BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

A solopreneur’s mini-guide to growing product acceptance and business success

There are lots of creators out there making art, products and designing services for users they believe are in dire need of it. The challenge is that these products meet users in a world full of noise.

How does a solopreneur get the world to listen to their story or pay attention to their product enough to give it a try?

This article is written to address a widespread challenge of single founders and super lean founding teams who have worked hard (sometimes for years) to build a product they are proud of but are confronted with some constraints when it comes to introducing said products to the market and scaling.

Solopreneurs and lean teams face challenges such as a lack of resources, and time, among other things, in their pursuit of product success and business growth. To move forward, it is necessary to keep things simple, clear, and actionable so that the limited resources available are used and leveraged to achieve success.

First, begin with community:

When it comes to building quality products and finding user-product fit, the phrase “If you build it, they will come” can be a little misleading. The truth is that if you build a great product, it is important to help your users in finding it and making them happy to use it.

So the question becomes, how will you bring these potential users together to form a community? There are several approaches, but my personal favourite is to start with your story and take them on a journey of growth as you build brick by brick.

Utilise your owned channels to share this. People are more likely to become invested in the success of a product when they see a need for it, feel like they are a part of its growth story, and see you work with their feedback. This is a straightforward and effective method of fostering community.

Next, grow that community:

Your community is made up of a good mix of people who are drawn to your personal story as well as people who are drawn to the solution you are building and will buy what you are selling.

You probably don’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing, so you should consider implementing referral programmes or creating community engagement activities that entice people to bring others in who fit the product’s target audience, as well as creating engaging content that excites your community. These are effective ways to grow your community.

Read also: Uzoamaka Igweike: Entrepreneur changing the Nigeria’s chocolate narrative

Reward that community:

Recognition, bonuses, and other incentives that are well thought out, personal, and relevant to your early users are examples of rewards. It is critical to be as open and honest with your users as possible because these are the people who have a role to play in the success of your entire operation.

Design rewards that are based on engagement and connection. The more meaningful the reward, the stronger the connection to the company, product, and founder.

Tell your users story:

Selling with your story can only take you so far before you are grouped among the many companies offering “the best in the market.”

Testimonials show potential customers that your product has been used and is well-liked by others. As it addresses key objections, it has a way of making people warm up to your product.

What method do you use to obtain testimonials? Look at tools like Google form, typeform or survey monkey to collect feedback seamlessly.

Often times, users are rarely moved to send testimonials or feedback unless they are prompted to do so. So, prompt them. Ask for feedback on your product and ask permission to share positive reviews on your other channels.

Make your copy exciting as well so they are really interested to respond.
If your users are unresponsive to providing you with a testimonial, you can be creative in getting them to respond and find ways to encourage their participation, such as offering a bonus, a discount, or anything else they are likely to gain.

Measure and Iterate:

To ensure maximum efficiency, all marketing efforts should be measured. Digital analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Mixpanel are excellent for measuring digital efforts on your website, social media, blog, videos ads, and so on.

To ensure a more accurate comparison of values, it is also necessary to have multiple sources of data for different activities.

The aim of measurement is to collect enough data to know what to stop doing and what to double down on.

It is also important to note that you can only grow organically for so long; as you measure and scale, and revenue begins to flow in, you should consider investing in full-on paid marketing and growth initiatives to market and grow your brand.

Continually set goals for the next level and for scaling your entire operations:

Staying small may eventually not serve you and the market for which you are building for. As a result, it is critical to project what the next level of growth will look like at each stage of your journey. This allows you to have a clear vision of what you’re creating and a ready response when speaking with potential partners, customers, and users. It not only inspires confidence, but it also increases the likelihood of winning them over.

Never stop selling and never stop building:

The possibilities of a business extend beyond any single product, and the possibilities of a product are limited only by the imagination and creativity of those who create it. It is important to keep telling your business story and allowing for feedback so that you can build for actual users.

The more you tell about the product and its user successes, the more you inspire people to think creatively about how to use your product.
More businesses are required for the world to survive and thrive. Most of these businesses start with small teams and few resources. It is my hope that these pointers will help guide the building decisions of solopreneur founders and teams working on the next big thing.

Adedayo, a fintech marketing expert, writes from Lagos

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