7 months ago
How I grew my business to a $5 million annual recurring revenue
Scaling your startup requires answering customer demands, not growth tricks.
I cofounded Freedo Rentals in 2019. I reached 50 lakh+ ARR in 6 months before quitting owing to the epidemic.
Freedo aimed to solve 2 customer pain points:
Users lacked a reliable last-mile transportation option.
The amount that Auto walas charge for unmetered services
Build ports at high-demand spots (colleges, residential societies, metros). Electric ride-sharing can meet demand.
We had many problems scaling. I'll explain using the AARRR model.
Brand unfamiliarity or a novel product offering were the problems with awareness. Nobody knew what Freedo was or what it did.
Problem with awareness: Content and advertisements did a poor job of communicating the task at hand. The advertisements clashed with the white-collar part because they were too cheesy.
Retention Issue: We encountered issues, indicating that the product was insufficient. Problems with keyless entry, creating bills, stealing helmets, etc.
Retention/Revenue Issue: Costly compared to established rivals. Shared cars were 1/3 of our cost.
Referral Issue: Missing the opportunity to seize the AHA moment. After the ride, nobody remembered us.
Once you know where you're struggling with AARRR, iterative solutions are usually best.
Once you have nailed the AARRR model, most startups use paid channels to scale. This dependence, on paid channels, increases with scale unless you crack your organic/inbound game.
Over-index growth loops. Growth loops increase inflow and customers as you scale.
When considering growth, ask yourself:
Who is the solution's ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)? (To whom are you selling)
What are the most important messages I should convey to customers? (This is an A/B test.)
Which marketing channels ought I prioritize? (Conduct analysis based on the startup's maturity/stage.)
Choose the important metrics to monitor for your AARRR funnel (not all metrics are equal)
Identify the Flywheel effect's growth loops (inertia matters)
My biggest mistakes:
not paying attention to consumer comments or satisfaction. It is the main cause of problems with referrals, retention, and acquisition for startups. Beyond your NPS, you should consider second-order consequences.
The tasks at hand should be quite clear.
Here's my scaling equation:
Growth = A x B x C
A = Funnel top (Traffic)
B = Product Valuation (Solving a real pain point)
C = Aha! (Emotional response)
Freedo's A, B, and C created a unique offering.
A — Working or Studying population in NCR
B — Electric Vehicles provide last-mile mobility as a clean and affordable solution
C — One click booking with a no-noise scooter
FWe scaled Freedo to Rs. 50 lakh MRR and were growing 60% month on month till the pandemic ceased our growth story.
How we did it?
We tried ambassadors and coupons. WhatsApp was our most successful A/B test.
We grew widespread adoption through college and society WhatsApp groups. We requested users for referrals in community groups.
What worked for us won't work for others. This scale underwent many revisions.
Every firm is different, thus you must know your customers. Needs to determine which channel to prioritize and when.
Users desired a safe, time-bound means to get there.
This (not mine) growth framework helped me a lot. You should follow suit.
8 months ago
Growth tactics that grew businesses from 1 to 100
Everyone wants a scalable startup.
Innovation helps launch a startup. The secret to a scalable business is growth trials (from 1 to 100).
Growth marketing combines marketing and product development for long-term growth.
Today, I'll explain growth hacking strategies popular startups used to scale.
1/ A Facebook user's social value is proportional to their friends.
Facebook built its user base using content marketing and paid ads. Mark and his investors feared in 2007 when Facebook's growth stalled at 90 million users.
Chamath Palihapitiya was brought in by Mark.
The team tested SEO keywords and MAU chasing. The growth team introduced “people you may know”
This feature reunited long-lost friends and family. Casual users became power users as the retention curve flattened.
Growth Hack Insights: With social network effect the value of your product or platform increases exponentially if you have users you know or can relate with.
2/ Airbnb - Focus on your value propositions
Airbnb nearly failed in 2009. The company's weekly revenue was $200 and they had less than 2 months of runway.
Enter Paul Graham. The team noticed a pattern in 40 listings. Their website's property photos sucked.
Because these photos were taken with regular smartphones. Users didn't like the first impression.
Graham suggested traveling to New York to rent a camera, meet with property owners, and replace amateur photos with high-resolution ones.
A week later, the team's weekly revenue doubled to $400, indicating they were on track.
Growth Hack Insights: When selling an “online experience” ensure that your value proposition is aesthetic enough for users to enjoy being associated with them.
3/ Zomato - A company's smartphone push ensured growth.
Zomato delivers food. User retention was a challenge for the founders. Indian food customers are notorious for switching brands at the drop of a hat.
Zomato wanted users to order food online and repeat orders throughout the week.
Zomato created an attractive website with “near me” keywords for SEO indexing.
Zomato gambled to increase repeat orders. They only allowed mobile app food orders.
Zomato thought mobile apps were stickier. Product innovations in search/discovery/ordering or marketing campaigns like discounts/in-app notifications/nudges can improve user experience.
Zomato went public in 2021 after users kept ordering food online.
Growth Hack Insights: To improve user retention try to build platforms that build user stickiness. Your product and marketing team will do the rest for them.
4/ Hotmail - Signaling helps build premium users.
Ever sent or received an email or tweet with a sign — sent from iPhone?
Hotmail did it first! One investor suggested Hotmail add a signature to every email.
Overnight, thousands joined the company. Six months later, the company had 1 million users.
When serving an existing customer, improve their social standing. Signaling keeps the top 1%.
5/ Dropbox - Respect loyal customers
Dropbox is a company that puts people over profits. The company prioritized existing users.
Dropbox rewarded loyal users by offering 250 MB of free storage to anyone who referred a friend. The referral hack helped Dropbox get millions of downloads in its first few months.
Growth Hack Insights: Think of ways to improve the social positioning of your end-user when you are serving an existing customer. Signaling goes a long way in attracting the top 1% to stay.
These experiments weren’t hacks. Hundreds of failed experiments and user research drove these experiments. Scaling up experiments is difficult.
Contact me if you want to grow your startup's user base.