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6 Steps For Moderating Your Startup’s Growing Pains

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Building your company at a steady pace encourages stability and a focus on good customer service.

By Lindsey Carnett (CEO & President, Marketing Maven)

The top 25 best-paid chief executive officers in the U.S. earned more in salary and other compensation in 2010 than their companies’ federal income tax expenses as disclosed in public filings, according to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies.

After reading a stat like that, how many of you are even more tempted to start a company of your own? Steer away from the dollar sign flashing in front of your eyes because the number one trick to success is to slow down.

Building your company at a steady pace encourages stability and a focus on good customer service — crucial necessities for a successful company.

Step One: Know Your Needs. Realize your needs to build your goals.

With a background in the marketing and public relations world doing lifestyle and consumer publicity, I quickly began to learn the tricks of the trade. I worked as a marketing director of a nutraceutical company and later started a PR division at a large advertising agency.

With the perks of an important title came three hours of commuting to and from my job in Los Angeles and views of my cubicle walls. While I enjoyed what I did, my job was losing its charm within the confines of a long commute and my boxed office. Wanting more personal freedom, I took a leap of faith in 2009 and resigned from my job to start Marketing Maven Public Relations.

Marketing Maven Public Relations is a Los Angeles based marketing, PR, social media, and online marketing company. I wanted to manage a company that reflects my expertise and passion for the marketing industry with a primary focus on lifestyle and consumer clients.

Step Two: One Foot Before the Other.

Place one foot before the other, and you won’t stumble. This is the theoretical solution to the problem of a quickly growing business. Although it’s a great problem to have, growing too quickly is definitely a double edged sword. In PR, marketing, sales, and most other industries, fantastic customer service is a must. As your company grows, excellent customer service may drop at an exponential rate.

This negative correlation is best made positive by pacing ourselves. While managing Marketing Maven Public Relations, I decided not to take too much business so we can give 100% of our attention to our current clients. It’s important to guide your client throughout the process, letting them know that you’re always there to offer support.

Clients have mentioned that when working with larger agencies, they aren’t getting the attention they need and sometimes, large agencies won’t even take their phone calls. At Marketing Maven Public Relations, we pride ourselves on being accessible to our clients and feel that’s the best solution to a good problem like growing too quickly. Yes, SHE can.

Step Three: Don’t be held back by negative perception.

As women, we are sometimes stereotyped against positions of power. Having a positive perception and believing it in reality will help you and your company put the best foot forward. Positive representation is another necessity to build a successful business and a positive reputation stems from a positive perception.

Step Four: The Basics.

Help others recognize your abilities and your company’s abilities by building a good website, organizing a good press kit, and having presentable social media profiles.

Having a good electronic presence will help earn a lot of business. In fact, much of your business will happen through your online social presence. For example, I recently spoke at a tradeshow in Miami where someone approached me and said, “I’ve been wanting to meet you.” She continued to say that we are friends on Facebook, she saw my profile on LinkedIn, and was eager to meet me face to face.

Even though you don’t often meet people face to face with whom you share your positive online presence, they can still get to know you as you actively maintain your and your company’s image about yourself and your company.

Step Five: Stand Out As Creative Competition

Be sure to have a niche where you and your talents are best represented. If you can separate yourself from your competition or do something creative that stands out, then people will be drawn to you and your talents. Stand out from the crowd and do something extraordinary that people will be intrigued by.

Step 6: Grow Smart

How can you grow your business successfully? With a smart plan, and a solid foundation.

Build a large referral network. Jump ship and start your business by taking a leap of faith and by having done a good job for a lot of people. Sounds obvious, but the key is all in the followthrough.

You can make plenty of promises, but actually following through will help you build a list of good referrals. Always do what you say you’ll do, and your positive reputation will build itself.

Take a lot of meetings, explain to people what you do and don’t be afraid to get out there and show-off your many talents.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

About the guest blogger: Lindsey Carnett is CEO and President of Marketing Maven Public Relations, a Los Angeles-based marketing and PR agency specializing in lifestyle, health, beauty, fitness and household direct-to-consumer products. Follow her on Twitter at @MarketingMaven2.