Yourstory's Growth Hacks masterclass held on 10th August threw light on how successful startups grew their business exponentially by adopting and following simple tools and techniques that did not require much spending.
Isaac John of 'Inkmonk' spoke about how he started off as a sticker company and gradually moved on to being a printing marketplace.
“Many entrepreneurs plan to get customers by giving discounts, but in reality customers will fail to know your worth because of the benefits you give. If other entrepreneurs offer discounts, customers will turn to them. That way the customer acquisition cost is wasted. Instead, you can find out who the real customer is when you sell your product for a reasonable price” said Isaac.
We started this company in 2015 after deciding to start our own business after working in two companies. But the company we started with is different and the current environment is different. We were originally a sticker company and then we transformed to a T-shirt selling company. In initial stage we delivered just a single tee to customers says Issac.
Though we started the company in 2015, we continued to run the company in 2017 without much confidence. Meanwhile we have become a company selling all Stationery / Printing related products. It was during this time while delivering at FreshWorks (a few years ago, FreshDesk) had a chance to chat with Grish. While chatting with him he asked if we are planning rise fund, I haven’t thought about it until then. After that conversation, we set out to raise funds.
“After that we have raised over Rs. 1.5 crores. Subsequently, the largest printing company in Japan offered to invest. Following this we set up a large office,” Isaac said.
In next few years “Printo” bought us; before telling you why we sold, let’s talk about what is the reason for success.
Reason behind the success
Time and proper delivery is the most essential thing in entrepreneurship. For Instance, It took 100 years for the telephone to go to everyone, but mobile reached 40 years. After that, the Smartphone reached 60 percent of the population in 10 years.
So the right timing is important for business success. We will create an object, it does not happen that we will prepare the market for that object. Success can only be achieved by creating a marketable product.
Is your material reusable? It is essential that people have a tolerance for your material. For example, if you are using a particular app, you will still continue to use the app the next time even when something goes wrong sometime. This is the endurance on the brand. If this kind of tolerance is seen, then we can understand that we have delivered right.
Who's the customer?
If you ask most entrepreneurs, they would say that all men under the age of 35 are their targets, or they say women in general. But this kind of attitude is acceptable after the company has grown; in the beginning one should be very precise. Let me give you two examples to set your target audience.
First example Redbus, which is now an international company. This company didn’t take big step in its initial stage. Its main target in initial stage was IT workers from Bangalore to Chennai. They will visit the Bangalore IT companies on Wednesday and talk about their company and the services they offer. Initially they focused only on people on the same route.
Next instance is Tender Cuts, everybody knows about the company. It is a company that sells meat. In initial stage their pamphlet will be delivered at the church gate in Chennai at 11am on Sunday. The phamplet says, “Its 11 now. It is too late to buy meat and go home. So order from us and we deliver fresh meat at your door step”.
“So finally, be cautious and know who the customer is, your idea alone cannot lead you, look after the habits of the customers” on that note Issac moved to explain why they sold the company.
Following this was a Panel with Nivas Ravichandran of Freshworks. He spoke about how in the initial days, freshworks captured its audience. Their marketing strategy focused more on the international markets as the price seemed competitive for them than India.
After this was an interesting fire side chat between Honey Bengani Balachandar, Business Head, TN- YourStory and Vaibav Kumaravel – Co-founder, The Red Box.
Q – 1 to 10 kiosks in 1 year. How did you do this?
A - We initially started with a fine dining restaurant called Chinese story. We experimented, tried and understood the flavors that people like. The Red Box is typically a takeaway point where our packaging ensures that you don’t need to hunt for any cutlery or require any heating. Our boxes are sourced from China. The food remains hot for some time and people can have it on the go. That helped us to stand out. Also what we have observed is that the second most selling cuisine is Indo – Chinese. So it worked that way.
Q- Did you spend lots on advertising? The Red Box is barely 3 years old and many seem to be knowing it
A - “We have set up kiosks in most visible places and popularized the brand name. It easily helped us to reach among the public. Apart from that we didn’t spend much on marketing”, Vaibhav said.
Finally, there was a workshop by Robin Moses, founder of Reach Accountant
Robin shared case studies and strategies that can help businesses grow exponentially. "Founders should be making opportunities to get customers for their business in particular. That should be their main role. The team should look at other functions of the company, such as marketing and sales. This will help in expansion” says Robin