[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The ‘existence’ stage is fundamentally existential in nature. At this point, the team is lean and are asking themselves key questions about survivability, serving clients and customers, and when the right moment is to take that next ‘big’ action.
These include questions like:
- Who are our customers, audiences or clients? What are their preoccupations, behaviours and needs? How do our products and services help alleviate this in a way that other competitors can’t or don’t right now?
- Can we move from our avatar of an ideal customer to serving multiple segments of the population? What does customer acquisition truly cost us, at this point?
- How long do we anticipate this start-up phase will last and do we have revenue-generating activities to hold us until we hit that next stage?
Naturally, the existence stage is ripe and fertile for information gathering.
Rather like a baby chick opening its eyes for the first time, there’s a sense of wonder and ‘bootstrap’ resourcefulness that comes along with any initiatives.
Business owners or an executive lead the small but multi-talented team through the various aspects of running that business. Customer and client interactions are notably personal in nature.
The company is focused on simply staying alive — but, if they’re growth-oriented, they’re also focused on delighting their customer. They’re focused on making the customer experience one of personalisation and authenticity while creating a reliable and consistent product or service purchasing process.
Internally, business owners or leaders are focused on gaining information that will be used (but isn’t yet) on possible systems or formal planning they’ll need to put into place when they make it to the next stages.
Marketing initiatives, at this point, are geared toward gaining ‘traffic’ — whether foot or search. It’s all about getting customers through the proverbial doors, offering massive value right up front, cementing the brand’s recognisability and, indeed, its very presence in the minds and hearts of customers.
This might include outreach to PR firms and bloggers, introductory offers and incentives, free timed trials, or even incentives for reviews on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor or Google Business Pages.
Businesses might also set up a Facebook or Instagram presence to begin building one-to-one relationships and engagement with their fans, scoping out possible brand influencer partnerships and running the first part of a Facebook Ad funnel to freebie offers.
List-building and customer acquisition is the most important focus of marketing initiatives at this stage.
Exits that occur at this point are due to a failure to simply get customers in and engaged with the product or service. There is a huge time, money and focus commitment on the business owner, which is another potential for collapse.
You can find the full eBook ‘The stages of business growth and what you should be focusing on’ here. In this eBook we dive into each stage of business growth (existence, survival, success, take off and resource maturity), the questions a business owner or leader should be asking of their business and the types of marketing activities you should be considering to make it successful. These include growth marketing, inbound marketing and digital marketing, data & insights and digital transformation programs. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]