For this chapter, we spoke with Katherine Kane of Country Shore, a rapidly growing, Florida-based apparel line for anyone who loves the outdoors.
Gunner Technology: I’m not sure I’ve ever seen something grow the way Country Shore did.
Katherine Kane: Thanks! We put so much effort into getting boots on the ground at various events and just becoming a known name in Florida and beyond for folks who like country music and fishing and hunting.
GT: And as a company that works mainly with customers, as opposed to one that works mainly with other businesses, we had to strategize together a certain way.
KK: Totally, and we talked about that a ton. What folks to target on Facebook, how to promote our Instagram posts, setting up all that Google tracking stuff.
GT: It was a huge pain in the butt, but it really paid off in the end.
KK: It was something new and different for me, that’s for sure. And it was really tough. But like you said, we saw the results.
GT: People started recognizing you guys at shows and the Country Shore trailer became a go to spot, right?
KK: Yea, it was nuts. And once you get folks talking about your company, you just start growing like crazy. And we were especially blessed to have some pretty big country names sport our gear at shows and give us shout outs. That kind of stuff is just ridiculously powerful as far as selling your stuff goes. When you get Luke Bryan rockin’ one of your hats, you can’t put a price on that. That’s just huge.
This chapter is all about how to grow your idea without having to use the lottery model of “I’ll just throw this out there with no marketing behind it and hope it becomes the next Flappy Bird.” You can launch your idea and hope it becomes a humongous success, but the odds are probably much, much worse than just spending a couple grand on lottery tickets and winning that jackpot.
You’re going to have to spend money to grow your idea. That’s just the reality of the situation.
For example, you need enough capital reserves to jump on the hype train if your idea starts getting some positive publicity. You can’t just let that kind of momentum die off without throwing a bunch of money at marketing and building your product. You’ve got to be able to spend the necessary resources to give your idea a chance at becoming a massive success.
(Venture capital, angel rounds, or outright acquisition are all great options in terms of raising funds to expand an idea that’s growing in popularity.)
Another way to spend money wisely when growing your idea is to work with developers who know how to prioritize properly. This usually means working with an Agile shop with a proven track record of success building and launching applications in a timely manner. Those kinds of shops will help you determine the best way to spend your money as far as building out the actual idea, and they’ll do it in such a way that you have the necessary reserves to really grow your idea.
You can’t discount word of mouth when it comes to growing your idea.
When you’re trying to nail down a niche with a B2B business, word of mouth is incredibly important. You’ve got to build a solid reputation and keep it that way to really grow your idea.
With B2C businesses, word of mouth is a little bit trickier since you’re usually trying to reach the masses. That’s when spending a lot of money on marketing is key. (Again, we’re talking 1x or even 2x the amount you spend on developing the idea itself – marketing is really that important.)
Finally, whether you’re talking B2B or B2C, celebrities and key influencers are genuinely important. Obviously, their promotion has to be genuine – you’re looking for brand ambassadors not people who pretend to like your product and never actually use it. But if you can get some big names who engage with your product regularly, that kind of publicity is functionally priceless.
Finally, to quote Sean Connery in The Last Crusade: “Indiana, let it go.”
The last thing you want to do if you get to the tipping point is to hang on for too long. We’ve seen too many founders hold on for too long only to see their idea collapse when they could’ve cashed out and retired to a tropical island.
We understand loving your ideas – it’s why we all do this. But businesses are like your kids heading off to college. You’ve get to let the little birds leave the nest. Otherwise your idea becomes a 34-year-old “adult” living in your basement playing video games for twelve hours a day.