Blog

Get expert advice on every topic you need as a small business owner, from the ideation stage to your eventual exit. Our articles, quick tips, infographics and how-to guides can offer entrepreneurs the most up-to-date information they need to flourish.

Subscribe to our blog

3 entrepreneurs reveal how their startups became profitable

Posted by Shivali Anand

February 23, 2022    |     3-minute read (566 words)

The founders of three startups — Bookshop.org, New Masters Academy and FitVine Wine — revealed the strategies they used to establish profitability at a very early stage of operation to the US Chamber of Commerce. Other entrepreneurs may glean insights from these founders' strategies that they can apply to their own ventures. 

It's important to stay lean

Bookshop.org began its operations with enough funds to last eight months, but after only three months, the startup had already become profitable. Andy Hunter, the company's CEO and founder, attributes the company's success to its ability to stay lean. He started the online bookstore with only four employees and two interns.

Adapt to the needs of the customer

During the pandemic, Bookshop.org tapped into growing customer enthusiasm for supporting local businesses. Similarly, Mark Warren and Tom Beaton, the co-founders of FitVine Wine, dived into their consumers' health-conscious inclinations during the pandemic and listened to their partners' ideas for growing their business. Before debuting in 2013, Joshua Jacobo, the creator and executive director of New Masters Academy, maintained a massive collection of movies and images for artists. By the time it launched, users were motivated to become members.

Creating an ideal cost structure

Bookshop.org donates more than 75% of its profits to local bookshops, publishers and writers, which incentivizes customers to purchase and sell on the site. FitVine Wine began as a direct-to-consumer company and when it expanded into retail, current consumers served as a de facto sales force. Meanwhile, the number and quality of New Masters Academy's online art programs are worthy of the subscription prices.

Meeting consumers where they shop

FitVine Wine’s Warren and Beaton believe that employing the correct marketing channel or visiting where people make purchases is what helps their business succeed. Accordingly, they place a premium on reaching out to areas where their clients currently reside. In the same vein, Bookshop.org's creators maintain that good customer service guarantees that prior customers return. New Masters Academy also endeavored to meet customers where they shop by establishing a reputation as a renowned online platform for professional artists before opening.

Using creative marketing techniques

Bookshop.org's prelaunch marketing plan included press, word-of-mouth and social media initiatives. As a result, a few pieces about their aim to assist independent bookshops became widely circulated. Many people searching for methods to help during the pandemic came across Bookshop.org and spread the word about their goal.

New Masters Academy enticed consumers to subscribe early through its online prelaunch marketing effort. Its marketing tactics largely leaned on Facebook page updates and email newsletters that featured teacher artwork and free artist suggestions. They also gave early adopters a long-term, inexpensive membership fee.

FitVine Wine achieved profitability 3.5 years after its start, as the owners predicted based on their business strategy. The creators achieved this by first entering the DTC industry and then moving into retail. FitVine Wine's consumer-focused goods encouraged customers to promote their products and contribute to the company's success.

Investing and preparing before launch

By amassing an extensive library of reference pictures and 3D models for its online art lessons before they ever launched, New Masters Academy attracted early subscribers. Then, its exceptional bargain for early adopters, which was advertised with a prelaunch marketing campaign, enticed subscribers to join as members. As a result, the content-rich website became profitable within the first month of its introduction.

Learn how we can put more time back in your day.