How I overcame lack of growth by hyper-focusing on my strengths
Have you ever had that nightmare where you were trying to run but your stride was as if you were wading in a pool of thick molasses? That same feeling of almost incapable movement overtook me as I tried growing my tie slimming start-up, SKINNYFATTIES. Sales weren’t really going anywhere, so I kept trying to push new initiatives like designing our own line of ties, making custom neckwear, and even offer other men’s lifestyle products. I couldn’t get anything off the ground to move my business forward. It was as if I had some sort of forcefield paralyzing our growth. I was at a loss on what to do in this long frustrating state of going nowhere.
After sifting through three years of data, I discovered compelling information: Since conception in 2012, SKINNYFATTIES has saved our customers over $400,000 in new neckwear. We’ve hand-tailored for nearly 1,000 customers in over 12 countries. This valuable information led me back to the drawing board where I hyper-focused on our tie slimming service.
I stopped and listened to our customers, then analyzed every step of the ordering process from start to finish. I reevaluated areas like how we are messaging the service, who our target demographic is, what emails the customers receive after placing an order, and branding consistency. The results of what I found led to crucial internal and customer-facing changes that would systematically decrease our costs and increase volume.
I enhanced the service by redesigning the website, auto-emailing customers pre-paid shipping labels, designing an epic unboxing experience, and offering faster insured shipping — all while lowering our prices and cutting our turnaround time in half. With all of this in place, I reached out to the press outlets that our target demographic reads most and within a month’s time, we had features in CNET, Business Insider, and Fortune Magazine.
Without taking on a new product or service offering, we hit our most profitable month in SKINNYFATTIES history — and all I did was step back. Before I headed down this path of bettering our existing service, the old phrase, “Focus on your strengths” meant nothing to me. I’ve learned to translate that old phrase into, “Capitalize on what you do well, and the rest will follow.” I finally feel ready to grow and nothing will keep me from running fast.