Building too fast can kill your startup – do this instead

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The most important aspect of starting a new business is a clear vision for the future. The creative mission is the starting point for developing a business plan and everything else that follows. While a business plan almost always focuses on growth, entrepreneurs should consider the inherent advantages of starting small and how to let their small size lead the business to sustainable growth.

Related: 8 Ways Your Startup Can Master Sales and Growth

Starting small is a learning curve

It has become part of today’s narrative that everyone has to go big or go home. Every day, entrepreneurs experience their own personal “go big or go home” moment. The key is not to decide whether to go big or not; it starts small and lets the prospect know when it’s time to go big.

For start-up companies, it is often small things that prevent going home in defeat. If one intends to grow a business in the long term, starting small is the best way forward. Even if an entrepreneur has the financial resources to start a large operation, growing into it slowly but surely may be a better path.

Why? While there is nothing wrong with eventually becoming big, small beginnings open a better path by offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to become familiar with all aspects of their business. This in-depth knowledge ultimately shapes them into the kind of leaders who can effectively grow the brand and make a positive impact in every corner of the workplace. Understanding the specifics of the business also allows business owners to find and fill gaps and devise both short-term and permanent improvements.

The Agility advantage

Another benefit of starting small is flexibility. A smaller company has a leaner footprint and fewer chefs in the familiar kitchen, so the model can change and adapt simply and efficiently. Being able to change direction and respond to changes in changing market forces are the keys to long-term growth.

Agility affects the ability to grow in different directions, one at a time. For example, the ways to grow a small business’s footprint may include physical locations or an online presence, an e-commerce portal, or all three. Experiences and skills developed as a small operation provide direction for which turns the company should take and how to get there.

Related: Everything I learned from growing my startup to 10 million users with $0 in funding

To gain the advantage over big brands

Large brands have historically sought to acquire or copy successful small business ventures.

However, the sheer scale of large brands makes it difficult to acquire the same level of expertise that a small owner gains through experience. Big brands simply can’t grasp everything they need to know about an entrepreneurial business because they haven’t been on a similar growth and learning path.

The struggle associated with starting a small business can really only be understood by the individual who goes through it. Starting small forces an entrepreneur in any business to encounter problems first hand and solve problems in real time as they arise.

Slow and steady wins

Don’t believe the start-up mantra of moving fast and breaking things, because it’s better to go slow and keep everything on track for countless reasons. For example, building mindfully allows a small business to collect and leverage its customer data. Acquiring, analyzing and acting on data requires time, effort and building a real understanding of the target market.

When it comes to building a customer base, it means being dedicated to building an engaged social media following of customers who are enthusiastic about providing feedback and key data.

Today, many business ventures that fill a niche envisioned by a new generation of entrepreneurs are likely to attract a younger demographic—so it’s important to address the social media presence of both millennials who follow Facebook and Twitter and members of Gen Z, which is most likely to scroll Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.

Related: 6 Tips to Promote Sustainable Business Growth

Over time, satisfied customers become social influencers and are a real asset in crowdsourcing potential brick-and-mortar locations and product selections. In fact, social media is a source for mining data that applies to business decisions across almost every sector. Most importantly in terms of future growth, it’s thumbs up vs. thumbs down data that drives sustainable plans.

Starting small and growing from within is the best way to build a business. Slow, steady growth helps entrepreneurs maintain a customer-centric attitude and focus on the core product that has helped the business thrive. It also protects entrepreneurs from diluting the company’s core principles. Instead of “go big or go home” and “move fast and break things,” entrepreneurs should start small, move slow, then go big—and nothing breaks.

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