7 startup growth pains
and 50 unobvious resources that cure them

Navigating the turbulent waters of startup growth can be a daunting task, but fear not - we've compiled a list of 50 resources (most of them unobvious) to help you overcome the seven most common growth pains.

Scaling the mission is a struggle

With so many things happening at the same time, it's easy to get distracted and lose sight of your core mission and vision. This might even be causing anxiety and confusion in your team.

Revisit and reiterate your mission and vision.

Regularly revisiting mission and vision keeps focus.

Prioritize tasks and projects.

Prioritizing tasks and projects ensures essential tasks are completed.

Delegate responsibilities.

Delegating responsibilities can prevent burnout and increase efficiency.

Use productivity tools to stay organized.

Productivity tools can help maintain organization and focus.

  • Notion (Freemium) - An all-in-one workspace for notes, tasks, wikis.
  • Evernote (Freemium) - A note-taking app for organization and productivity.
  • Google Keep (Free) - A simple note-taking app for quick ideas.
  • KanbanFlow (Freemium) - A lean project management tool for productivity.
  • RescueTime (Freemium) - Track time spent on tasks for productivity.

Regularly review company goals.

Regular review of company goals keeps the team aligned.

Scaling your operations is a nightmare

Scaling your operations is a nightmare

As your startup grows, so does the complexity of your operations. The processes that used to work when you were a smaller team are now causing bottlenecks and inefficiencies.

Invest in technology to streamline processes.

Technology can help streamline and automate processes.

  • Zapier (Freemium) - Automate repetitive tasks between different online apps.
  • IFTTT (Free) - Create custom automation workflows between online tools.
  • Process Street (Freemium) - Document and manage repeating business procedures.
  • Integromat (Freemium) - Advanced online automation and integration platform.
  • Airtable (Freemium) - Organize work with customizable workflows.

Hire operations experts.

Operations experts can handle and improve complex processes.

  • Upwork (Free to post jobs) - Freelance platform to hire operations experts.
  • Fiverr (Free to post jobs) - Marketplace for freelance services.
  • Toptal (Free to post jobs) - Hire top 3% of freelance talents.
  • Freelancer (Free to post jobs) - Freelance marketplace with millions of users.
  • Guru (Free to post jobs) - Platform for hiring freelance professionals.

Develop a scalable business model.

A scalable business model can accommodate growth.

  • Leanstack (Free) - Create a lean canvas for your startup.
  • Canvanizer (Free) - Create and collaborate on business model canvases.
  • Javelin (Freemium) - Test your startup idea and build a business model.
  • Strategyzer (Paid) - Tools for business model generation and value proposition design.
  • LivePlan (Paid) - Create and share your business plan online.

Continually review and optimize processes.

Regular process optimization prevents bottlenecks and inefficiencies.

  • Asana (Freemium) - Manage team projects and tasks online.
  • Trello (Freemium) - Organize and prioritize projects in a fun way.
  • Lucidchart (Freemium) - Create and share flowcharts, diagrams, and more.
  • ClickUp (Freemium) - All-in-one project management tool.
  • Smartsheet (Paid) - Manage and automate collaborative work.

Implement a project management system.

A project management system can ensure efficient workflow and communication.

  • Monday (Paid) - Manage work and teams in one place.
  • Basecamp (Paid) - Project management tool for easy collaboration.
  • Wrike (Freemium) - Collaborative project management tool.
  • Zoho Projects (Freemium) - Online project management software for businesses.
  • Slack (Freemium) - Communication hub for teams.
Maintaining company culture getting tough

Maintaining company culture getting tough

When you started, you were a close-knit team with a strong, unified culture. Now, with new people joining, it's getting harder to maintain that culture and ensure everyone feels valued and included.

Regularly communicate company values.

Regular communication of company values ensures cultural alignment.

  • Slack (Freemium) - Platform for team communication and collaboration.
  • Mattermost (Free) - Open-source alternative to Slack for team communication.
  • Zulip (Free) - Open source team chat with email-style threading.
  • Rocket.Chat (Free) - Open-source team chat platform with real-time translation.
  • Google Groups (Free) - Platform for group communication and discussion.

Encourage team-building activities.

Team-building activities foster unity and collaboration.

  • Trello (Freemium) - Tool for organizing tasks and projects in a fun, flexible way.
  • Icebreaker (Free) - Platform for virtual team-building activities.
  • QuizBreaker (Paid) - Online quiz game for remote teams.
  • TeamBuilding (Paid) - Virtual team-building events and activities.
  • Slido (Freemium) - Interactive Q&A and polling platform for meetings and events.

