In our interview with founders for our popular Founder Stories series, we regularly ask founders about their journey and early days.
One common question is about effective growth strategies these companies use in their early days.
A common answer, from founders building companies in a wide-ranging of verticals, is that they use a combination of superior products and excellent customer service to build the initial happy customer base and then use it as a flywheel for growth.
In this collection, we feature answers from three founders. Nazmul Arefin Momel is the Co-founder and CEO of ToguMogu. Tahir Hasan Riddha is the Co-founder and CEO of ROOTS Edu. And Mizanur Rahman is the Co-founder of Dorik. Three of them have built excellent businesses and found growth early on.
Future Startup: What were some of the things that worked, strategically, in the early days that helped you to grow the business and become sustainable?
Nazmul Arefin Momel, Co-founder and CEO, ToguMogu: Making the lives of parents easier was our primary focus. All of our planning and strategy was geared toward that goal. In the early days, this customer-centric strategy helped us build trust. We delivered baby products directly to the hospital after receiving calls from customers.
Many customers read our during pregnancy and take our services after birth. We make sure that customers feel the care every time they interact with us. It helps build trust.
There are many examples where we have gone the extra mile for our customers. We have intentionally designed our business this way from day one.
When creating content, we try to create the best content. When we source products, we source from the best suppliers. We ensure we don’t sell any harmful products.
We advise parents to choose the right products and services, which has helped us gain customer trust in the early days.
We kept the operation lean. We always tried to utilize our skills to run the operation, which initially saved us a lot of money.
Furthermore, we maintained a low or no-stock model and a good relationship with suppliers to deliver products directly from their warehouse, which helped us save a lot of operational expenses. We still operate in this model to remain sustainable.
Tahir Hasan Riddha, Co-founder and CEO, ROOTS Edu: Building businesses in the education sector remains taboo in Bangladesh. Everyone thinks that education should be free and online educational content creators should provide quality content totally free. But practically this is not a sustainable model and contains many loopholes.
We created a freemium business model. Recorded quality lectures and offered them for free on our app, Facebook, and YouTube channel. We then created a paid ROOTs Plus Subscription service where we offer live classes, doubt solving, exams, performance analytics, structured and distraction-free courses.
We made the subscription service simple for students with the tagline ‘Single Subscription Unlock All’. Where other edtech platforms sell courses, we sell time. Just like Netflix.
In a single subscription, a student can access multiple courses from multiple teachers and of multiple subjects. Students don’t have to pay for subject/topic/teacher-wise courses. Students choose what he/she wants to learn, from whom he/she wants to learn, in which batch he/she wants to join.
This model solves three major problems of online learning at a time. Students loved it so much that they called our app ‘ROOTFlix’.
Mizanur Rahman, Co-founder, Dorik: We fully focused on improving the product and customer support.
Shipping the features and going the extra mile with customer support helped us a lot in the early days.
Doing more as a solution to slow growth problems is often tempting. But doing more does not solve anything. It complicates things. Instead doing a few things well is often the solution to most of our challenges.
Building a great product is one such thing early-stage startups should pay attention to. There is nothing more important than building a product customers love. It is the only shortcut to growth and success.
Building a great product, however, is not easy. It is not one task. It is the result of doing a long list of unglamorous things right. It takes diligence and focus. But if you want to build a successful business, it is worth doing.
Customer support is another boring job that many startups often overlook for other more glamorous things such as PR, public stunts, and so on. Customer support means being available to your customers whenever they need it. Keeping the commitment you make to your customers. Going the extra mile for your customers.
As ToguMogu CEO Mr. Nazmul says, making sure that your customers feel the care you feel for them.
Once customers come to learn you care for them, they begin to trust you. When they trust you, they will not come back for your products, they will tell other people. That’s how businesses are built. One happy customer at a time.
Great businesses are not complex in the description. It is a lot of work, for sure. It is of course about diligence and sacrifice, dedication and focus. But all the hard work is directed toward building great products and serving the customers best. Great businesses are that simple.