Planning for the future growth of your company can be a daunting task. You may have a solid business plan and your first few sales, but have you thought about growth down the road?
Wavefront Executive in Residence Alan Foster shares a few of his insights on how to build velocity into your business to set you up for a sustainable future in business.
Having a predictable growth rate for your customers is key to building a sustainable business. You may have completed your Market Validation Training, proven your product market fit and are now ready to execute your Go-to-Market (GTM) plan. But have you considered a plan for sustained customer growth and retention? Here are a few things to consider:
Drive Customer Acquisition and Build Your Base from the Outset
It’s important that you start thinking about how to acquire customers before you launch. You’ll need a plan to build your customer base from the get-go if you want to see the continued growth of your business.
Taking this longer-term view is necessary to drive the sales growth needed to achieve your goals. If your sales plateau or lose momentum, this stalls your growth and can be extremely hard to recover from. By thinking ahead and planning out alternate strategies to build and grow sales you de-risk your business. Similarly, customer retention plans need to be planned for long before they become a concern.
Another benefit of this level of foresight is that it allows for the testing of your operations model and cash requirements to support this growth and helps you build velocity over time.
Build, Execute and Adjust Your Plan
You have a great plan for getting your early adopters on board but who comes next? Where do these customer exist? How are you planning to acquire customers from the early majority (see Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm) and at what cost? Incorporating into the plan a full view of your customers’ buying and adoption behaviour is critical. Understanding how to penetrate the market and to drive customer growth will be essential to successfully building your business.
Establish KPI’s to Measure Your Customer Growth
As part of your GTM plan you would have developed a set of customer acquisition and retention metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). These KPI’s need to be met as planned in order to establish and maintain the sales trajectory and velocity you want to see. It is critical to monitor these KPI’s and react to the facts as soon as soon as they are available.
Know When to Launch Supportive Plans
For each business there can be several supportive or alternative plans to help sustain the growth rate of customers or reduce the churn of your customer base. When you’re early on in the development of your business, the more options you have the better. Each plan will likely be different in the lead time to execute, associated costs and predicted results relating to customer acquisition and retention.
Knowing in advance which plans can be implemented based on the time it takes to execute and at what costs allows you to maintain your momentum of customer growth. No matter what plan you choose to implement, close monitoring of your KPI’s is required to determine progress.
As your customer base grows, some of your earlier plans may no longer be feasible, while other options are now realistic considerations. The exercise of planning ahead is an ongoing process that needs to be a routine part of your planning for the business to be sustainable.
Consider applying to Wavefront’s RevUp program, designed to help you navigate sustained growth.
Intake for the Fall 2017 cohort is open from August 14 to September 11, 2017, visit the program page to learn more and apply!