Five key business areas to concentrate on as a startup business for faster growth

Are you just starting and struggling to establish yourself in the business world? Pay attention to these five areas of your business, and you should see faster progress.

Starting and running a business successfully today can sometimes feel next to impossible – especially in the early months when you’re trying to get your fledgling enterprise off the ground. There are so many hurdles and bottlenecks to navigate, and many business ventures don’t make it past the first three months thanks to stiff competition, lack of expertise, financial challenges, and lack of market.

The truth is that there’s little room for a poorly thought out and planned business. If you want to succeed you’ll need to put in plenty of well-directed effort and ensure you have the right skills to help your startup compete with businesses who are already established in your marketplace. It also helps if you have these five areas covered.

1) Research and development

Research and development (or R&D, as it’s commonly known,) is one of the most critical undertakings in a business. It is among the earliest steps taken by ventures before introducing a new product or improving existing ones.

Research and development are essential for businesses to remain productive and competitive. It is through introducing new products into the market that a venture maintains its relevance. It also helps foresee incoming dangers and plan on effective ways of overcoming them.

Some key things to note with research and development are that it is a complex activity, and can easily lead you astray if not done properly. For it to be successful, you need to follow the right process or engage a professional. It’s wiser to outsource R&D if you genuinely have no skills or experience in that area.

2) Skill development

Your research will help you to identify new markets and products that need to be developed. And to succeed in coming up with high quality, unique products, you need to ensure you have a team with the right skills, and that they are up to date with emerging marketing trends.

Staff training has many benefits, ranging from enhancing employee retention to remaining competitive and making independent decisions. It also improves your image through the production of quality products. Its benefits outweigh its limitations, so it’s worth investing the time and money in training. It will certainly impact your speed of growth as a young business, and enable you to better compete with larger, more established businesses.

It can even give you an edge over older businesses, as they may assume their position in the market is safe and fail to innovate and stay up with trends. Their complacency can give you the chance to steal market share with your fresher ideas and newly trained staff.

3) Marketing your business

In simple terms, marketing entails taking what you offer to the world with the aim of building recognition and winning customers. It is an essential part of business as it determines your survival in the market. (If no one knows about you or wants to buy your products or services, your business won’t survive.)

You can invest heavily in research, and produce quality products as a result, but your failure to sell what you do to the world will close you down within no time. And it is at this critical stage where many companies lag.

For example, most young businesses do not have a marketing department and leave the task to the employees in other departments with other responsibilities. The downsides to this are obvious: marketing is being left in the hands of people who are not only inexperienced, but have far more urgent tasks on their hands, ensuring it drops down in theist of priorities.

It also takes important members of your team away from their own work, having a knock on effect on other areas of your business, too. When you engage employees who already have other tasks to do the marketing, they will be unable to concentrate on their work, affecting production negatively. They’ll also probably be less than enthusiastic at being given extra responsibilities, and ones they’re not comfortable with.

If you want to make a name for your business, invest time, effort and money in marketing. Either recruit someone with the skills and make it their sole responsibility or outsource it to an agency or freelancer who specialises in marketing. Even better if they are familiar with your industry to market.

Then make sure that you stand out in a sea of competitors. Create marketing that is noticed by and appeals to your ideal customers, and that convinces them they need to buy what you sell. Leaving the marketing tasks to professionals like the people at will give you and your team the time to concentrate on your designated tasks, increasing your productivity and ensuring that your marketing is safely in professional hands.

4) Watch your finances

The fact that you are just starting puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to cash flow. Which makes it even more important that you practice excellent money management. This means adhering to deadlines to avoid late interest fees, adopting and using technology to make work easier, developing a budget (and sticking to it) and keeping a firm eye on your expenses.

There are two key ways to improving your cash flow (and profit) and that is increasing the money coming into your business by pricing properly, marketing your company, products and services effectively, and encouraging customers to recommend you and buy again, and by minimising your expenses. Get these elements right and you’ll build a profitable company that should thrive if run well.

5) Offer great customer service

Without the right people skills, all the efforts you make in the other areas of your business will be in vain. Yes you’ll create brilliant products, or develop services people need. Yes you’ll price them properly and run a lean business. And yes your marketing will make your name well known and convince people to buy.

But when people DO buy from you, they’ll have such a difficult and even unpleasant experience that they’ll never buy from you again. And rather than recommending you, will actually warn people not to buy from you. So your brilliant startup quickly withers away.

Train your team in great customer service skills and they’ll ensure that your business works smoothly – people get what they expected in the time frame they expected. And if they need to contact your company, even to complain, they’ll have such a positive experience that they will become a loyal, repeat customer and recomend you enthusiastically.

It doesn’t take much to encourage and instil great customer service skills in your team, but you’ll be very glad you did.