Much like life, startups go through a cycle marked by key milestones, also known as stages.
Although the startup lifecycle may vary across industries, here are six examined stages that startups move through in their journey of progression. We’ve written this for the aspiring entrepreneur.
Stage 1: Research
After that initial aha! moment, a lot of time tends to be devoted towards research. Research can be conducted through various means but depends largely on a startup’s budget. If yours is a startup with a limited budget, acquiring a better understanding of your target audience can be achieved cost-effectively by collecting data through surveys or focus groups.
While surveys can help describe and point to the characteristics of a broad group, focus group discussions provide an avenue for you to gather valuable insights, understand the psychographics of your target audience and also help you assess a product-market fit.
Stage 2: Building The Product
With research done, it is time to actually build a product or service. Say you’re developing an app — this is the time to create a prototype so you have a rough idea of how you’re going to steer the development of the product in the right direction.
Start refining processes and building systems. How will the app work? How does it add value to customers? Just some food for thought.
Stage 3: Product Trial
Can you convince potential customers to use your product? The ensuing stage is all about generating awareness about your product.
Get potential customers to try out your product or service, then ask for feedback. It is at this stage that you’ll be able to identify key problems that need to be rectified in the process of perfecting your product.
By garnering actual feedback from real customers, you’ll gain insights on how customers interact with your product. They may even be able to offer suggestions on how you can make improvements to refine the product.
Stage 4: Refinement
Now that you’ve sent your product out to the market for testing and collected some customer feedback, it’s time to get started on refining the product.
How can you improve the user experience? How can the product add value to customers’ lives?
Refining your business extends beyond the product. This is also an appropriate time to think about other business processes. For example, consider how streamlining certain processes could lead to higher levels of operational efficiency. Otherwise, you could also redesign roles to ensure tasks are managed by the most qualified members of your team.
Stage 5: Scaling The Business
When it comes to scaling, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy.
Scaling is executed differently for every business. For Singapore-based tech firm Grab, they employed “on-the-ground” methods of reaching out to existing taxi drivers in different Southeast Asian (“SEA”) cities.
When Grab expanded into various cities across the region, they also made the strategic decision to rely on local talent since they had country-specific experience.
In understanding, Grab’s journey we’ve learnt that businesses must focus on developing their core product well in order to scale successfully.
Grab started with core mission of helping customers take control of their rides (and spending) by incorporating real-time tracking of drivers, offering users and estimated time of arrival, and setting a predetermined fare.
Having decidedly worked out the kinks of its technology over the years, the ride-hailing app turned super app now gives users more than a plethora of functionalities aimed at complement everyday activities.
Today, Grab operates in 336 cities in SEA – a true testament of their successful scaling efforts.
Stage 6: Continuing to Grow
After scaling the business, it is important to redirect the focus beyond product development as well as customer satisfaction and retention.
Think about ways to launch effective marketing strategies that will help drive customer loyalty while also looking to expand your product offerings.
At every stage, it is essential to keep customers’ interests at the center of your business. As founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos once said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” TOC
The Outsiders Co. is committed to helping startups and SMEs build effective and long-lasting brands. No matter where you are in the startup cycle, we’d love to be part of your brand-building process! Drop us a line to discover creative branding ideas today.