Young entrepreneurs and seasoned business owners with limited funds might ask themselves:
What’s the fastest way to build a business?
This is a smart question because finding the right answer could mean the difference between smashing your sales goals and running out of money before your business can even build momentum.
The good news is there are plenty of ways for you to start your own company and grow it quickly.
Let’s take a look at unique business ideas from fast-growing companies across various industries to figure out how they’ve achieved such rapid success:
1. Ride a Growing Trend Like Loot Crate
Loot Crate is a private company that sends hundreds of thousands of monthly subscribers a box of collectibles such as licensed figures, T-shirts, and comic books.
The numbers don’t lie–
Launched in 2012, the company has experienced three-year growth of 66,789% to achieve $116.2 million in revenue in 2015.
Additionally, it ranks first on the 2016 Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Companies.
Loot Crate has achieved these goals in part by taking advantage of two cultural trends:
- the advent of monthly subscription boxes
- and the increasing popularity of geek culture
Loot Crate bootstrapped the business to keep costs down and has expanded its brand beyond the monthly subscription model to create longevity.
2. Know Your Demographic Like Simple
Online-only bank Simple has gotten rid of all the fees and confusion that consumers hate about other bank accounts.
Founded in 2009, fintech innovator Simple only offers one account type plus:
- A lightning fast online sign-up process
- Easy ways to set goals & and visually track spending
- Mobile apps for easy account management
- & Instant transfers for friends splitting restaurant tabs
Customers can search their transactions, add photos, notes, and hashtags to help keep track of purchases.
BBVA, a large Madrid-based bank, purchased Simple in 2014 for $117 million when it was a mere startup.
The company says it increased its customer base by about 120% from mid-2015 to mid-2016 while similar competitors grew by just 7%.
3. License Your Brand Like Paint Nite
Paint Nite caters primarily to 20- and 30-something women looking for a new spin on the ‘girls night out’–
Painting while enjoying a drink in a local bar, restaurant, or nightclub.
Since one of the company’s founders had a previous bad experience with trying to franchise a laundry and storage business he’d started in college, he decided to expand Paint Nite through a licensing model instead.
Now about 250 “creative entrepreneurs” around the country coordinate with local artists, who host the events.
Meanwhile, Paint Nite earns 30% of the price of each ticket sold through its website.
The “social art” experience is indeed popular…
This fast-growing business has about 200,000 customers per month and grew by 36,555% from 2012 – 2015, earning it the number 2 spot on the Inc. 5000 list.
4. Put The Customer First Like Zappos
Zappos started as an online shoe retailer, but soon morphed into a company whose primary goal was to provide excellent customer service.
The company become so successful so quickly that Amazon acquired it in 2009 for $1.2 billion.
Today, Zappos sells clothing, accessories, housewares, and beauty products in addition to shoes.
The company has a unique organizational structure where there are no managers; employees direct themselves.
Founded in 1999, the company has achieved tremendous growth:
- $8.6 million in sales in 2001
- $70 million in sales in 2003
- $1 billion in sales in 2008
- & Zappos now produces more than $2 billion in annual revenue.
As they say, the customer is always right!
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5. Control the Value Chain Like Thrive Farmers
Thrive Farmers gives coffee farmers greater ownership and increased revenue from their product.
Because they have a greater stake, farmers who work with Thrive are incentivized to produce high-quality coffee.
Coffee drinkers enjoy reasonably priced high-quality coffee from Thrive in coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery stores.
In 2016, Thrive was the fastest-growing middle-market company in Georgia.
It also ranked 19th on the Inc. 5000 list thanks to three-year growth of 8,577%, with 2015 revenues of $23.2 million.
6. Use Tech to Disrupt an Established Industry Like Warby Parker
How’s that for disruptive?
The company has gone on to mature into a $1.2 billion business over six years.
Customers get a free trial of five pairs of frames for five days.
Complete pairs including prescription lenses start at $95, a fraction of the usual price.
Warby Parker was founded on the premise that glasses were too expensive because a single company (Luxottica) dominated the market through a variety of brands including Foster Grant, LensCrafters, and Sunglass Hut.
Warby Parker has also used the strategy of cutting out the middleman to achieve success:
By designing and producing its own glasses, Warby Parker saves money that it passes on to customers.
Today, the company has brick-and-mortar retail stores in 20 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada in addition to its online store.
7. Solve an Old Problem in a New Way Like Globalization Partners
It used to take an organization 6 – 12 months to hire an employee from another country.
Now, thanks to Globalization Partners, it takes a mere three to five days.
Operating in more than 150 countries, Globalization Partners hires a company’s desired candidate, then becomes their legal employer of record and handles all labor law and tax matters related to that employee.
Businesses find this service so valuable that Globalization Partners earned $17.7 million in revenue in 2015, a 16,197% increase from three years earlier.
The company not only saves other businesses time and administrative headaches, it also saves them money and broadens the applicant pool, making it possible to hire the best-qualified people regardless of their nationality.
But how do I grow MY business faster?
If you’re still wondering how to grow your business faster, take a page out of these companies’ playbooks and apply it to your own business model.
You can achieve incredible growth if you can identify a way to disrupt an established industry, optimize the value chain, offer exceptional customer service, solve a longstanding problem, ride a growing trend, license a unique brand, or serve an underserved demographic.
The old way of doing things got you this far, but the fastest way to build a business these days is by finding a competitive advantage and building your business around that.
How to Grow a Business While Staying Grounded
There are many people interested in starting and running their own business. Anyone who is looking to grow a business will find that it is difficult to do so over a long period of time. One thing that many small business owners struggle with is staying grounded while also expanding financially.
Many small businesses start in a small town and then expand out over time. No business owner wants to lose his small-town roots in the process. Here are several tips for never losing your small-town roots as a small business owner.
There are more businesses giving back to their local community now than at any other time in history. If you are looking for ways to stay connected to your hometown, giving back to the area is a great way to do so. Not only will this increase your brand name recognition in the area, but this will also aid you in staying true to your roots.
And let’s not forget the tax benefits associated with charitable giving! Certain donations and charitable contributions can be deducted from your tax returns, but make sure you consult with an expert come tax season.
As a small business owner, it is vital to appreciate your customers every day. Going a step further and having an official ‘customer appreciation day’ with some kind of discount for previous customers can go a long way in showing people what your business truly cares about.
As a matter of fact, there are a lot of customers today who won’t buy from stores if they feel the business doesn’t care about them. Always think about the customer when you are in business, and make sure to show appreciation in a variety of different ways.
Growing your business is one of the most difficult things you can do over a long period of time. There are a lot of people who have been successful in doing this. Anyone who starts to expand their business needs to make sure they are still connected to their original customers and hometown. Showing genuine thanks on social media and email newsletters, for example is a great way to accomplish this.