I recently talked to someone whose business has hit the wall – in terms of growth. Over the past few years, he’s tried to jumpstart things but nothing seems to work.
Of course, this is a situation that faces many businesses, even top ones. Consider that Facebook (FB) had this problem after its IPO.
So what are some ways to get back on track? To find out, I talked to some top entrepreneurs, who know how to grow a business. Here’s what they had to say:
Alex Bäcker, Founder & CEO, QLess
“You can’t cure a patient until you know what he suffers from. First, diagnose what went wrong. Based on my experience, I would say most importantly, listen to your customers. Profits come from customers, so start with what they’re willing to pay for.”
Jim McCarthy, Co-Founder & CEO, Goldstar
“When you’re trying to grow a business and focused like crazy on your ‘core’ revenue, it’s easy to be blind to other potential sources of revenue. Step back and think about where you create value for people. Some of those places will be ones where you make money and some won’t. Those places where you’re creating value but not realizing revenue can often hold potential for non-core revenue. Don’t underestimate that! ‘Non-core’ revenue can be the difference between a pretty good P&L and a dynamite P&L.”
Marcus Nelson, Founder & CEO, Addvocate
“Management has to find smarter ways to add and retain customers. They need recurring revenue streams they can count on, so they can fund new initiatives. And they have to enter new regions only when they can find ways to stop bleeding money – ways like using regional partnerships instead of hiring their own sales staff.”
Joanna Weidenmiller, Co-Founder & CEO, 1-Page
“Companies must stay on top of macro tech trends such as mobile computing. By 2018, there will be 3.4 billion smartphone and tablet users, so expanding a product into mobile not only diversifies the product offering, it also opens a new source of revenue targeting a global demographic of potential customers.”
Guy Goldstein, CEO, Check
“There are a lot of strategies for ramping growth – some only relevant depending on what your company ‘counts’ as growth. For us, it’s all about acquiring users. We see user growth coming from two primary strategies — one achieved by spending money, and the other by creating a mutually attractive value proposition/opportunity. Media buying and mobile media buying (the first strategy) takes money, and in turn you get your name on giant media platforms like Google and Facebook. If you’ve figured out this formula, it can be very successful, and in the end you’re saying I know how to get value from my customers. The other route that’s working for growth companies like Check is distribution, especially partner distribution. In this case, you are getting partners to distribute FOR YOU, which can be an extremely fast and valuable way to expand. It’s more difficult of a path but can be extremely rewarding because of the ROI you achieve through these relationships, which at their core are win-wins for everyone.”
Charlie Nooney, Chairman and CEO, MobiTV
“It’s imperative not to slow your company’s innovation momentum while you figure things out. Encourage it. Feed it. If you don’t stay ahead of the industry or, at the very least, keep pace with it, you run the very real risk of being left in the dust.”