5 Reply-Proven Methods To Scale Your Startup
Wondering how to scale your startup?
Here are 5 methods tested and proven by the Reply team on our way to growth. Feel free to share, use, comment and adjust these different strategies to your business niche.
The “Good Bizarro” Method
This one definitely requires some major changes and work to be done but in the end you get something really unique and special. I call it “Good Bizarro” because it doesn’t have to be your product’s evil twin.
Treat this like your soon-to-be best friend.
How would you create the Good Bizarro?
When it comes to products or services for a certain market segment, there is no way you can be a jack of all trades – at least, at the start.
Still, everyone loves to get something designed specifically for them.
This may involve development of a new service, a deal-breaking feature or migrating to another technology.
E.g. NetPeak SEO agency considered a major change and added an SEO tool to the service-based part of their business and now markets it both among current agency customers and totally new leads that come and stay for the tool.
When we launched the Reply beta
– gosh, that was almost 2 years ago! –
our product roadmap didn’t even include a call automation feature. Now, we are adding prospect sourcing functionality to our new version that could also be used on its own. It’s feels like a natural evolution of what we started to build in 2014 and a whole new product at the same time.
The “Little Brother” Method
If you consider the Bizarro way to be too time-consuming, there’s a smaller step you can take (that is still very efficient as well).
Bring up the little brother of your source product – simply pick and feature or think of a new one that would be a perfect complement for your “Big Brother” – and make it free.
Take it as a means, not an aim – this tactic will help you attract quality traffic and scale your market presence.
The idea is not to create a direct competitor to your main product, but to use its feature (or the one that would be relevant to it) as a tool for marketing.
And we did.
A year ago we built Name2Email, a free tool for determining B2B prospects’ email patterns.
The next thing I remember – it gets featured on ProductHunt and drives tons of relevant traffic to our main website via the “Made by Reply” link.
Not only did it convert leads for us, it also let us get Reply featured on PH in terms of the B2B background we built by launching a free tool that our target audience needed. After that we also built a Chrome Extension and Remindly.io – both free tools for community engagement.
The “Bridge” Method
Since I mentioned a Chrome Extension, I cannot help going into more detail in regards to this magic opportunity box.
I’m talking about plugins, add-ons, extensions, integrations and APIs that can become your bridge to different markets.
Just think of it.
Ask them to cover this update on their blog or social media accounts.
All of this generates countless scaling and numerous combination patterns for your product with someone else’s tool or service or in terms of a different platform/technology/etc.
End the process with an API cherry on top –
It will ultimately let you outsource plugins/integrations development to other popular services that would add more customers to your list.
The “Patient Zero” Method
This one might seem a bit controversial, but it’s definitely one of the easiest ways ever to start your expansion to other markets.
The fact is, it has begun without you knowing.
The only thing you need to do now is to find your patient zero (and a couple more) that represent that new niche you’re aiming for.
If your startup is at least 7 months old, you’re almost 100% likely to have acquired customers that don’t match your customer profile in terms of company industry, field, client’s role etc. but demonstrate enough in common for a start point to a new market segment buyer persona.
Treat it as if it were a market segment/customer pain pivot (only without a pivot in the first place)
Here, at Reply, we initially built our tool as a platform for sales communication.
Nevertheless, after several months since beta we found several HR and Recruitment companies using it to perfectly solve their problems such as candidates follow up automation and per-vacancy campaign analytics.
As we grow, we find more market segments that feel the need for a tool like ours and I’m sure we’re not even close to the end of this list.
The “Conquer New Lands” Method
Well, not that literally, but still :)
Except for mining new target audience groups by company industry, title, seniority level, or job role you can also pick another option – change and/or expand your location criteria to a reasonable extent.
Still, it should be more than simply switching from US & Canada to UK & Australia or vice versa – because your competitors would already have done it.
Use the famous tip by Robert Frost as for “the road not taken” by 25%-40%: the market should be deserted if you don’t plan to launch a major demand generation campaign first, but it shouldn’t also be overcrowded.
At Reply, we were lucky enough to quickly spot the countries that weren’t a priority for our competitors when we were just starting: we still have significant share of customers from Northern & Central Europe, New Zealand and Brazil (surprise!) :)
Feel free to share your ways to scale your business in the comments!