How to get unstuck from low MRR.

Be bold?

One of the good things about grinding away on our business and getting zero growth is that it makes it easier to decide to move on from it at a certain point.

It’s more difficult to know what to do if we start getting some revenue — say, $1,000-$3,000 MRR — and then growth stagnates.

It’s not quite enough to sustain us, but just enough to show promise.

My friend Val is in this place with his app blogstatic:

The replies are interesting, and some may come as a surprise:

  • Remove the free plan

  • Raise your prices

  • Have lots and lots of customer and target customer conversations

  • Add AI features

  • Sell

I particularly like Steve McLeod’s suggestion of trying some bold experiments. After all, at this stage, we have a lot more to gain than to lose:

I agree that before considering a sale, the no-brainer things to try are:

  • Raising prices

  • Having loads of customer and target customer conversations. This should always be happening, no matter what stage you’re in, but especially before you reach $10k MRR or so.

When I was growing Castanet, I never really had a stagnant period, maybe because I talked to customers every day for the first 6 months.

With Aware, we’ve had two distinguishable periods of stagnant growth.

The first was after we got to about $3k MRR after our initial launch. Thanks to a lot of customer feedback, we realized that our onboarding and setup were overly complicated and created a bottleneck. People got lost before they got started, and we spent tons of time helping onboard users. That wasn’t sustainable.

So then we did an almost complete rebuild. We saw pretty slow growth up until the $3k MRR mark again. During this time we experimented with various marketing channels: dabbling in SEO, manual outreach, social media, and various ad spots in newsletters and webinars.

Eventually, we hit a channel that worked for us (through an enticing affiliate program, brand ambassadors, and the like). We doubled down on it, and lately, we’ve seen 30%+ month-over-month growth.

Word of mouth is powerful — likely the most effective form of marketing, and certainly requires the least out-of-pocket costs.

Next week I’ll share how we’re taking this to the next level, and how you can leverage your existing customers to create a viral word-of-mouth referral system.

Until then,

-Mac

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