Foster a culture of inclusivity.

An inclusive culture can make everyone feel valued.

Provide regular feedback and recognition.

Regular feedback and recognition boosts morale and performance.

  • 15Five (Freemium) - Tool for continuous employee feedback, OKRs, and peer recognition.
  • Bonusly (Freemium) - Platform for peer-to-peer employee recognition and rewards.
  • Kudos (Freemium) - Employee recognition system and corporate social network.
  • Peergrade (Free) - Tool for peer feedback in education.
  • Happyforce (Freemium) - Platform for continuous employee feedback.

Implement a mentorship program.

A mentorship program can help employees grow and feel supported.

  • MentorCity (Freemium) - Online mentoring software for business and education.
  • Together (Freemium) - Platform for running internal employee mentoring programs.
  • Chronus (Paid) - Software for launching, managing, and measuring mentoring programs.
  • MentorNet (Free) - Online mentoring community for STEM students.
  • Ten Thousand Coffees (Freemium) - Platform for networking and career development.
Your competition is getting fierce

Your competition is getting fierce

When you launched, you were the new kids on the block with a unique product. But now, competitors are cropping up everywhere, offering similar products or services. It's a constant battle to stay ahead.

Invest in market research.

Market research can provide valuable insights to stay ahead.

  • SurveyMonkey (Freemium) - Survey tool for collecting customer feedback and market insights.
  • Google Trends (Free) - Tool for understanding market trends and consumer behavior.
  • Statista (Freemium) - Provides statistics and data on various industries and markets.
  • Qualaroo (Freemium) - Tool for website user feedback and insights.
  • Social Mention (Free) - Social media analytics and sentiment analysis tool.

Continuously improve your product.

Continual product improvement can outpace competitors.

  • Jira (Freemium) - Project management tool for tracking product development.
  • GitHub (Freemium) - Platform for collaborative software development.
  • Trello (Freemium) - Tool for managing projects and tasks.
  • UserVoice (Freemium) - Platform for collecting and prioritizing customer feedback.
  • Asana (Freemium) - Work management platform for teams.

Understand your competition's strengths.

Understanding competitors' strengths can guide your strategies.

  • SEMRush (Freemium) - SEO tool that includes competitor analysis.
  • SpyFu (Freemium) - Tool for researching competitors' keywords and AdWords.
  • BuzzSumo (Freemium) - Tool for analyzing competitors' content marketing.
  • SimilarWeb (Freemium) - Web analytics service for tracking competitors' website traffic.
  • Owler (Freemium) - Provides business profiles and competitive analysis.

Develop a unique selling proposition.

A unique selling proposition distinguishes you from competitors.

  • Canva (Freemium) - Design tool for creating visual content.
  • Grammarly (Freemium) - Tool for improving writing quality and clarity.
  • Hemingway Editor (Free) - App for improving readability of text.
  • Unbounce (Freemium) - Tool for building and testing landing pages.
  • Typeform (Freemium) - Tool for creating interactive forms and surveys.

Focus on customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction can lead to loyalty and referrals.

  • Zendesk (Freemium) - Customer service software and support ticket system.
  • Freshdesk (Freemium) - Customer support software and ticketing system.
  • SurveyMonkey (Freemium) - Survey tool for collecting customer feedback.
  • UserReport (Free) - Tool for collecting user feedback and satisfaction scores.
  • LiveChat (Freemium) - Live chat software for customer service.
Struggling to balance customer satisfaction with growth

Struggling to balance customer satisfaction with growth

As you're growing, it's getting harder to keep your customers happy. There are more queries, more complaints, and keeping up with them while still focusing on growth is a real challenge.

Invest in customer service training.

Customer service training can improve customer satisfaction.

Use customer feedback to improve.

Customer feedback can guide improvements.

  • JotForm (Freemium) - Online form builder for feedback collection.
  • UserVoice (Freemium) - Tool for collecting and analyzing user feedback.
  • Survicate (Freemium) - Customer feedback tool for discovering user preferences.
  • Feedbackify (Paid) - Customizable website feedback solution.
  • Hotjar (Freemium) - A tool for understanding user behavior.

Implement a customer relationship management system.

A CRM system can manage and improve customer relationships.

  • HubSpot CRM (Free) - A free CRM tool for small businesses.
  • Insightly (Freemium) - CRM software for managing customer data and interactions.
  • Zoho CRM (Freemium) - CRM software designed for small businesses.
  • Pipedrive (Freemium) - Sales CRM for small teams with big ambitions.
  • Freshsales (Freemium) - A fully integrated CRM tool for high-velocity sales teams.

