Listening and speaking to almost 400 founders will teach you a thing or two about what works and what doesn't. There's definitely clear patterns and commonalities between founders who succeed and those that don't do so well. Here they are, summarised for you - so you don't need to go through 100s of hours of research to understand what makes a successful business tick
Over 70% of founders credited SEO for being their best source of growth. Invest into ASAP and build up that MOAT. This is categorically the most common and the most pivotal strategy in growing and building a successful business. Having a predictable and recurring traffic engine that brings customers to your website at different levels
Lucky for you, I have the right fix - the SEO MBA is a fantastic way to upskill yourself in SEO in one day, in addition to that, I would latch onto backlinko's entire SEO strategy, you will master this skill very soon
FB / Social Media
Its a hit or miss. Don't waste time curating the perfect Ad or post. Tim Doyle of eucalyptus shared that his most profitable Ad was not some high quality video but rather a Doge meme. This can be said about many things performance advertising, you need to keep your eyes on the data like a hawk, analyse what works and what doesn't. Don't hold onto a loser because it's not going to do you or your team any good, and yes there is a big difference between a losing ad creative and one that is collecting data - be cautious of this. There are many examples of authentic videos in low ad quality doing much better than high quality ads.
The most recent example I can share is with Nura headphones where the company launched a very expensive high budget ad that did nothing for them. They then reversed the ad strategy and ran some reaction videos of people trying out the product and experiencing the aha moment, which drove ridiculous sales
The full value of the product needs to be shown in the first 2-3 seconds max in an FB ad. In addition the use of videos really help because you can block up the videos and cut and copy different flows to see what works best for you
Velocity is everything
When building companies you NEED to move fast, there is no alternative to it. The easiest way to do is to create and set your end goals. This is controversial but starting with the end in sight lets you know what you need to work towards, rarely is the path ever what you imagined it to be, but having a goal to work towards leaves emotions about and makes it a numbers game. Sunken cost fallacy is a big reason for founder depression, bankruptcy and more. If you depend on numbers, then emotion becomes irrelevant
Product led growth is the BEST type, its natural and doesn't feel forced. I'm talking about products like remoteworkly, loom, frill, paperform where every new customer inevitably is advertising your product for you. This is the easiest way for customer acquisition, SEO backlink authority as well as a natural network effect. Customers will come to your product trying it before even signing up, putting you in the best posiition for conversion
This is probably just as much if not more important than the content or product itself. Build with distribution in mind. If you're a maker, developer you're natural instinct is to build, but don't, trust me - don't. Work out your distribution strategy, this is covered in good detail by the founder of Wavve and Zubtitle, both > $1M ARR businesses. he mentioned figuring out the distribution channel being the main reason for success.
This can be anything, podcasts, newsletters, content, SEO, paid ads, influencers. Eitherway you need to work out your distribution as soon as possible and press on the channels that work for you.
Look into bullseye marketing as a process which covers this topic in similar fashion
NO ONE wants to use an MVP - stop using that mindset. Literally no one other than your Mum/Dad will use a "minimum" "viable" thing you build. Its 2020, the whole patchy product cycle doesn't exist.
Aim for Simple, Loveable and Complete (or what I call Minimal Product for Impact)
Introduce simple features that meet your north star and make sure they're complete
Learn to master this, its a great skillset to have in building a company and distributing content. Outbound sales process is very important especially in a B2B environment. You need to understand that there are layers to cold outreach, you can't expect a conversion from a cold email, you need to nurture them into a funnel and then eventually set up a phonecall for a demo or close the deal with them
Don't worry about plesantaries, you need to get to the point ASAP
Before you build a feature, literally build a simple landing page, run some Google Ads to it for lifetime deals (this doesn't work always, but for some apps). The premise of this point is to help you work out what people want and don't without coding. The default emotion is to build something, this usually leads to alot of code that people just won't interact with. If you don't have customers, run Google Ads, write blogs and share it in potential acquisition channel routes. This will give you easy and quick validation. If you do have a decent cohort - then reach out to them and work with them
Build every channel possible to communicate with your user as often as possible for as long as possible. Your customers are your source of revenue, growth and reputation. Create and build close channels with your customers, communicate with them as often as possible, and at scale where possible. This will help you understand exactly what they want and what they might never use
No Credit Card No Bueno
UNTIL someone gives you their Credit Card, you don't have validation. Do not take anything else as validation other than their Credit Card. There's not much more to this. People validate with their credit cards, be ruthless about this. If you feel like its impossible with an MVP that automatically means you're in a space where your customers expect a higher standard, so prepare for that journey through out your product, but yes - don't build without pre-sales.
You'll learn about website ad copy, the messaging that works and also pre-validate the features people want
Before you start, set a goal to hit, if you don't hit that goal, be quick to reflect. This is similar to the point I made above. Everything needs to be measured, don't be attached to a business beyond what it is. If its tough whilst you have momentum yes, push for it, but if you're struggling from day dot, then its worth analysing your growth skills. Then followed by analysing your product. Work out where you're failing and fix it. Whatever you do - do it fast and keep it in a timeframe
Last but the MOST important
Almost 90% of all the "Super successful" founders attributed having a previous built audience as their reason for success. They built this audience through, podcasts, blogs, Youtube, Tiktok or even Newsletters. Easiest way I've seen is through mini-pdf courses or paid pdfs. Either way learn to build an audience and a community for a topic around your business or something you're passionate about. Ideally you want to move them into an email newsletter the sooner the better, own the channel you want to communicate with vs depending on an algorithm to decide what you get to do with your own audience
You have a higher chance of succeeding with a shit product and a large audience than vice versa