How to Grow your startup business?

Not all startups are successful. The reasons could be a combination of – business planning, revenue model, leadership team, target segments, product, and most often execution. I have seen startups that had almost all the elements needed to transition into a sustainable, high-growth business, but lacked guidance and experienced leadership team. Building a startup is difficult but converting it into a high-growth business is even more challenging, and often requires a different skill set than that was required in the early days of a startup.

So what are those ingredients for that secret sauce of building a startup, successfully?

Having right business mentors and startup consultants are critical success factors for a startup to be successful. According to the first research report of Startup Genome Project in 2011, it was found that founders who learn are more successful. Startups that have helpful mentors, track metrics effectively, and learn from startup thought leaders, raise 7x more money and have 3.5x better user growth.

Bill Joy, Founder of Sun Microsystems once said, “No matter who you are, most of the smartest people don’t work for you”. So it is best to avail professionals / mentors to support your growth mission; and in building a successful and sustainable high-growth business. You can avail mentor support across functions like marketing, sales, accounting, human resources, operational excellence, training, etc.

To ensure sustainable growth you need to have:

  Right business model that acquires customers

  Leadership with ideology, beyond just passion and vision

  Ability to seize opportunities

  Creating a high impact, marketing and sales engine

  Retention strategies

Have the right business model that aligns with customer acquisition. Do not build products / services that just excite only you and not your customers.Focus on long-term AND short-term goals and activities. Most often, companies tend to forgo short term profits thinking of reaping those profits in long term, but practically they are only digging themselves deeper.

Your ideology has to reflect upon your culture and beliefs. Like how Walmart’s ideology is focused on customers, Hewlett Packard – its employees, 3M – its innovation, Ford – its products, your activities and outcomes need to be consistent with your ideology.

Most often when you start to scale, you might stumble upon some great opportunities. Do not leave them since they are not products or services that you are currently pursuing. As long it fits the core of your ideology and purpose, do give it a try. 3M came out with Post-it product just by accident; Johnson & Johnson accidentally introduced baby powder which then climbs up drastically to have over 40% of their revenue share; Marriot Corporation got into the airport services business by accident and that became a roaring success. All these were once a small startup which later became large corporations. These successes are not attributed to great business or strategic planning, but show their abilities to seize opportunities. Explore options, pick what works for you and discard those that don’t work.

Most startups fail to scale due to lack of customers. There may be initial success but if you rest on your laurels you will get run-over. Set an effective, high impact marketing and sales engine. In my numerous meetings with CEOs and entrepreneurs, marketing and sales have been predominantly mixed up. Both are like chalk and cheese, so you need to have dedicated professionals for marketing (especially digital marketing) and sales functions.

Building revenues is paramount, a non-negotiable factor and laser focus on sales is very critical while you are scaling up. Hire ‘smart’ sales persons, and keep them on optimum heat so that they fire in the right areas. Fuel their passion and increase your revenue visibility.

Do not stop with lip service on customer satisfaction; honestly walk that extra mile to ensure that you stay on top of your customer’s mind, always. Incorporate customer feedback into your system and ensure that it is acted upon at the earliest. It is difficult to win customers, and if you lose them it takes more than 7x efforts to win another; not to mention, that their potential could be far lesser than what you had lost.

Your employees should be taught not to just please their bosses, but to ensure that their customers are taken care of. Make them treat customers like their CEO and success will look easy.

Your employees should be taught not to just please their bosses, but to ensure that their customers are taken care of. Make them treat customers like their CEO and success will look easy.

Beyond startup phase, while you are scaling up, it might be easier to afford more salaries to recruit key resources. While you might be able to attract talent, it is important that you have strong retention policies. Have small celebrations, cheer songs and team meetings to share corporate values and beliefs, from time to time.

Be tolerant for honest mistakes. We all know that while a startup is beginning to scale there are bound to be mistakes. Just make sure that the same does not crop up in future. Even large organizations do make mistakes. Allow them to experiment and bring out their best, as long as it does not become a corporate failure.

Finally, it is all about consistency; consistency in winning deals, consistency in getting customer appreciations, consistency in building robust products or solutions, consistency in delivering high quality services and consistency in collecting payments on-time that separates winners from those who also-ran!

Startup Xperts is a business growth and consulting firm with an objective to transform CEO’s vision into achievable, actionable goals that deliver results.  Our mission is to help companies to steeply accelerate their revenue growth, profitably.  Be it family run business, small or medium enterprise or a boutique firm, Startup Xperts have all the right answers to step up their growth.  Startup Xperts help clients in a range of service areas including business consulting, strategic consulting, sales and marketing consulting, digital marketing, Sales Process Outsourcing (SPO), HR, Operations and leadership training, sales training, business mentoring and executive coaching.

To know more about Startup Xperts, visit us at or write to us at

Author Shyam Sekar acts as a Chief Mentor and Strategist at Startup Xperts and provides business consulting and execution support to numerous startups and SMEs, helping them build their enterprises successfully.

