Strategy Consultant @ New Relic. Prior positions include Dir. of Product & UX Designer. Ex-Cisco/DirecTV + exp in FinTech/FinServices/Mobile Gaming/SaaS. Coached & implemented Agile process in multiple companies. Managed Salesforce deployment to 500 employees. Launched & managed multiple top 50 grossing mobile games. Coded & launched profitable SMB SaaS startup.
I have a different approach that will give you a more sustainable growth trajectory. You should go with an inbound marketing strategy instead.
1) Get creative with your content marketing to educate your target market on the problems. By creating the awareness, your target market will then look for solutions. Since you were the one who first educated them, you'll have the first impression with them with this new line of thinking.
2) Create a mini product offering that solves one aspect of the problem. Having a narrow focus gives you a pointed problem and solution that is begging for press and traction. Freckle and Boomerang created mini products that solved a related customer problem in a fun and creative way.
I would be happy to share more examples and insights of innovative ways to approach this problem. I've been in this boat before and heavily researched the issue.
Thanks for sharing your experience and situation. I always appreciate entrepreneurs who tell it as it is rather than constantly glamorizing the dreams. As a fellow entrepreneur who does everything, it is definitely exhausting to handle. Every problem, issue, and solution is under our control. That extra hour of work can be fully utilized to move things forward. There must not be any harm in working a few extra hours then? Right? Wrong!
If you're in this for the long term, you need to make this journey sustainable.
1) Understand and internalize the power of breaks: You need them every hour (e.g a walk), every day (e.g. meditate/exercise), and every few months (e.g. vacation). Although you may think you can work at 100% efficiency all the time, it degrades very quickly. Breaks are conscious activities that give your mind a break from everything.
2) Form a support network: Find peers and mentors that you can engage with on a regular basis. Share experiences and realize that you're not in this alone. Everyone is in a similar position and each has something to contribute.
3) Get inspired: You ask this in your original question but wanted to address points #1 and #2 regardless. It's important to rekindle your passion very often. Talk to your partners and customers in an intimate setting over coffee or dinner. Understand how you are addressing their needs and what your service is now enabling them to do that they couldn't prior.
I would be happy to share more insights and examples of each of the above points. Just remember, you are not alone and you can do it! Best of luck and feel free to reach out.
A laser focus.
As an entrepreneur, you will experience responsibilities that go well beyond your traditional areas of expertise and interest. You will have to manage all your limited resources (time, money, energy, and people) to get the job done as efficiently as possible. Often times, you will need to let go when things are just good enough because something is more important that demands your resources. That laser focus is only possible if you are able to have discipline, flexibility, and humility. It definitely is not something you know before embarking on the journey but it gets easier everyday once your mindset finally shifts.
I would be happy to share personal experiences and other recommendations having started my own business as well as having worked for some brilliant founders during my career.
Companies that implement both B2B and B2C products have a deliberate strategy around it.
1) Supply & Demand
Often times, you'll notice see a company seek out businesses to create the supply and then consumers to create the demand. These companies are usually in a chicken-and-egg situation where they need both to actually have a complete product. Think of travel (Orbitz/AirBNB), e-commerce (Amazon), dining (Yelp/OpenTable), etc. The hottest companies in each of these areas needed to create the supply (hotel rooms, retail products, restaurant listings) to ensure consumers would have a reason to stop by and purchase. While working at DIRECTV, we had to have a strategy to gather exclusive content (NFL Sunday Ticket), the supply, to drive demand. We also had to make a push to gather customers (typical TV commercials to even working with larger apartment complexes to demonstrate that it is always legal to put up a satellite dish regardless).
2) Moving Up/Down the Value Chain
Some companies have great products that achieve product market fit with either consumers or businesses. After this milestone, these companies adapt their product, messaging, and/or strategy to tap into the other market by going heavier (B2B) or lighter (B2C) with quality/service/customization. They often use freemium pricing models to get the best of both worlds. Some examples would be Dropbox and Google Apps. While working at Cisco, I was part of the Linksys group where more basic products would be sold under the Linksys brand whereas those with more business features or better quality would be sold under the Cisco brand.
The non-profit sector is unique but the above strategies still do apply. So I would recognize the nuances of non-profits but still assume that standard business/product logic remains. I would be happy to give more specific recommendations over a call where you can tell me more about your background and product ideas.