Taking a good product and ramping it up fast to then give it a sustainable future.
As an example, I took a good product and had it distributed in 1,500 pharmacies in Australia in just 3 years with revenue of $1m per month. Another example, I opened two appointment only salons in Feb 2012 and in less than 12 months have them each doing $500k a year with consistent repeat business and very little marketing dollars to keep it at this point. In hair salon terms, for an off-high st salon, this is pretty good going.
In all three cases, what I had was a good product. If you have an average product, it doesn't matter how good a marketing team you have, sooner or later, people will realise that your offering isn't that great.
But it wasn't the product that enabled me to get to there. A good product gave me something to build longevity in a business and give clients a reason to come back. The product built the goodwill. However, we unfortunately don't live in an age of "build it and they shall come".
So here's the ingredients to ramping up a business: Reduce the risk as much as you can financially. By risk I mean the switching cost, financial risk, perceived cost, social cost.
When I dealt with pharmacies, my sales pitch was "I'm advertising it on national TV and if you don't sell it in 180days, I'll take it back". I knew pharmacies were sold on where it was being advertised and if they could have a "sale or return" on the product. Of 5,000 pharmacies in Australia, I sold to 30%. I only sold to franchised pharmacies of which there were 2,500 so my penetration was 60%. Not bad for someone not from the industry, with a product never seen before in the industry and a company with zero credibility in pharmacies.
The same with hair salons. When I opened my first 2 salons from scratch, I had only been in the industry 6months, had never opened a salon before, so what I did was to find the right people who I want as clients. Then what I did was offered them a voucher to come and try. It might be a $20 voucher, $50 voucher, half price voucher or even free haircuts. Anything to get them to try us out and experience what our product is.
The key is to get the right customers though. The pharmacies we sold to were professional, organised and part of a marketing and buying group. For the salons, the people we try to attract are the ones that we want to have as clients, and we know that if we get them in to experience us, the majority will be back.
So, assuming you have a good product, what can you do to ramp up your business and get more of the great clients in whilst avoiding the ones you don't want?