I am the co-founder of a boutique software consulting firm in India. Previously I was the vice president of the technology division at Goldman Sachs, NYC from 2007 to 2014. We started 3 months back and in the last 2 to 3 months, we were able to validate our idea, grow from 2 co-founders to 25+ people team and secured 50K USD projects from elance & freelancer - we have not explored any other sources yet. We are looking to achieve 5M USD turn over by December 2016 - in next 18 months or so. I am looking for expert advice on what should be my strategy to achieve the 5M number. Thanks
So, you have validated your services, secured some clients and just beginning to build a brand around your team.
This is the focus you need to embrace – team.
The industry you have entered is extremely competitive and is more of a commodity than a business solution most of the times. In running your type of service, is very common to be traveling and introducing yourself to corporate clients. One option can simply be setting a retail structure around your services throughout the country with independent contractors selling for you. We have done this in the past and it has worked great!
You might not get a lot of interest and turnover is high, but when you find a motivated sales person you do what you need to keep them engaged, thus building your team. Dedicate support to these sales/street people and empower them with tools such as business cards, dedicate google emails. Etc. Waiting until the 2nd or 3rd sale to issue such tools to minimize costs.
As far as growth hacking goes, the term has been recently thrown around like is some magic trick to get tons of clients. In reality, GH is a methodical trial and error approach to marketing. We create ads, curate websites content, run A/B tests for websites, landing pages, conversion pages, give out freebies, hyper-target social media profiles through mining of hashtags and trends, running more A/B test from the A version of a prior A/B test thus segmenting even further and hopefully improving conversion of leads or sales much faster.
With that said, you have some options:
1. Have dedicated segmented time either by day or hour for sharing thoughts, ideas, lessons or tips with other developers online through clarity, quora, etc.
2. Assuming you create a clarity ‘expert’ account, for every lead you get in the phone provide them with a clarity call link to add ‘calls’ to your expert profile, thus helping you nurture that expert level and when other come across your profile and see that you’re an expert in web and cloud solutions with a lot of calls their chances of giving you their gig will be higher. Give them a discounted link for free calling. I don’t have that many calls here but from the times that I’ve mentioned web design or growth hacking I get leads and projects often. (Note: as expert stick to what you know, I’m surprised to see just how many people are here as experts diluting the real value of information and insight some have to offer in certain areas). This place is a place for clear advice not opinions.
3. Target social media accounts – each social media has its purpose, unwritten rules and expectations; leverage these 3 and target users who could be leads for work in the future, have dedicate landing/conversion pages for each profile and social media.
4. Conversion pages are not websites, they have one single simple purpose such as getting email leads, getting users to download an ebook, sign up for a trial, watch a video, make a social share, etc. for this the content has to be directly targeted to the audience you are sending there, using their preferred vocabulary and imagery.
5. Use tools such as Sumome.com to find out what your visitors are doing while visiting your site.
6. Use paywithatweet.com to have people literally pay for a low cost feature service you can offer for ‘free’ to a client when bundled with something else or as standalone such as an ebook or newsletter signup.. the cool thing about pay with a tweet is that users can pay with several social actions not just twitter.
7. Have your current 25+ contractors/employees spend part of their day or week sharing tips and making connections on their social profiles and have linkedin profiles.
8. Each time to make a linkedin connection send an intro message customized to their interests & don’t forget to ask if you can be of any assistance in your field and or making introductions to someone in your network.
9. After creating a website or app or assisting a client with other cloud based services, help them promote it. This helps build your reputation for building other brands.
10. Share them on producthunt.com for others to review, you need invitation but is not that hard to find someone involved to give you an invite or post it themselves.
There are many more things you can do knowing what your immediate needs are, your current conversion rate, less barrier market, strength, and obviously resources. But I hope this gives you an idea of things you can do and how to do them.