Richard Belton
  • By Richard Belton, founder and CEO of Knoshbox
  • 29 Jan 2013

Artisan food delivery service Knoshbox works extremely successfully with the subscription service business model. Co-founder Richard Belton says “I love the subscription e-commerce model. It makes predicting and planning for growth that much easier.”

Want to grow your business? Check out Richard’s top tips for expanding your customer base.

1. Think hard about design

Design should be beautiful. You spend countless hours perfecting your homepage and UX, but what about the packaging? Provide a seamless experience for customers by designing product packaging that inspires and excites them. Apple is a company that has mastered this, and rumour has it they test hundreds of packaging variations in a secret unboxing room. Think about design aesthetics from your favorite companies for ideas.

2. Tell Great Stories

Share the stories behind your products: what makes them special? Create content around your product or service that people actually want to read. Set up a dedicated company blog for keeping your audience updated on developments, new products, and tips relevant to your niche. Tumblr is our blogging platform of choice, where we share stories behind the foods we feature and photos from our travels.

3. Focus On Your Strengths

As the founder of a startup, you are required to be somewhat of a Swiss Army knife of skills and abilities. You're versed in all aspects of running your business and often carry responsibilities that may not be your forte. Focus on your strengths and outsource the rest. Time is a precious and fleeting resource, so accept that you simply can't be the best at everything.While a budget to outsource work may not exist, there are many incredible free online tools, apps and resources at your disposal – make sure you find and utilise the ones that work for you (see below).

4. Communication Is Everything

Communicating your message clearly and concisely to customers and vendors can be a challenge. With most subscriptions, the products and vendors featured change every month. This means you're often working with new procedures, new chains of command, and new personalities each month. When in doubt, send that second email, make that third phone call, and write that thank you email to your customers.

5. Create Experiences

As the founder of a startup, part of your job is to find inspiration in the world around you and channel that energy into building exciting and memorable products. Nobody remembers what they ate for their birthday dinner two years ago, but they probably remember the great time they had with friends and family. Strive to build quality products that create memorable experiences for customers.

6. Bootstrappin' Resources

There are many great free or low cost services available to help grow your subscription startup. Here is a short list of some of our favorite tools and apps:

Mail Chimp - Email Newsletters
Unbounce - Custom self-hosted landing pages
FriendBuy -  Referral Marketing Program
Olark -  Live chat customer support
Instagram - Photosharing app

Richard Belton is the co-founder of Knoshbox, a monthly subscription service that delivers hand-picked artisan foods right to your door.

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