November 8, 2018

What do I do when the growth stops?

As everyone in here, I expect a certain growth from my project. So far it has panned out brilliantly and is looking to make close to $400 in revenue this month.

Whenever growth slows down (in my case, no new mentees applying for a mentorship) I start to worry. I know that well over 50% of our paying customers found us on Google, Reddit seems to be another big one, as well as Quora.

When growth slows down, what is the appropriate thing to do? Reinforce those channels? Find new ones? Just wait and build?

  1. 4

    How do universities recruit? Where do they go to put themselves in front of potential students? Is there any mileage in going to those places?

    A university education costs how much? Your courses costs how much less?

    Your selling point is that you get one on one tuition. University students don't.

    You offer focused mentoring. Universities don't offer that. You don't waste time with long breaks from study so your study time is focussed, takes less time overall and gets people out into the workplace faster.

    Customers don't have to find huge sums of money upfront. They can learn on a pay-as-you-go model, picking up a course here and a course there.

    As well as finding out where potential students hang out, build more landing pages which emphasise you are a university alternative; other landing pages which suggest you may be a way into entrepreneurship, working for yourself and not being beholden to a boss or a company. Other landing pages which emphasise whatever other benefits you think your target customers are seeking. It builds you up in Google's eyes and it helps you to find people using many different search terms. Address your target audience's dreams and talk about them.

    Is it too early to ask an existing customer to create a blog post with you to describe the expeience and benefits? As soon as it isn't, ask them to do exactly that. It is another page by which someone can find you.

    Start a YouTube channel and discuss different ways of education and learning, each video pointing straight back to your website.

    Find sites which promote contuous learning or which promote entrepreneurship. Develop an affiliate schemes and then approach the owners of these influencer sites with a properly thought out and working affiliate scheme. Give away as much as you can afford whilst still making a profit.

    Always remember, even Coca Cola - the most recognisable brand in the world - never stops marketing. And nor must you.

    1. 1

      Hey Thomas!

      I'm actually working with a copywriter to do a landing page like you described it, next will be outbound sales, thanks a lot!

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        What - right this minute ... or had you already planned to do so?

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          Have been working with him for a week or two now, you just reassured me :) The direction is also roughly the same, but we had to dial back a little (the initial claim was something like "you don't need a $50k degree")

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            What can I say? Great minds obviously think alike!

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    Never let the well dry. You shouldn't go find new clients only when you need to, that should be a constant worry.

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      Fair enough! It's just so nice when they come by themselves, you sometimes forget that you should actually sell

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    Without the metrics at hand for your project, it's really hard to give good advice on this.

    What I can say is that - especially at this early stage of your project - how (or why) you grow is just as important as that you grow.

    Before you put too much time and effort into reaching more customers, take this opportunity to really understand why people become customers.

    • What are the magic moments for your customers? Are you doing a good job of leveraging them? (if you're running a marketplace, this is doubly important)

    • You already have customers - are you doing a good job at keeping them onboard and minimising churn? If not, it probably isn't worth spending time on acquiring many new users yet...

    • Why aren't you growing organically? If you currently have paying customers, why aren't they telling friends and convincing them to sign up as well? Is that just the nature of your product, or perhaps a sign that you aren't providing quite as much value to customers as you think?

    • Talk to your current customers. Which ones are the best customers for your product? Can you reach those customer groups easily? The more targeted you are, the easier it is to grow sustainably.

    Good luck!

  4. 1

    Ask yourself if you can make your existing users sell your product for you?

    Few brilliant ways that let you convert your 'Users' to your 'Salesmen' -

    1. Word-of-mouth Marketing - By making your product so brilliant that your users would love to talk about it.

    2. Referral/Affiliate Marketing - Reward your users to sell for you

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    Make sure your expenses and any churn do not creep up to exceed your revenue. Profit First is a good read on how to handle money for your business. Important to get right before you grow a lot.

    I know b/c I worked at a SaaS that grew from $500k ARR to $1M ARR in a couple years and the founder/owner did not set up their financials diligently for growth and we got crushed when forced to invest a lot into the product for a redesign and a slight churn set in due to a competitor.

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      I don't think that's a problem. I still invest a lot of time and money, but the business could run fully profitable without that except ~$10/month running cost.

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    Have you thought of reaching out to university career services departments? They might be good partners for you.

    1. 1

      That's a good point!