Prioritize customer satisfaction metrics.

Prioritizing customer satisfaction metrics can drive growth.

  • Medallia (Paid) - A platform for managing customer experience metrics.
  • Qualtrics CustomerXM (Paid) - A tool for measuring and improving customer satisfaction.
  • Podium (Paid) - A tool for managing online reviews and customer feedback.
  • HappyOrNot (Paid) - A tool for real-time customer satisfaction reporting.
  • Nicereply (Freemium) - A tool for measuring customer satisfaction, NPS and CES.

Hire a dedicated customer success team.

A dedicated customer success team ensures customer needs are met.

Running out of funds faster than you're gaining traction

Running out of funds faster than you're gaining traction

You have a brilliant idea, a motivated team, but your burn rate is high and the return on investment is taking longer than expected. It might even keep you up at night wondering how to keep the lights on.

Reevaluate your business model.

Reevaluating the business model can improve financial health.

Seek additional funding sources.

Additional funding sources can provide financial stability.

  • Grants.gov (Free) - Search for available government grants.
  • Indiegogo (Free) - Crowdfunding platform for startups.
  • SeedInvest (Free) - Equity crowdfunding platform for startups.
  • Kickstarter (Free) - Crowdfunding platform for creative projects.
  • FundsforNGOs (Free) - Funding resources for non-profit startups.

Cut unnecessary costs.

Cutting unnecessary costs can help manage burn rate.

  • Mint (Free) - Budgeting tool to track expenses.
  • GnuCash (Free) - Open-source financial accounting software.
  • 5 Ways to Cut Costs (Free) - Article on cutting costs in startups.
  • BudgetSimple (Freemium) - Easy budgeting tool to cut expenses.
  • HomeBank (Free) - Free software to manage personal accounting.

Increase focus on sales and revenue.

Focusing on sales and revenue can accelerate ROI.

Consider a financial advisor.

A financial advisor can provide expert guidance and planning.

Managing investor expectations is exhausting

Managing investor expectations is exhausting

As a startup, you're accountable to your investors. They have high expectations and it's a constant challenge to keep them satisfied while also staying true to your vision.

Regularly communicate with investors.

Regular communication with investors maintains trust.

  • MailChimp (Freemium) - Create and manage newsletters for investor updates.
  • Article: Investor Communication (Free) - Insights on maintaining investor relations.
  • Doodle (Freemium) - Schedule and manage investor meetings.
  • Slack (Freemium) - Facilitate quick communication with investors.
  • Medium (Free) - Share company updates to investors publicly.

Be transparent about challenges.

Transparency about challenges can manage investor expectations.

Set realistic goals and expectations.

Realistic goals and expectations can prevent disappointment.

Hire a dedicated investor relations manager.

An investor relations manager can handle investor communications.

Develop a strong business plan.

A strong business plan can demonstrate potential for return.

Innovation, Creativity, Brainstorming, Trends, Collaboration

The pressure to innovate is overwhelming

In the fast-paced startup world, you're only as good as your next big idea. This constant pressure to innovate, to stay ahead of the curve, is exhausting.

Foster a culture of innovation.

Fostering a culture of innovation can keep your startup competitive.

Encourage employee creativity.

Encouraging employee creativity can generate innovative ideas.

Allocate time for brainstorming sessions.

Brainstorming sessions can result in new solutions and products.

Stay informed about industry trends.

Staying informed about industry trends can guide innovation.

Collaborate with other innovative companies.

Collaboration with other companies can spark new ideas.

  • Slack (Freemium) - Communication tool for collaboration.
  • Collaboration Article (Free) - Article on benefits of business collaboration.
  • Trello (Freemium) - Tool to organize and prioritize projects.
  • Asana (Freemium) - Project management tool for collaboration.
  • OpenIDEO (Free) - Global community to solve big challenges.
Struggling with decision fatigue

Struggling with decision fatigue

As a member of the leadership team, you're constantly making decisions. Big or small, each decision carries weight and it's starting to take a toll on you and your team.

Practice effective time management.

Effective time management can reduce decision fatigue.

Delegate decision making when possible.

Delegating decisions can empower employees and reduce burden.

Take regular breaks.

Regular breaks can prevent burnout and improve decision making.

Prioritize decisions that align with company goals.

Prioritizing decisions ensures alignment with company goals.

Develop a decision-making framework.

A decision-making framework can streamline and improve decisions.

To grow successfully, Series A startups must strategically address talent, leadership, processes, markets, customers, investors, innovation, scalability, compliance, culture, and communication. Overcoming challenges brings sustainable success.

� Knowledge Drive 2023