Issue #74 How to get to $1 billion in four years

A friend of mine worked at a razor company. I can’t tell you which since I was sworn to absolute secrecy.

So, let’s call the company, hmmm, G.

Just a random letter I picked from the alphabet.

Anyway, do you know why G put moisturizing strips on razor blades?

It has nothing to do with moisture.

More on that in a second.

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The real reason G added moisturizing strips to razors is that the blades were too good.

They realized that people weren’t changing their blades as often as G wanted, and they didn’t need to because the blades stayed sharp.

Making half-sharp blades wouldn’t work, so they added moisturizer strips that shriveled and got ugly long before the blades dulled. 

The only way to make more money was to trick the customer into buying blades more often.

The market wasn’t growing. It was boring. But it was considered recession-proof and competition-proof. So, G kept making blades and adding strips.

And along came Michael Dubin

He was at a party where his friend’s dad asked for help selling 250,000 razors.

Four years later, he sold his razor company for a billion dollars.

How did he do it?

Well, he made a great video—specifically this one.

But I make videos and am not close to $1 billion.

See, it’s not just having a video; the content matters too. He could have gone after G’s market with the same men-in-the-bathroom-shaving-with-close-ups-of-how-razors-cut-hair approach everyone else did.

But he didn’t have the money to make a dent in that noise machine.

Instead, he targeted a specific consumer. He brought irreverence to razor blades and challenged the idea that you should stay in your rut.

He put it on Youtube.

He defined a competitive niche within the competition-proof market.  

Now, most people didn’t see his video. Some thought it was dumb. Many didn’t buy.

Some people still use straight razors.

So it didn’t appeal to everyone. But it did appeal to 12,000 subscribers within 48 hours of launch.

If he’d tried to compete directly with G and their marketing budget, he wouldn’t have had a chance, so he carved off a segment.

And today, Dollar Shave Club blades (now owned by Unilever) sell for 20% more than the comparable G company’s blade.

If you want to grow, define your target market and tell a story that appeals to them. Don’t talk about safe, boring stuff no one cares about, don’t stick to the established industry lane.

Be different; speak to your niche’s needs.

You don’t have to appeal to everyone, just a few who want your product. 

And if you are trying to trick your customer into buying more, beware; someone else may change the game.

Stay smooth,

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