How do start-ups grow? How do you get your first 100 customers? How do you reach your first 1000 customers? The ability to scale and reach new customers is critical to the success of any company. Besides having a great idea or a product, the real challenge is in reaching out to your potential customers and making them use your service instead of your competitors. In this series of articles, we will look at startups that have achieved phenomenal growth without spending too much on advertising.
The first company we will look at is Urban Spoon. Urban Spoon is the website you would go to find out more about local restaurants mainly in the US. They call themselves the world’s leading provider of time-critical dining data, and an all-around big player in the multi-billion dollar restaurant information industry. When they launched, there were big competitors like Yelp and OpenTable that were already dominating the industry online. Yet, in a few years they have become the number one restaurant review website, and their website gets around 28 million visits per month. What makes this even more remarkable is the fact that just 3 people founded the company, and they bootstrapped their own startup, until the company was acquired by IAC. There are probably many lessons we can learn from this company like having a great product that serves a need, or building a successful iPhone app to generate traffic, but I have noticed two critical strategies, which they implemented in the early stages that has played a big role in their success and where they are today.
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