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How to Grow a Startup Business

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 09:00 AM PDT

If you're a budding entrepreneur, you've likely heard all the stories of the little startups that seem to grow overnight into mega-corporations and household names. The reality is that those business owners put in a lot of sweat equity to set their brands up for that growth — and still ran an enormous risk of failure. To grow a startup business, focus your marketing efforts on exposing your brand to as many potential customers as possible. Organize the few employees you have now so that when you need to hire new people, you have the structure in place to accommodate them. With a good product, strong branding, and a little luck, you can watch your business expand and have the tools to take it to the next level.[1]

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Marketing Your Brand

  1. Get your family and friends to help spread the word about your business. Family and friends are more likely to be loyal to your business because they're loyal to you. Don't be afraid to lean on them, especially when you're just getting started. Encourage them to tell their friends about your business.[2]
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    • Make sure your family and friends are getting some benefit from promoting your business (other than the joy of helping you succeed). For example, you might offer them a discount for referrals.
    • You might also consider creating a group of friends and family you call your personal "influencers." Give them access to new products or services before anyone else or allow them private access to events or promotions you have.
  2. Prioritize customer service and interaction to increase customer retention. When you're trying to grow your startup, strong, personalized customer service helps you keep regular customers and gain new ones more rapidly. People are often more likely to tell someone else about a new product or service if they had a good experience.[3]
    Grow a Startup Business Step 2.jpg
    • Even if someone is dissatisfied, reaching out to them personally can make a big difference. Listen to your customers and do everything you can to ensure that they have a positive experience with your company.
    • Train any employees you have to interact with customers positively and help spread your company's culture and personality. If customers can expect a similar attitude every time they interact with your employees, they'll come to think of your brand as a singular entity rather than a group of distinct people who each have their own way of doing things.
  3. Build a robust website to reach new customers. On your website, give potential customers different areas to explore to find out more about your business and the products or services you offer. Include reviews and testimonials from current customers to encourage new customers to come on board.[4]
    Grow a Startup Business Step 3.jpg
    • You might also consider starting a blog with information about your business or your industry. You can create a lot of interesting content to drive people to your website. For example, if you've started a food delivery service, you might create blog posts about the most popular types of food in different regions or profiles of local restaurants.
  4. Maintain an active presence on social media. Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, give you the opportunity to interact directly with consumers. Through posts and comments, you can introduce consumers to the personality of your brand.[5]
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    • Ultimately, you'll want to hire a dedicated social media manager to create and schedule 2-3 posts a day for maximum visibility, as well as monitor comments and respond to messages. In the meantime, you may be responsible for handling this yourself.
    • Interacting with established brands can also increase your visibility, especially if those accounts engage with you.
  5. Exploit the marketing channels where you get the most traction. Many startups that surge onto the scene do so by limiting their marketing and advertising to one channel rather than spreading it across several. Look at your target customer and consider where they spend most of their time.[6]
    Grow a Startup Business Step 5.jpg
    • For example, if you were trying to target middle-aged consumers, you might find that Facebook was a good way to reach them. However, if you were targeting teenagers, you'd likely want to focus on a social media platform, such as TikTok, that was more popular with that younger demographic.
  6. Partner with other brands to reach more consumers. If you're offering a product or service that seems to go hand-in-hand with an established brand, make an offer to join forces. Your startup will benefit from the association with a brand consumers already know and trust.[7]
    Grow a Startup Business Step 6.jpg
    • For example, if you're developing nutritional supplements can add to their coffee in the morning, you might consider partnering with a popular coffee shop chain, such as Starbucks.
    • Even if your startup is still relatively small, you can partner with smaller local and regional independent brands, then branch out to larger brands as you grow.

