Starting a business - let alone building a sustainable one - is hard work. But don't be discouraged by the fact that only 50% of new businesses survive their first five years in operation. Here are four growth strategies to help your business prosper over the longterm.
Using viral loops to bring in new customers is a tried and true growth strategy. This simple technique works as follows:
The great thing about viral loops is that you don't need to wrangle a bunch of people to get going. To start, you'll only need one customer to try your product. If satisfied, get that customer to tell one other person about your product, and be sure to reward your initial customer. Dropbox, the cloud data storage service, used viral loops to launch its customer base into the stratosphere. Dropbox offered each user additional storage space for every successful referral to its service. The new users poured in.
Incentivizing your clientele to bring in new customers is a great growth strategy. By offering milestones, you encourage existing customers to keep sending referrals your way, in exchange for more and more rewards. For example, Harry's offered customers a larger amount of complimentary products the more people they referred. This referral tactic added a huge number of email addresses to Harry's customer database.
Word-of-mouth is a great way to build up your business' clientele. Slack, the online collaboration platform, built a valuable business by using word-of-mouth to grow its brand. Slack's leadership team started out by begging friends at other companies to use the platform. After a while, Slack began sharing it with larger groups and, eventually, companies. Slack would take stock of each user experience and implement changes before rolling the platform out to larger groups. The constant feedback and tinkering worked. Slack become known as a brand that put its customers first. Naturally, word spread. After launching in 2013, Slack now boasts more than 10 million active daily users.
When WhatsApp made a splash in 2009, it did so with a decidedly different take on messaging. Unlike other messaging apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Gmail, WhatApp went ad free on purpose. The point was to give users a clean messaging service free of the marketing tricks and targeted advertising spewing out of its competitors. It was a simple, secure and annoyance-free way to send messages, and people loved it. The lesson is: if all your competitors are doing the same thing, don't be afraid to gamble and try something different. You never know what you'll achieve!