Securing funding for your business is a major step. And it’s something you should rightfully celebrate. But when the champagne runs dry, you’ll probably be feeling the crunch to get things moving.
Receiving financial backing is encouraging for startups because it means that people believe in you and your idea. But it also means that you now have external parties involved. And with those parties comes a lot of associated pressure and expectation (and fun!).
You’ve got money in the bank now, however, so the time has come to move quickly and strategically. The goal should be putting those funds to the best use while showing your stakeholders that they backed the right horse. There are five key steps you need to take after a funding round to capitalize on this exciting and important time in the life of your business.
1. Level up your team
For most companies, once they’ve got some funds to work with, their first thought goes to team.
The first element you’ll need to consider is whether you want to hire someone to be in-house full time, or whether it’s more beneficial to partner with an external team. Whichever direction you choose to go, your focus should be on finding people with a specific and proven track record of success in growing startup revenue.
There are a lot of talented potential hires out there, but you want to make sure you’re prioritizing the candidates that have real-life experience with this kind of growth work. You’ll want to look for people who have clocked five or more years of time scaling brands, and doing it with rock-solid strategy and execution.
If you choose to bring someone in-house, at this early stage, what you need the most are generalists. You want a growth marketer who has a broad knowledge covering a wide range of tactics with in-depth knowledge in one or two specific areas.
If you choose to partner with an external team during this phase of your growth, look for a team that is efficient, decisive, and ready to learn and adapt. Work to integrate them fully into your business, both via processes and communication channels.
Whether you go with internal or external hires, making smart moves and putting together a strong team with proven growth experience will be a clear signal to your investors. It will reassure them that you have the skills within the team to execute on your plan and deliver on your plan.
2. Rally behind shared goals
Having other people’s money in your hands can give you a real sense of urgency to deliver results. But you can’t do that effectively if you haven’t even defined what success looks like.
Everyone should deeply understand the driving force of the company. To do this, you need to identify the growth marketing metrics that matter most to you and make sure everyone on the team is working towards those.
Additionally, you need to make sure there is buy-in from top to bottom. A company’s founder(s) will naturally always be the most invested in the mission of the brand, but if you hire smart and discuss these metrics early on, the entire team can move like one cohesive unit.
And for your existing employees, remember that raising capital is an exciting but stressful time. Once it passes and you’ve secured that money, it can be easy for people to drop the ball or forget what they were working towards in the first place. So rally around your people, and be in constant conversation with them.
At Tuff, we think this step is so critical to success that we hold weekly meetings with our startup clients. We align on goals, see how we’re pacing, and make sure we’re always learning and inching closer to our north star.
3. Refine your processes
Again, it’s totally understandable if you’re eager to move immediately once you receive funding. But if you want to build truly sustainable growth, you have to lay the groundwork first.
To that end, we suggest that you refrain from implementing any new tactics for the first 30 days after securing funding. Focus instead on setting up the right processes before diving into the execution phase of things.
Regardless of whether you hire in-house or bring in a partner like Tuff, your growth marketing team is going to need time to dig deeper on:
- Business Objectives & Key Metris
- Unique Selling Point
- Reviews and Customer Insights
- Business operations
- Previous market efforts
- Performance metrics (CPM – CTR – CPA – CAC – LTV)
- Organic Traction
Then, they’ll need to put on paper a full-funnel roadmap to reach your growth goals. One that outlines tactics, deliverables, testing plan, and spend.
You want to move as quickly as possible in this phase, but you also want to move strategically, with purpose and intention. Doing so will not only provide better results for you but will also show your investors that you are taking a thoughtful and measured approach. Taking the time to do things right shows them that you respect their contributions and intend to utilize them efficiently.
4. Identify what works and scale that
You’re growing, and that’s great, but chances are that if you’re moving smartly, you’re still operating in a pretty lean fashion. Your time, money, and people are limited, and you can’t afford to waste any of that on channels that aren’t profitable.
Let your team do some quick experimenting, document the results, and uncover the channels that provide you with the most generous returns. Then throw all your energy into effectively and smartly scaling those channels to show your investors some timely and reassuring results. This will help you get an early win and increase everyone’s confidence across the board.
5.Test it all, internalize every number, and use those results to inform what you do next
This one is so important. You can hire great people and rally them around your vision, but if you don’t track the details of what is and isn’t working with your strategies, you’ll get stuck once you’re ready to scale.
One of the most vital parts of growth marketing is assessing data. Having those numbers in front of you helps you make informed decisions about everything from product adjustments to marketing campaigns. Without this data, you’re effectively shooting blind.
Leveraging the data you gather to improve your performance is what separates good companies from great companies. Don’t rely on hunches or surface metrics to determine your course of action, either. Dig into the hard numbers, and let them lead you in the right direction. We promise they won’t steer you wrong.
Getting funding for your business is exciting. And we understand how much hard work it takes to get there. To honor all that effort, though, it’s important that you take the right steps after a funding round to get the most out of what you’ve been given.
We’d love to work with you.
Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.
Ellen is the founder at Tuff and one of the team’s core growth marketers. She is a versatile marketer with expertise in multiple channels – from ppc to seo to email to others – responsible for the experiments and testing. She is happiest when she’s on the ski hill or outside pointing here mountain bike downhill.