[Edit]Building an Organizational Structure

  1. Create a structure that reflects how your business will grow. Look at your current employees and determine their strengths and how they can best serve the company as it grows. If you're mainly running things all on your own, think about your own weaknesses and where you can bring someone on board to help when things start getting too big for you to handle on your own.[8]
    Grow a Startup Business Step 7.jpg
    • For example, if your business is focused on delivering new products, you could organize product teams. It might be that, right now, you've only got one product and a few ideas. But as you develop those new products, bring someone on board to lead a team focused solely on that product. As your business continues to grow, each team would have its own leader and operate more independently from the others, with you overseeing all of them.
    • On the other hand, if your business delivers one service, you would want an organizational structure that was defined by the roles employees played in the company, with standard departments to handle areas such as human resources, marketing, and customer service. As founder, think about which areas you're strong in and where you could use some help as your business gets bigger.
  2. Group your employees into teams that can grow as your business grows. Assign one employee to lead each group who reports directly to you. That employee will be responsible for assessing the needs of their group. This allows you to focus on growth rather than having to look at every aspect of your business yourself.[9]
    Grow a Startup Business Step 8.jpg
    • Develop automatic processes for hiring and onboarding new employees so this can be done efficiently to anticipate growth. Talk to your group leaders about the needs of their groups so you can develop standard qualifications for each potential role in your company.
    • If team members are taking on new responsibilities as a result of the reorganization, you might want to consider providing additional compensation. This will become a bigger deal as your company grows. For example, you might start with one employee in charge of sales and marketing. As you grow, you start adding employees. When that original employee is overseeing 2 or 3 others, they have a more complex job.
  3. Standardize routine processes to streamline internal operations. When you founded your startup, you likely did most of the operational and management work on your own. However, if you want your business to grow, you'll need to delegate many of those responsibilities to other employees. Establish clear policies for how you want things done so your business continues to reflect your goals as it grows.[10]
    Grow a Startup Business Step 9.jpg
    • Having standard procedures also makes it easier to onboard new employees because you don't have to worry about them being told 5 different things by 5 different people (or worse, nothing by no one).
  4. Hire employees that fit your business culture and personality. If your employees are happy working with your company and feel as though they fit in, they'll be more dedicated to your vision and help nurture the growth of your startup. Pay attention to the personality and work ethic of potential employees to make sure they're the right fit for your company.[11]
    Grow a Startup Business Step 10.jpg
    • Make a list of key values you want your business to embody. When you're interviewing potential employees, you can ask questions that help you determine if they value the same things. For example, if you value teamwork, you might ask if the candidate prefers solving problems on their own as opposed to working with a team.
  5. Create a chain of command as your business starts to grow. When you're just starting out, you likely have a skeleton crew of 2 or 3 employees who all report directly to you and are relatively equal in rank. However, you won't have enough time and energy for this as your business gets bigger. Instead, set up a chain of command based on your basic organizational structure. This ensures that every employee on your staff knows exactly who they should report to about any given issue.[12]
    Grow a Startup Business Step 11.jpg
    • If you have a product-based organizational structure, you'll likely have only the product managers reporting directly to you and everyone else reporting to their respective product manager.
    • On the other hand, a role-based department structure might have different people in charge of different functions. For example, an employee might go to the head of human resources if they had a question about their vacation time, but they would go to the head of customer service if they got a customer complaint.

[Edit]Measuring Your Growth

  1. Set a timeline for your goals to strategize effectively. If growth is your priority, create measurable and attainable goals for your business with specific dates by which you want to achieve them. This enables you to plan a controlled growth strategy and put the resources into place to reach those goals within the timeline you've set.[13]
    Grow a Startup Business Step 12.jpg
    • Specific growth benchmarks can also be used to trigger related actions or events. For example, you could set up job postings to release once you hit a specific number of customers.
    • Delegate specific tasks for each team member to help achieve each goal in your timeline. Find out what those team members need to complete their tasks and allocate the company's resources accordingly. This also ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal rather than potentially working at cross-purposes.
  2. Streamline your efforts by focusing on 1 or 2 growth indicators at a time. While you may follow many different growth indicators, work towards improving only 1 or 2 at a time. This allows for significant improvement in 1 area rather than marginal growth across the board. Once you've reached your goal for that indicator, move on to the next one.[14]
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    • For example, if you've designed a smartphone app, you might first focus on the number of users you have. Then, once you've reached the 100,000-user mark, you'll focus on increasing the average length of time a user is on your app to 5 minutes.
  3. Use software to efficiently track growth metrics. While you can track your performance indicators (KPIs, or "key performance indicators") manually on a spreadsheet, this method of tracking will take too much of your time as your company grows. Instead, look at subscribing to a software platform that can plug into your business and track these metrics for you, giving you real-time data.[15]
    Grow a Startup Business Step 14.jpg
    • Software such as SimpleKPI is streamlined and easy to use, while other products, such as Salesforce, have a little more of a learning curve but allow for more customization.
  4. Track and report on growth on a daily basis to keep employees motivated. Keep your employees informed about the startup's progress in the area you've decided to focus on. If you report on the growth in that area every day, your employees will understand its importance and do what they can to improve growth in that area as well.[16]
    Grow a Startup Business Step 15.jpg
    • Take note of specific actions employees are doing to further growth and point them out to the rest of the team. This will encourage competition.
  5. Evaluate the market for your product or service constantly to stay flexible. When you're trying to grow a startup quickly, you need to be able to adapt to the changing market for the product or service you're offering. The demand that existed when you first founded your company can change after a year or two, especially if other competitors have entered the arena.[17]
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    • When the market changes, you have to be willing and able to respond and change with it. Otherwise, your company's growth will stagnate.
    • For example, suppose you started a food delivery service. However, another company has started doing the same thing and is more efficient and charges lower delivery fees. If you don't act quickly to improve your efficiency and adjust your pricing, the other company will likely put you out of business.
  6. Look over your finances at least once a week to identify problems. Keeping an eye on what's going on with your business's finances on a daily basis is crucial if your business is growing rapidly. Otherwise, a small problem could quickly morph into a huge one. Set a meeting with your accountant or financial officer for a weekly review of the company's income and cash flow.[18]
    Grow a Startup Business Step 17.jpg
    • This will also help you identify problem areas or parts of your company that are holding you back or using more resources than they should be. If you're focused on growing your company, you have to be able to react quickly to these issues as soon as they arise.
    • If you have investors in your startup, keeping up with your finances on a weekly basis also allows you to interact more knowledgeably with your investors and let them know exactly how their money is being spent.

