Is it weird? After speaking to businesses and uncovering how they grew, I always come to the same few findings.

The secret is that there is no secret.

We just published an interview with Andrew Por, a law student who started Malaysia's #1 portable blender – HiBlendr from his dorm in the United Kingdom, growing to 40,000+ customers globally in 2 short years.

And again, as I spoke to Andrew, I began to see the same type of findings I've heard from other entrepreneurs.  

Here are 15 common findings:

  1. It's always the product. You can use clever marketing to pressure people into buying. But eventually, people have to love your product.
  2. Solve problems. Your product has to solve a problem, whatever the problem is. An irritation, inconvenience, social pressure, etc.
  3. Take more swings. It's not like they knew what to do upon starting. They just tried many things and found one that worked.
  4. Social pressure. We are more likely to buy something when we see people we admire having it.
  5. Customer-first. Many of the successful entrepreneurs I spoke to were customer-first. They write handwritten messages and do unscalable things that surprise their customers in a good way.  
  6. They start with the customer. Sounds like textbook advice, yet many people ignore it. They say things like, "I want to create a cool startup for X", and totally ignore whether people actually want it. They were focusing on what they want, not what people want.  
  7. They don't hire agencies or contractors for customer-facing opportunities. Here's a counter-intuitive insight. I've observed that the best companies usually have in-house marketing teams. We say marketing is important and knowing our customers is key – yet businesses hand the responsibility to contractors and agencies. How can you make great stuff for customers if you don't have a relationship with them?
  8. They've good customer service. We build businesses to serve customers. But when we have problems, why do companies connect us with an AI chatbot that just wastes our time? That's why I really admire WPX Hosting.
  9. They have a flywheel. The best businesses usually have a system that generates leads and customers. It's not daily random marketing tactics.
  10. The move up the value chain. Many of these businesses started off offering a really small product. Eventually, they start building bigger products to solve bigger problems.
  11. They make profit a priority. You cannot bring likes and comments to the bank. It may be uncomfortable to hear. But to sustain a business, you need profitability. Good businesses focus on making a profit, not just revenue alone.
  12. Adaptation. The best entrepreneurs adapt to market and competitor changes really fast.
  13. Energy. I've never met a successful entrepreneur with no energy. Energy is contagious. And it's needed.
  14. Ask and it's given. Learn to ask. No one is going to give you business or buy from you. You have to ask.
  15. Nobody is coming to save you. There is no cavalry coming. Successful people show up and do it anyway, even if it might fail.

As a marketer, it is #7 that resonates with me most. This may offend some marketing agencies. But its true. If you work with an external agency, find one that can embed itself into your company.

I hope these lessons help you grow your business and help others.

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