Some people exemplify the Nike motto of “just do it.” Others take so long to plan and prepare for anything that they truly need to take to heart the advice, “at some point, you need to stop planning and start doing.” Most people, of course, aren’t so extreme as to be one or the other, but rest somewhere in the middle.
How does this apply to growing a website or a business? Some people develop and launch a site in a matter of days, even a matter of hours. With the right knowledge and the right tools, you can create and upload a site in an incredible amount of time. It won’t be tested, it won’t be researched, it won’t be full of content ready to go, but it will exist, and that’s something
Other people, on the other hand, will spend weeks or months with competitive research and iterative design. They’ll go through three total website revisions before a file even sees web hosting.
Neither method is the right one. Some companies launch in both manners, and while some experience a meteoric rise, others crash and burn or bumble along.
Examples of Explosive Growth
- Uber, the individual taxi service, gained incredible growth in part through adapting to current events. The company provided rides free or at a discount to people in need during crises, including a strike by Boston school buses and a massive power failure in that same city. Their convenience, plus their niche, led to 18% monthly growth. Of course, their global prevalence now has led them to be the center of quite a bit of controversy, but that’s another story.
- Feedly, a premier RSS reader, took advantage of Google killing off their RSS reader by promoting easy migration and tripled their user numbers in a matter of days.
- Pinterest combined the unique aspects of online crafting and “mom” culture with social media and brewed up a storm, growing by 40 times in six months after launch… but of course, the site spent half a decade in planning before launch.
- ROGETECH, an IT company working with barcodes and tablets, started with nothing and had a meager 77 visitors in their first month. Through constant blogging, they had nearly 700 by the second month, and over 3,400 by the fourth month. Smart blogging fueled incredible growth.
Not only is explosive growth possible, it’s possible in any industry, for any business. It just takes the right combination of timing, preparation, opportunity, change, luck and capital.
Tips to Fuel Fast Growth
So, you want to make your business as growth-ready as possible, so when you launch your website, you can expand immediately. How can you lay the groundwork, build the habits and set everything up for success?
- Build a strong foundation quickly. Get your site from concept to launch-ready product as quickly as possible. This gives you as much time as you need to launch if an opportunity comes up, but still gives you the ability to take time and perform research or refine your platform before the deadline. You don’t want to miss the perfect opportunity because you spent so much time on navigation that you forgot to code a backend.
- Be prepared to launch early if an opportunity arises. Like Feedly, you never know when the industry is going to be shaken by a massive announcement. It’s your job to capitalize on that news, if at all possible. This is why you need to be launch-ready as quickly as possible; so you’re poised to take advantage of an opening if one arises.
- Be a brand, own your brand. Branding yourself properly requires a lot of work, but rebranding later is even worse, at the expense of lost profits and user confusion. Think about what your brand means. Are you casual, professional, quirky, somewhere in between? Are you portraying quality above all else, or are you emphasizing your deals? The right atmosphere is worth the time it takes to brainstorm the perfect branding.
- Offer something unique within your industry. Uber is a unique method of connecting people who need rides with people who can provide those rides. Pinterest brings social media to a new audience and proves that audience is just as interested as everyone else, when the network is presented properly. You need to find your unique selling point and push it hard. Finding the demand, providing that demand with a product and proving yourself to be reliable will cycle your growth.
- Think about attracting new audiences. Where might you be able to partner up with someone to get yourself exposure, even if it’s not what you might typically call the ideal audience? Uniqlo partners with the museum of modern art to provide people free admission, and in doing so becomes a trending topic every week. They aren’t related brands, but the crossover is worth the investment on the part of the clothing company. What partnerships can you forge to ride on the coattails of your partners?
- Blog, blog, blog. Organic search is a neverending wellspring of traffic, if you can tap it. Posting a significant volume of content can ramp up your growth simply through exposure. You can also go the Buffer route and post hundreds of unique, high quality guest blogs throughout your industry, to gain name exposure before your site even hits the foreground.
- Build a community of activists. It’s all well and good to gather up hundreds of thousands of readers, but the people you’re really looking for are the activists, the advocates, the people who will go out on their own time and promote you just because they like your brand. Find and foster relationships with these people; assist them on their way and they will assist you.
- Launch on a limited basis. Evernote, Gmail, Ello; these sites all start with one thing in common. They all began on an invite-only basis, and through a restricted registration, they leaped into popularity. Even though invites were rarely actually hard to come by, the perception of scarcity made their launch all the more successful.
Even putting a few of these ideas to work will get you growth. Unfortunately, the purely explosive growth that puts you on a global stage a year after launch requires more luck than skill. Just figure it’s light lightning; you can’t make it strike, but you can head outside and stand by the flagpole.
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