When I founded Preply in 2012, the mission was simple: help people prepare to speak confidently in a foreign language. Eight years later, I’m proud of how far we’ve come after trials, tribulations, and now triumph.
Countless hours spent brainstorming, testing and iterating have now paid off: Preply has connected thousands of tutors and students from across 190 countries worldwide. We have earned our rank as the global marketplace for online language tutoring, a service that has soared in demand even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a young entrepreneur myself, I know just how valuable it is to learn from others. That’s why I’m returning the favor and sharing what I believe are the top five most important keys to growth for start-ups.
Invest in the Right People
This is my utmost important tip. Each person you hire must share the same vision as you, and want to see the business grow. Always look to hire passionate, ambitious, and hard-working individuals. Individuals you know you can trust. If you’re interviewing a lot of different candidates, have a checklist with factors that are imperative to your business to make sure they meet the requirements.
People want to use a business they know and trust. Therefore, building up a credible reputation among your target audience is essential for growth. Be authoritative in your sector and a thought-leader, and always make sure you offer great customer service. Experience and first impressions are vital, so ensure people have an enjoyable experience when using your offering, they’ll likely return this way, while also giving you a great review.
Personalise Your Brand
Putting a face behind your brand is a great way to establish a human connection with your target audience. A brand that showcases real people behind the scenes goes a long way. Customers want human connection after all. Share content written by your employees on your website or blog or share pictures on your social media channel. This will help your brand seem relatable and give your audience the connection they want.
Setting goals is an essential part of business success, a strategy that has really helped Preply grow. Set goals and use them as ongoing planning tools to ensure you continue to move forward, and ultimately stay ahead of the competition. Refer back to your goals every so often with your team, and if you have succeeded, set new ones.
Stay on Top of Your Finances
Know your numbers. You must stay on top of your cash flow. Managing money sensibly is critical as it’ll provide you with a clear indication of how your business is performing. Spend the necessary time keeping an eye on your cash flow, various strategies can be implemented if you’re finances aren’t great, however, it’s best to act sooner rather than later if this is the case.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If this is your first business, don’t be too stubborn to ask for help from your peers and mentors who may have more experience than you. Speaking to someone with more experience and knowledge will help you learn and gain the skills you need to take your business to the next level.
Take a Moment to Yourself
Know how far you have come. As business owners, we spend a lot of time working around the clock, juggling many different tasks to ensure our business is always moving forward. However, it’s important to take a minute to yourself and reflect on how far you have come. Very often we get stuck in the moment and forget to look at the bigger picture to help celebrate our success to date.
Business owners will undoubtedly face many challenges, especially while they’re starting up. However, it’s essential they put clear plans in place to help safeguard their current position and future growth plans. Starting a business is a challenge, but it’s worth it in the long run once you meet your vision.
Written by Kirill Bigai, CEO and co-founder of online language learning platform, Preply