pleasing your clients, your peers and followers will begin to respect you as a knowledgeable and authoritative company which leads the way in your respective industry.
Networking and high-quality online content is your best bet at doing this.