Some call age three the Chaos Phase. Suddenly, you face multiple challenges. You’re being squeezed by new, aggressive startups and more established players.
Your technology is creaking. Your product or service needs investment in the form of specialist hires. Your leading sales guy has quit and taken a key member of the team with him. One of the founders has had enough. It almost feels like you are lost on a stormy sea and you just cannot see the way forwards.
In many ways, the trick here is to recognise the scale of the challenge you are facing rather than try and solve it overnight.
Start with the basics. What are we trying to achieve with this business? How far have we come and how much further do we have to go? Maybe this is the time for a new business plan (a proper one this time), based on a clearer picture of the miles travelled and the journey that’s still to come. It could be time to restructure your personnel or set out a new, more mature company culture.
Look again at your brand strategy. You have been punching above your weight, but perhaps now is the time to be that weight and plan for being much, much bigger.
You need to start thinking bigger and more creatively about content. Think laterally in terms of videos, images, infographics and other visual concepts. Visuals are very shareable, meaning other people do the hard work for you, and can have a huge impact on the behaviour of those visiting your website and your search performance. The only criteria for deciding the type of content – or more likely, types of content – is how effectively it engages your target audience. At the same time add to the number of channels you promote through and do so in a way that builds your online presence.
Needless to say you have run out of cash again. This could be the moment to call your investors and discuss the options open to you for attracting a big source of cash to take you through to exit.