Startups fail (on average) for a number of reasons both in and out of their control. While building a growth strategy should incorporate both, let's focus on a series of revenue generating, tactical steps you can take to manage that which you can control.
1. Understand what problem or pain you solve
That will become your value proposition. Whatever you solve must align with one of the following or you'll be climbing uphill:
- Saves money
- Generates revenue
- Increases customer satisfaction - which reduces churn and generates revenue
- Reduces risk
- Saves time
2. Determine product-market fit
Get good at defining your Ideal Customer and Buyer (after accomplishing step 1), and you're (I promise) ahead of the pack. You know the adage, there is power in focus. So, focus and power your customer acquisition and retention strategies.
3. Build your revenue model / plan
I'll be honest, this step is a doozy and best done with both sales and marketing or run the risk of silo walls being erected. Build your demand generation strategy by evaluating the CAC, ROI, sales cycle length and effort required to pursue each of the offline and online channels where your buyers visit. Align your sales operations strategy (compensation plan, activity targets, territories, sales process) to everything you've defined above. Phew. That's a lot.
4. Determine key indicators across revenue operations and build the infrastructure
Generate the processes the support the plan, and the reports and rhythm of communication to review and adjust the execution of the strategy based on the data you receive. This is where you'll be able to understand which lever has the biggest moment arm (aka leverage). We got technical and engineering chops here. So, yeah, moment arm.
5. Execute the marketing and sales strategies
Time to put your head down and execute with precision. Block and tackle each email send, event you attend, webinar, failed process, rollout of a new tool, daily sales standup meeting, weekly pipeline/forecast review, Quarterly Business Review, etc. Limit distractions. Create a protocol for how deviations from strategy should be decided on. And be mindful that when you miss a month or a quarter, people will make emotionally driven decisions to their detriment.
6. Take care of the "Second Sale"
This is everything beyond your initial sale. This is implementation, product issues, accounting issues, product roadmap. Use data and regression analysis to identify connections you make between product usage and retention rates. If the latter isn't necessary now, don't worry about it. But set up a data lake so you can start storing your data for analysis later.