Not all startups are created equal; some dream of an acquisition and some dream of growing into an enterprise.
While this is usually just a dream in the eyes of startup founders, post a successful PoC, this dream becomes a question that needs to be answered. If you find yourself saying, “I want to be the enterprise,” you need to start looking at your startup as a budding enterprise and take the necessary steps to ensure you will get there.
Luckily, we compiled some top tips to help you take your startup to the next level (and hopefully become an enterprise one day).
Tip 1: Reevaluate your sales & marketing strategies
Depending on your product, you might have spent your time focusing on establishing your validity and not improving your sales funnel and understanding your target audience needs (it’s ok!). Post PoC you know your product works, can scale, and is in demand by a particular target market.
What you need to do post a successful PoC is make sure your marketing is in-line with a successful product and not a product that may work. Consider marketing your product directly to the end user if you haven’t yet, and build a marketing plan that is focused on growing your product and building a brand identity that will grow with you.
Tip 2: Grow your company by growing your product
What differentiates small startups from here-to-stay companies, is the ability to grow a product around the value they give the user and not just the technological advantage. Once you have established the validity of your product, take it to the next level and create value in the eyes of your users. Plan your product road map to highlight that value, with the end goal of offering a full portfolio of services and products that revolve and serve it.
Tip 3: Have some extra funding? It’s time to upgrade!
Post PoC success, the most natural thing for many startups to do is approach investors and enter the next round of funding. If you did that, you’re probably sitting on some extra cash wondering what the best way to allocate it is. Our tip? Upgrade!
What should you upgrade? The first thing to consider is your technology – is it adequate? Do you need stronger technology to take your product further or develop a new product? Now is the time to get it! Need a stronger team? Look at your team as your top investment and spend more to get higher quality hands on board.
Tip 4: Leverage your brand identity in the industry
Once you have established the validity of your product, it’s time to ramp up your brand validity in your industry. Post PoC success, leverage that to establish yourself and your brand as a thought leader. Great way to start is by focusing on sharing your knowledge and creating content that you can share in the form of eBooks, blogs and guest posts. Just the fact that you completed a PoC successfully with a large enterprise is enough to make other startups want to hear what you have to say.
Take that stage and show the world you know what you are talking about, and in doing so, set the stage to establish your brand as a leader in the long run. If you don’t have a strong social media program, consider growing your brand identity in-line with your new marketing strategy and seek creative ways to get your insight out there.
Last and final tip: Remember your pre-PoC-success life
After you successfully complete a PoC and are on the way to long-term success, it’s important to remember how hard things were when you were starting out.
Always remember that your PoC was a success because an enterprise took a chance and let you try your solution on their system. As much as they needed the solution, you need the opportunity, and sometimes that is a lot riskier.
When you need a new solution and want a fresh outlook, turn to the next generation of new startups to see how they can help you and, in turn, how you can help them. Grow together.