[Edit]References

How to Avoid Makeup Creases

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 01:00 AM PDT

Using makeup to hide blemishes and even out your skin tone helps you create a flawless look. However, creases around your mouth, eyes, and nose can ruin that picture-perfect effect and make your foundation seem cakey. Fortunately, taking good care of your skin and using the right makeup products will keep your skin looking smooth all day.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Prepping Your Skin

  1. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat it dry. Use cold water and a mild face cleanser to gently rid your skin of dirt and oil. Pat your face dry with a towel to remove the water gently.[1]

    • Oil and dirt sit on top of your skin and make your makeup look more creased.
    • Exfoliate your skin once a week to get rid of dry and flaky skin.
  2. Put on moisturizer 30 minutes before you do your makeup. Use your fingers to gently rub in a face moisturizer all over your skin. Pay special attention to your laugh lines, around your eyes, and the area under your nose. Let the moisturizer soak into your skin for at least 30 minutes before you apply your makeup to smooth out the creases in your face.[2]

  3. Prepare your skin with a hydrating primer. Dab a pea-sized amount of face primer onto your fingers and gently rub it into your face. Pay special attention to your laugh lines and the area under your nose to make them look and feel more smooth.[3]

    • You can find hydrating primers at most beauty supply stores.
    • Primer helps to close your pores and keeps your skin looking smooth to create a good base for your makeup.
  4. Pat setting powder into the lines on your face. Pat a fluffy brush into some translucent setting powder and carefully dab it onto your laugh lines, eye area, and underneath your nose to absorb any excess oil that is on your skin. Wipe away any excess powder with your brush.[4]

    • Make sure you use translucent powder so that there is no product buildup on your skin.
    • Setting powder absorbs grease and oil from your skin and makes your makeup application more smooth.

[Edit]Applying Foundation and Concealer

  1. Use a liquid matte finish foundation. Look for a foundation that says "matte finish," "photo finish," or "long-lasting." These foundations are made to dry with fewer creases on your face and stay matte as the day goes on.[5]
    Avoid Makeup Creases Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • Dewy foundations have a tendency to hold in moisture and crease more, and powder foundations tend to sit in the lines on your face and make creases more noticeable.
  2. Put on your foundation with a blending sponge for lighter coverage. Dab a blending sponge into a small bowl of water to get it damp. Squeeze out the majority of the water. Pick up a pea-sized amount of foundation and use the sponge to dab it over your entire face.[6]

    • Blending sponges spread out foundation better and provide a lighter coverage than makeup brushes.
  3. Apply less foundation to the lines in your face. As you reach the areas around your eyes, mouth, and nose, use a light touch to put on your foundation. Try to avoid going over those areas more than once with your blending sponge.[7]

    • Building up a ton of foundation on your face makes it more likely to crack or crease over time.
  4. Blend in a liquid concealer with a blending sponge. Dab a concealer that is 2 shades lighter than your foundation underneath your eyes and on any areas you have blemishes. Use your blending sponge to gently tap the concealer into your skin. Try not to put more than 1 layer of concealer onto any areas to avoid product buildup.[8]

    • Liquid concealer blends better than powder concealer does, so it's less likely to crease.
    • It can be tempting to add multiple layers of concealer, especially on any blemishes. However, this can make your makeup crease and draw attention to those areas.
  5. Set your makeup with a setting powder. Use your blending sponge to pick up some translucent powder. Tap the powder over your whole face, paying special attention to your laugh lines, the area under your eyes, and the area around your nose. Gently swipe off the setting powder with a stippling brush to remove the excess.[9]

    • Setting powder locks in your makeup and removes moisture to prevent your makeup from creasing over time.
    • Finish your look with blush, eye makeup, and lip color.

[Edit]Tips

  • The less foundation and concealer you use on your skin, the more smooth it will look.
  • Keeping your skin clean and hydrated helps your makeup go on better and stay longer.

[Edit]References

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