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How to Grow Your Startup the Right Way

Launched in 2016, Powerdot is disrupting the EMS industry. Eric Glader, founder and CEO, started Powerdot with ease of accessibility in mind while still keeping access to healthcare affordable.A guest in one of our Growth Theory podcast episodes, Eric walked us through some of the steps they took at Powerdot to turn the organization into an 8-figure global brand, having hit the $1M mark in just 6 months after launch. We wanted to get a glimpse into their way of doing things and how they're working on customer retention.
How to Grow Your Startup the Right Way

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Launched in 2016, Powerdot is disrupting the EMS industry.  Eric Glader, founder and CEO, started Powerdot with ease of accessibility in mind while still keeping access to healthcare affordable.

A guest in one of our Growth Theory podcast episodes, Eric walked us through some of the steps they took at Powerdot to turn the organization into an 8-figure global brand, having hit the $1M mark in just 6 months after launch. We wanted to get a glimpse into their way of doing things and how they're working on customer retention.

Eric explains, “If we can decentralize soft tissue care, make it concierge, delivered to someone’s home, we can give the clinicians the ability to service more patients […], we can give the insurance companies the ability to see those therapies, and more importantly and the best of all is that the patient can get their therapy in their own home which can increase the level of compliance, which ensures they’re going to be on the right therapeutic track. So we are excited about where we are going and we feel that we can really make a change in the way healthcare is delivered. Our focus has always been – ‘How do we deliver more healthcare to more people, at a better price?’”

Organic Growth

Organic growth often on the table with large enterprises, but for start-ups, it is the key to a lot of companies’ futures. According to a lot of eCommerce industry discussions, the most successful firms follow more than one path to achieve it, and are also more effective at getting the right resources to support it.

We wanted to better understand how start-ups consider and pursue growth along these two pillars:

  • Investing in highly efficient growth programs through smart spending
  • Performing better by constantly optimizing their core capabilities such as hiring, marketing or sales

So, when talking to Eric, one of the topics of our discussion was organic growth and its impact on the long-term business survival, and the right organic growth marketing tactics they applied at Powerdot.  Having raised an individual seed round of around $3M, yet growing their revenue to over $35M in just 4 years, they focused on smart spending and allocating funds to high return activities. Here is what they focused on:

High customer service

Having a great product isn't enough anymore. If your shoppers are unimpressed by your customer care team, you'll lose their referrals or repeat purchases and it will negatively affect your customer retention rate.  

We've often discussed at Cartloop how customer service is paramount to the success of an eCommerce or retail business. We wrote about how bad customer care will cost you more than the price of a refund here.

Powerdot pride themselves with putting an emphasis on ensuring they offer a stellar customer service and supporting their shoppers at every step of the buyers' journey.

Core focus

"We just want to deliver healthcare to more people."

This is Powerdot's goal and it's one of the factors of their success. They have a core goal and they use it to decide their next steps and how it applies to support their ultimate focus. What's more, this core focus is obvious to everyone in the organization, thus driving their marketing activities as well.

Authenticity

Another item that affects customer retention is the way you deliver your marketing communications. Effective supply and demand chain is often looked at in terms of having the right product, at the right time. It's a key differentiator of a shopping experience, and brands are in competition to optimized their performance. But today that's not enough. Consumers are savvier and they can see through pushy sales messages. That's why successful companies stay true to who they are, what they do and who they're helping.

Eric knows this very well, and he advises up and coming entrepreneurs to get in front of their audience, tell their story authentically and gain trust by genuine connections.

Consumer trust isn't won through marketing - it's something that you earn and getting people behind your brand is not won through promotions or rewards. So tell your story, exactly how you see it and work on growing your supporters organically.

This isn't to say ads or traditional marketing are to be banned - of course not. But balance your tactics so that your marketing stays authentic. Even in an ad.

Finding the Right Team

Hiring

Handing off some of the responsibility without having to feel you need to be involved all the time – that’s the magic point in an organization where the entire team is dedicated.

Eric mentions that while resumes can give you a good overview of technical capabilities, he prefers making hiring decisions after meeting candidates and getting a glimpse of their personality and character.

Ambition and intention go a long way. Eric says there’s two types of people in the world: problem solvers and problem creators. To build the right team for your organization, they have to fall under the first category, otherwise you’ll be seeing a lot of issues down the line, whereas self-motivated, driven professionals, are constantly going to look for ways to overcome challenges and will make it their mission to persevere until they’ve found a way.

Eric advises entrepreneurs to take the time, sit down with candidates and have a conversation to find out about who they are, especially how they are ethically and what their plans for growth are for the future. Their thought process will speak volumes on how he’ll adapt to outputs in the organization.

Employee Retention

Keeping the right talent as part of the organization for the long run is a focus of all leadership teams today, no matter what vertical you are in. We asked Eric to share some of his tips on how to ensure you keep the right people around, and keep them motivated at the same time.

Make them part of the company

Eric jokingly says: “Don’t be greedy”. But a joke or not, having a stake in day to day operations, working towards more than a paycheck and having a stake in the financial future of the organization that they are part of, gives employees the kind of motivation one needs to stick around for a long period of time.

Eric tells us he’s often been criticized for this decision, but he stands by what he believes in (and we agree). He likes making everyone part of the company and there’s a solid reason for that. To get people excited, you make them part of the process. You make them part of the upside and you let them know that if they’re putting the work in, there’s not just a paycheck they are working for, but there’s a win at the end for them. Reinforcing that on all levels and making them feel they’re part of the organization is key for a motivated workforce that keeps on showing up day after day with the same level of enthusiasm.

Accessible leadership team

Your leadership team should be accessible to the team members, and keep their doors open to reinforce trust and show that their opinions matter. Eric shared with us that he feels this will help his team grow and he is ready to support them in their own journey later on, if and when they decide to build their own start-up.

Providing employees that line of sight of where they can go, creates a company community that supports the team not just for a limited amount of time, but for future endeavours, shows the real team support that makes people motivated to stay.

Final thoughts

Powerdot is the result of dedication and drive, overcoming challenges that threatened business-survival and building a team of motivated employees. Eric mentioned that one of their smart spending habits was finding a way to be profitable from the first sale, and then keep doing it again, on every sale afterwards. Yet, they managed to do it in such a way that they're not priced exceptionally high, thus balancing the bottom line with providing real, affordable value for customers.

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Raluca Tarcea

Allegedly wise to the ways of Marketing, PR and Social Media at Cartloop. Entrepreneur, pilot, visual thinker & planning ninja.

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