An Entrepreneur’s Quick & Clever Guide To Growth

Peak of Success or Valley of Death? The crucial factor that decides where your startup is headed is the rate of growth – how soon are you able to scale up from a start up. It seems a crazy idea to run a taxi services company without owning a single cab. Crazier even that it would grow into one of the world’s biggest cab services provider. So, how do all successful founders grow and how do they evaluate the market and seize the opportunities at right time? Here’s a quick and clever rulebook that answers these questions and bolsters your startup on the launchpad to success.

Understand Your Users – Make Something Your Users Want, And Want A Lot:

You see, building a product or service is easy but building something which a lot of people want is the only way to grow. Think about your users, what problem are you solving for them, and offer a solution that has huge (because large is not good enough) market potential and which your consumers will come back for more. How do you do that?

  • Ask them – Customer Surveys and Feedback: It’s important that you listen to what your customers are saying, what do they like about the product, what don’t they like about it,  what will motivate them to buy your product again etc
  • Track Engagement: How are the customers interacting with your brand, are they searching you on Google, how active are they while on your website/online platforms, what are people clicking on your website – blogs, discount offers, links etc
  • Retention Cohort Analysis – simply, group your users, see how they behave: Retention Cohort Analysis is a technique in which you make subsets of your users in terms of platform they use or date of signup or channel of acquisition. For example, out of a group who signed up on your app 10 days ago, let’s say 40% of them came back on day 1 and only 10% came back on Day 7, that means 75% of your customers are lost in the week, this gives you an insight on what strategies can you develop to retain them, probably launch a new marketing campaign or send an emailer that gives exciting discounts on your app

If you do not have enough data to start this off, it might be the best time to start collecting this data and take decisions based on it. Remember, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

Money Can Either Be Something Or Everything:

A repeatable and scalable revenue model puts you on the fast track of growth. Your revenue model is repeatable, when it works in multiple instances to generate revenue from customers, it’s scalable if it works for a larger set of customers – meaning offering huge discounts or low prices to increase sales is not a scalable model as the no. of customers increase, you’ll run into a negative balance soon. Managing cash flows and striking the perfect balance between profits and reinvestments is a tricky thing, because you’ve to make sure your startup never dries out of money.

  • Track MoneyIN And MoneyOUT: Have a solid business plan and a budget that streamlines your cash management. Forecast how much revenue are you going to get and It’s important that you forecast demand and sales to set aside money for various operational and marketing expenses you’ll incur.
  • Penny Wise Pound Foolish: Don’t cut back on important expenses just to save money. Plan rightly whether you’re going to spend money on product development or marketing based on the phase you’re in.
  • Seed Funding: Getting funding from investors in the early stages of your startup is a great idea if you want to finetune your strategy, invest early in marketing, distribution, or logistics expenses. Angel Investors give you the flexibility to assemble the key needs through funding and network that you need as well.

Knock Opportunity’s Door – Build Your Network Early:

Don’t wait till opportunities knock your door, instead be proactive to get into the network you want. That can mean joining startup and VC groups on LinkedIn and Facebook or finding incubators. You could also participate in B-Plan competitions which provide the right networking opportunities with VCs and also give you seed funding support which would do you wonders in picking up the speed.  Understand that Venture Capitalists are also on the lookout for newer and better ventures to invest in, there is a genuine competition for disruptive and sustainable ideas, once you have that start attending

  • Trade shows
  • Seminars
  • Entrepreneur meets
  • B-Plan competitions

How Can Meraki Help You? The 8th edition of Meraki (B-Plan competition organized by FIIB, New Delhi) is a much needed platform for young entrepreneurs to pitch their venture ideas to Angel Investors. Since the entries are evaluated by a jury panel of leading Venture Capitalists and business luminaries, you get direct access to network with the VC circle for mentorship and investment. Participating in Meraki opens door to meet fellow entrepreneurs from Pan Asia which another way to build the network to be in. Prize money of 3 Lakhs is cherry on the top for your startup’s funding. (If you want to know more how Meraki helped pick up speed of an entrepreneur read this blog post) Early Registrations also get a unique opportunity to get individual mentoring from Top Investors of the industry. Register here

Meraki Advantages

Drip Drip Drop – The Story of Trickle Marketing:

Once you have clarity on how best to acquire and utilize your funds, follow a marketing strategy that sustains and keeps your customer engaged. Drip Marketing or Trickle Marketing is one such way of cost effective and engaging with your customers right from the time you acquire them. It is a scheduled set of emailer/phone calls that are automatically sent based on their behavior. For example, if you download Headspace app there will be a set of emailers you’ll receive:

  • Welcoming
  • Onboarding
  • Feature Recommendations
  • Announcing Seasonal Discounts
  • Renewal
  • Checking Up on the User After Inactivity
  • Abandoned Cart
  • Confirmations
  • Unsubscribes

Statistics say that these kind of marketing campaigns are 50% more effective than a general branding and marketing emailer.

Create Legendary Customer Experience and Service:

If there’s one thing customers prefer above all is a great experience while they purchase and better customer service after. Remember three Ts for creating Legendary Experience and Service:

  • Trial: Let your customers try your product out and experience how awesome it is. Build a user interface that is easy to use. If there are payments involved, make the process smooth. Consumer psychology also works in this way, if they’ve loved your trial, they would feel it worth to invest/buy your product.
  • Trust: Creating trust that your product/service genuinely solves their problem, that your customer service team will help them if they are stuck is the number one factor that makes your customer turn into your brand ambassadors
  • Timely Response: Resolve a problem for your customer timely, don’t let any issue or problem take over customer’s needs, never blame your customers for using your product/service wrongly. Customers understand if you let them know that you’re trying to help them.

This quick guide works almost everytime, if you want to dive deeper and learn how to grow your startup, you can connect with mentors of FIIB-Meraki. Do you think there’s anything that should be included here? Feel free to comment below.