Let's Build with Shegun Otulana

Unlocking Momentum: The Secret to Reaching A Tipping Point

Published 5 months ago • 3 min read

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

This summer, we launched a new product at Copysmith AI called Describely, and we’ve been reminding ourselves as a team that the journey of every product is a drip drip drip towards progress until you reach that growth tipping point. Thankfully, we are getting quick traction as we iterate and add users and customers. So, let’s discuss the process of getting to that point of accelerated growth through continuous improvement and experimentation.

What’s a tipping point? A tipping point is the point at which a series of small iterations, changes, and actions becomes significant enough that it causes a larger and more significant event to occur. At your tipping point, everything from new trials, new subscriptions, to customer upsells start generating positive results at an accelerated pace.

As the saying goes, a thousand-mile journey starts with a single step, hopefully in the right direction.

There is always the temptation to look for a silver bullet that magically catapults a company to stratospheric growth. Unfortunately, this is rare, and teams get disillusioned when trying one “magic” trick after another doesn’t lead to instant success.

Much like children, companies learn and grow through repeated actions. The secret to growth is relentless learning through experimentation and testing. You sit, crawl, walk, run. But with a company, you can shorten the time between each stage.

You need high output from a product and marketing engine properly tooled to produce insights to reach your tipping point. Growth happens as a team or founder executes a rigorous, data-driven process of capturing customer and market insights, making assumptions based on those insights, and performing experiments to test those assumptions.

The cumulative effect of these activities leads to your tipping point.

The key questions are “What did we do?” and “What have we learned, and how can we confirm our learnings?”

I’m an advocate for bootstrapping or prudent fundraising. However, one benefit of good funding is getting the right talent and repeating this action across multiple dimensions. Funding shrinks time to learn when deployed effectively. Funded companies have one clear advantage: the ability to build a team to experiment across multiple fronts simultaneously and to act on the insights rapidly.

Thankfully, you don’t need to raise a ton of money to reach a tipping point, although it may take a little longer. You will also need to be more disciplined about which risks and opportunities you address first to drive growth. That means focusing on two critical things: product and customer acquisition.

The first step is to start with a product informed by customer insights.

Product is vital. Without a great product, it’s hard to reach a tipping point. It doesn’t have to be the best product, but it has to do a task or sets of tasks very well, with a very short time to value for your target customer. Products with an initial narrow core focus done very well get to this point faster. Onboarding is easier, messaging is more precise and effective, and the ability to sell is accelerated. As the product evolves, the market, team intuition, and data can continue to guide you.

Second is customer acquisition – in essence, marketing and sales experimentation.

It’s hard to tell which marketing message will resonate right out of the gate or what is the most effective hook or offer for a target customer. The answer comes through systematically experimenting with multiple hooks, stories, and offers. For rapid learning, focus on one growth channel targeting your core customer. With products, you build and refine based on feedback. In marketing, you apply product insights to channel experiments and see what sticks. Patience is key; iterate before concluding a strategy's efficacy. Remember, marketing insights can take time. Give things time before saying something isn’t working.

Once you find what resonates, you want to act fast and increase your pace – whether that’s more ad spend, similar activities, content, etc. Many entrepreneurs – especially bootstrapped ones – err by not increasing their bet size on what’s resonating and remain stuck in endless piecemeal experimentation.

Yes, you want to keep experimenting with your channel or a new one, but when you find a successful channel, amplify your efforts until returns diminish, then adjust and iterate.

Growth hinges on two key factors: product momentum and customer acquisition momentum. Persistent iteration on these elements is the consistent force driving you to a pivotal moment, propelling the development of your growth engine.

Continuously iterating on these things are the drip drip drip that will bring you to the tipping point and allow you to continue to build out your growth engine.

Interested in working with me to execute to your tipping point? Learn more here.

Let's Build with Shegun Otulana

Helping you bootstrap to a billion.

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