Amazon Prime, Blue Apron, Dollar Shave Club—what do all of these businesses have in common? They’re membership-based and have seen a wide scope of success over the years.
Marcia Kilgore isn’t new to the entrepreneurship scene. In fact, she’s a savvy serial entrepreneur who’s launched several successful multi-million dollar businesses: Soap & Glory, Bliss, and FitFlop, to name a few. But when she saw the opportunity to launch a membership-based business of her own, she couldn’t turn down the challenge.
Cue the creation of Beauty Pie, the self-professed “buyers club for beauty addicts” that brings an impressive line of beauty products to consumers for a fraction of the cost.
Kilgore stopped by Mashable to break down five tips any entrepreneur needs to know when looking to build a successful membership-based business.
For the full interview and more discussion, check out the above episode of #BizChats.
1. Listen to your customers. They are always telling you what to do
“I love this and this is why I really love social media. Actually, I give a lot of advice on social media to people so — they’ll now email me and say ‘my skin is doing this’ or ‘i’ve got rosacea’ or ‘this problem’ or ‘that problem, what should I use?’ And being able to get that feedback, being able to understand their questions, being able to use social media in such a dynamic way to understand what your customers want and to be able to send what you may not be communicating properly to them is an incredible way to understand (in real time) what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. I think making sure that you listen to them and you’re not defensive, (and they’re your members, so they’re telling you what they need) it’s like having a big team and everybody wants it to do well because everyone is benefitting.”
2. Don’t expect everyone to understand something that’s disruptive overnight
“We talked about this a little bit earlier. Sometimes people just cannot understand something that might be newer and much better. I’ve talked to a lot of people about this who’ve had similarly disruptive businesses and some of them said that it took two years before the public really understood what was going on (and you can see that). So, there have been great companies that came before us who do something similar (but maybe not exactly the same). One of them being for instance, Everlane, which we all probably shopped from at one point, apparently went around for two years before saying normal markup, eight times; Everlane markup, two and a half times, and they repeated this over and over again for two years. So, Beauty Pie, luxury quality product; factory prices? That’s so disruptive, and like we said, the difference between the two is very often a multiplier of 10 and that’s hard for users to get their heads around, so we’re just repeating ourselves over and over again until all those beauty product junkies out there can believe what good luck they have to have stumbled upon it.”
3. Remember to leave your ego outside of the building. It’s not about you. It’s about your members
“And this is tough for everybody. We all have egos to one extent or another. I think that the present times and the present business, they don’t really allow for it. There is no room, in the room for ego. We know you’ve got to have a personality and you have to have something different about yourself or about your business or about your brand, but you can’t let that interfere with the data that you’re getting and interfere with the messages that you’re getting from your customers. You still have to have a vision, but you have to make sure that you leave your ego at the door.”
4. A picture’s worth a thousand words. A video, maybe 10,000. Harness the power of video
“Here I am on video because it does seem like we can explain how Beauty Pie works in writing, you know in a really thorough way, but if we get on video for 30 seconds, more people understand video in 30 seconds than want to read. And that’s just the sign of the times. It may go back to being the other way, but right now, you’ve got to do what the Romans are doing and the Romans are watching a lot of video right now.”
5. Fail fast and move forward. Take negative feedback seriously, not personally
“You’re going to try things, they might be wrong, that’s okay — it’s not saying something about yourself. What says something about yourself as a business person is whether or not you listen to that and move on it or if you’re stubborn and you sit there and waste time and waste money very often by not changing whatever your tactics are. So it’s about moving and listening.”
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