Written in partnership with Jon Smith
The hardest part of building a start-up is getting people to buy your products or services. You need to convince shoppers why your product is better than established brands, and without proper strategies, it can be hard to achieve that. This was the case for Benjamin Smith. Two years ago, Smith had over 50K in debt spread across his credit cards, and his business was on the brink of failure; Disco was only generating 2–3K a month in sales.
Today, Disco is one of the leading skincare brands doing 8 figures in annual revenue. How did Benjamin Smith go from broke to owning a top men’s skincare brand? According to Smith, it all started with identifying the problems in his strategies and working on his leadership skills.
From the outside looking in, you would probably think that the increasing problems were a sign of poor leadership, and it was, explains Smith. Smith had no idea how to convince men to buy skincare products, and as the sole employee, it was hard to take care of the production, distribution, and even marketing.
He ended up partnering with other brands without doing his due diligence. This was one of Smith’s biggest mistakes. Smith spent a lot of money on marketing, but the message wasn’t getting to the right audience. His strategies weren’t enough to drive customers to make purchases. Before he knew it, Benjamin had spent considerable amounts of money on customer acquisition compared to the average order value.
Disco had negative 17K in its bank account, and most rational people would have shut it down to prevent further losses. But Smith was not looking to close down his business.
Smith explains that he hadn’t thought of closing down Disco. He believed in his ideas and wanted to share Disco with all men, so he worked on his strategies rather than shutting down the business. Over the next 30 days, Smith spoke to 50+ industry experts who helped him learn everything he was doing wrong and what he could do better.
Smith discovered that his brand placement was lacking. Disco didn’t have a clear value proposition or reason why men should buy their products. Their website was also not the best. It was confusing and disorganized and had no landing pages.
Smith began working on this. He fired all his agencies and consultants and started from scratch with a select few partners who helped him get in front of the right audience. By December that same year, Disco was doing 100K a month in sales.
“There is no doubt that building a business from scratch is hard. It is a proper roller-coaster ride with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But it is definitely doable. You just have to understand the market and develop better strategies that align with your goals. It is also okay to ask for help from those who have walked a similar path,“ says Benjamin Smith.
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