Ty Morse is the CEO of Songwhale, an interactive technology company focusing on enterprise SMS solutions and Direct Response campaigns, both domestic and international. Since the company's 2007 launch, Ty has grown Songwhale from 2 people to over 100. A two time Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, Ty has been featured in the NY Times, Wired, NPR, PBS, and Discovery Channel and published in Forbes, the NY Report, and Geek.
So often in business, we try to move forward and look for what's going to put us ahead of the competition. Sometimes that means that we overlook the value of the discoveries we've made along the way. One of the best ways to grow your business may be to take something that you've already created and add a new side endeavor by focusing on a singular piece of the larger product or service.
Use Customer Reviews to Decide What to Build Next
For example, at Songwhale, we have spent almost a decade developing intricate SMS solutions for brands around the country. Our platforms included multiple SMS features like Friend Forwarding, Direct Response Marketing and Keyword Text-In. Each of these features is linked to a central system. We presented the entire package, including the development of creative campaigns, to customers for all their marketing needs. As a result of our broad system offerings and extensive reach, our clients were primarily national or multi-state brands, which worked really well. However, we often had conversations with smaller, local businesses that wanted to take advantage but found the cost to be out-of-reach.
The tipping point for us came in the form of a discussion with a local restauranteur. After seeing our campaign for a national pizza chain, the owner of single pizza shop in Pittsburgh got in touch with us to find out how he could use our services. He was really excited about our ideas for how he could use our platform to grow his business. When we got to the pricing, however, his enthusiasm took a clear nosedive; his response was, "I'd love to use your service, but I can't pay that much." As a result, we started imagining how we could streamline our service to make it more cost effective for smaller businesses.
Scale Back to Create Another Product
We talked at length with the pizza shop owner about what exactly he needed and realized that if we stripped out some of the features in the technology we had built, we could provide what he was looking for as a self-service platform. Since we had already designed a text messaging platform with multiple features, we leveraged that technology to create a new brand that offered similar features at a lower price point. The result became our feature called Cheapest Texting.
As this experience demonstrates, we were able to take a larger product and scale back to create a new brand for smaller, more hands-on clients. We didn't have to make a huge investment in a new product or come up with a new and exciting idea -- what was new and exciting was streamlining our product to make it meet more marketers' needs, especially at the local level.
Look at your business and the frameworks you have already created: ask yourself if there is a part of your product or service that you can scale back to connect with a larger base market or a side group. Find out if there are any assets you already have that you can use in a new way to create greater revenue. Streamline, focus and strip away excess in order to create something not necessarily new, but more accessible to potential customers beyond your target market. You'll be able to create new brands for your business using models you already have.