The views expressed in this article are that of the author’s and Startup Xperts is not responsible for this content.  In case of any objection in content, IP violations, incorrect or inappropriate information, please inform us at   We will do our best to act on it at the earliest

How to find the right mentor for your startup? 9 things to be considered

With numerous startups coming up every other day all over the world, there is a definite need for startup consultant. The requirement and demand has never been so much, and one of the primary reasons that entrepreneurs looks for a good mentor is to ensure that nothing goes wrong during their startup journey.

Unlike other services, are startup mentors easily available? Can they add value? Can they increase the success ratio of the aspiring entrepreneurs or startup founders? The answer actually has two sides;

One who has ‘been there, done that’ kind of professionals are too busy in their own stream of things. Being an entrepreneur themselves it is hard for them to find time to dedicate to many startups who seek their advice. So those, while still being busy, who are able to spend a fraction of their time with your idea, your product, your vision, are a smaller fraction of these ‘available’ mentors. So it is best to figure out if they are available and can they really spend that quality time with you to build your dreams.

Now, the next question will be how to find the right startup mentor?

It is not a simple way to just look for and asking someone. You will need to be clear as to what you wish to accomplish; what your strengths are; where do you exactly need the support of a mentor; what aspects do you feel that the mentor should look at while are you busy building your vision, your entity; and many more.

Well, the reason you are looking for a good mentor is to help you avoid those pitfalls which you may fail to notice. The following are some pointers that I have usually shared with so many young entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs for how to choose a right startup mentor.

Need business or technical mentor?

Founders come with their own unique skills; while some have deep technical/technological expertise, while some may be finance experts. So you will need to be clear as to how you wish your mentor to bring those complimentary skills. A business mentor need not necessarily be from your area of expertise/domain, unless you need someone who you would like to contribute technically or technologically.

Powering your thought process:

A good mentor should also act as a ‘devil’s advocate’; should shoot the right questions at you to power your thinking process. They can help transform your team’s thought process. A good mentor should also be ready to push out of your comfort zones, whenever required.

Mentor in your city or anywhere?

There are some requirements that work best with a local mentor, based in your own city. But when either you are unable to find the right one, and if you are fine with a mentor outside of your city/town, it is fine to look for a mentor who is based in a distant location as long as that mentor can add value to your business. Even in the same city, meetings may not happen often. Second, with the technology transformation, you are connected to anyone, anytime, everywhere. So connections and communication has become so seamless it may be a good idea to rope in a right mentor outside of your base location too.

But then how to track and bring them on board?

There are a number of avenues today to spot a right mentor. You can either Google; or keep looking for the right person in various networking events, conferences, and other communities. Quickly prepare a list and do the following;

Follow their social profiles:

You can get to know about them if you can spend some time in LinkedIn or Twitter for example. Get to know their interests and their areas of expertise. Are they personalities who wish to contribute something back, to our society? Understand what motivates them to be in this business.

Be convincing: 

After squaring in on the right mentor, send them a professional note or mail seeking their mentorship. Your mail should look professional without mistakes; grammar errors are fine as we are not an English speaking country (yet) but it should not be carelessly composed. It is like making a ‘statement of purpose’ which you might have done in your college days.

Give them a good reason, as to why they should act as your mentor. Pick the phone and start a conversation. You will emerge with more clarity as to whether to sign up with that mentor or not.

Building relationship is the key to successful mentoring. Mentoring is built on trust and respect for mutual strengths. Mentoring should not be treated as just another casual or commercial transaction. Respect their time and consider that you are getting benefited because of their involvement in your entity.

How to strike an engagement deal?

There can be numerous ways to engage a mentor. It can be a non-commercial understanding and with a good relationship you can get things going. Or it can be a small commercial, incentive driven, with commitment to time spends clearly agreed upon.

There have been numerous instances that startups come with the proposal in terms of providing equity to get me on-board as their mentor/advisor. Though I have refused so many earlier, this also does have some merit if you look at it as a win-win value proposition. Just make sure that there is a cultural fit with that mentor, as he is like your co-founder sailing with your company for long. Once taken on-board, it will be difficult to push him/her out.

Move ahead with clear commitment to time slots, goals, milestones, to ensure that there are no misunderstandings or realizing the gap later between what was expected and what was achieved?

Not having the right mentor can make or break your idea or your startup. Mentors bring in a lot of wisdom, experience, insight, and their aspiration is also to see you through emerging successfully. So even if you are running your startup, enterprise (small or big) successfully it is always advisable to rope in good mentors, as advisors, for your business growth.

Startup Xperts is a business accelerator supporting startups, small medium enterprises, boutique firms, by driving their go-to-market strategies, digital marketing, smart sales initiatives, to accelerate their revenue growth.

To know more about Startup Xperts, visit us at or write to us at

The views expressed in this article are that of the author’s and Startup Xperts is not responsible for this content. In case of any objection in content, IP violation, incorrect or inappropriate information, please inform us at We will do our best to act on it at the earliest.