When Dave Elkington and I got together to start XANT in 2004 we put a plan in place with five stages to grow our business. Having been through some hyper growth companies in the past I wanted to avoid problems we had learned from.
Here are the stages:
Stage 1 – Product: If you are a company that sells a product you need to get it ready for prime time quickly and get it to market. I’ve seen companies that spend all their time preparing to launch and never do. I call this my Business Card Rule.
Stage 2 – Support: Don’t build something you can’t support. Customers will come in the front door and walk out the back door. If it is simple, use self support. If it is complex, hire lot’s of great people and train them like crazy.
Stage 3 – Sales: Get more guns on the ship. Nothing happens until somebody sells something. But turn on the sales when you have a product you can be proud of and you know you can make customers happy.
Stage 4 – Marketing: As soon as sales starts to get traction, increase the leads and the quality of leads with better marketing. To us marketing means lead generation at this stage. Brand increases the effect.
Stage 5 – PR: Public relations is like throwing gas on the fire. If there are lots of logs and kindling then the fire really burns well. If not, you get a really big “POOF” and the whole thing goes out. The infrastructure of the first four stages are the logs.
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