Today we are talking about some of the weirdest growth strategies companies can use in order to grow.
IE 227: The Weirdest Growth Strategies in Entrepreneurship with Johnathan Grzybowski
This is a sponsored podcast episode with Penji.
Penji, an on-demand graphic design service, is a company that has utilized some growth strategies that you may not have thought to try when it comes to your business.
In this episode of the podcast, Johnathan Grzybowski, one of the co-founders of Penji, talks about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, as well as how to take ownership of your company and make sure you are leading well. He also shares some of the company’s philosophies that keep them focused on what matters.
Graphic Design On-Demand
Penji runs on a flat monthly-rate membership, challenging the status quo of how graphic design works.
When you work with Penji, you have access to their entire pool of graphic design talent. You can submit anything from a logo to social media content to app work.
If you’re using something like Canva to make sure you have plenty of graphic designs on a monthly basis, or even thinking of utilizing a virtual assistant to do that work for you, Penji is a great option to fill those needs.
Penji gives you the flexibility of all different types of graphic designers and being able to choose exactly what it is you are looking for.
So many people spend thousands of dollars on graphic design. Penji not only saves you money but also saves you tons of time researching and trying to find the right person.
Roll With the Ups and Down
There are always ups and downs when it comes to entrepreneurship.
When Penji first started to launch, one of the biggest challenges was making sure the customers were happy with the concept and how the company works.
It was also difficult to find the right graphic designers and create a company culture that made them want to stay with Penji.
No matter how large we grow, it is not easy to be an entrepreneur. You have to learn to roll with the struggles and keep moving forward, even on the hard days
The Validation and Vanity of Accomplishments
Penji is an Inc. 5000 company. In order to qualify to be on the list, you have to be privately owned and have made no lesson than $1 million in your first year and no less than $2 million in your fourth year as a company.
Penji hit those goals pretty quickly. Those milestones are a validation point not only for their business, but for the industry that they are entering.
It’s a super exciting accomplishment, however, Johnathan thinks that it is important to not become caught up in the vanity of that type of achievement.
Entrepreneurship can sometimes be all about vanity metrics and the way things appear. This can be especially prevalent in influencer culture.
While accomplishments are something to be proud of, it is more important that you continue to solve the problems you set out to solve for your customer and that they love you and your company.
Utilizing Weird Growth Strategies
Some of the weirdest strategies that Penji has utilized are the most boring strategies.
For example, they will never trade respect for attention. They have decided to never make a fool of themselves in order to get their name into the marketplace.
They have used their name and its standing as the way to gain leverage and grow the company.
Many entrepreneurs believe that they have to do something completely unconventional in order to grow their business. Penji didn’t do anything unconventional and was still able to establish themselves.
Penji utilized some of the following strategies when it came to growing their business:
- Started a nonprofit- (Penji for Nonprofit) where they offer their services to select non-profits for $1/month
- Used advertising- (which ended up not being the best move for them since they didn’t target the correct audience)
- Interviewed up to 200 people- in order to validate their plan for their business
- Interviewed customers for feedback
Establishing Your Business’s Core Philosophies
Penji continues to make its core values a huge priority. Johnathan keeps a list of them on his desk at all times in order to keep them in the front of his mind.
Some of Penji’s philosophies are:
- Improve by a minimum of 1% every single day.
- You don’t need resources; you need to be resourceful.
- Never trade respect for attention.
- Don’t train someone to do something that you can do yourself.
- The internal staff of the company is more important than customers.
Penji understands that while customers come and go, their staff will stick around. Treating them with respect and showing them that they are an important part of the company is something that will always be high on their priority list.
Communicating With The Team
Penji has grown at a rapid pace and has had to expand its team in order to do that.
All of the communication with the Penji team happens via Slack. Penji is a 100% remote company, and only 15 of their team members live in Philadelphia where their office is located.
Communication is a critical part of their team, and understanding your role and what is expected is important.
Training includes clear pictures and videos. Every conversation is video and audio-enabled. Penji puts a large focus on making sure their employees know what their key performance indicators (KPIs) are so that they can get their work done well.
Penji has managers who supervise the work of the design teams. This allows the co-founders to focus on other aspects of the business, while the managers keep up with the employees and make sure they are on track with their KPIs.
Some of these KPIs include things like seeking out 5 press opportunities a week or reaching out to old customers to see if they are interested in utilizing Penji again.
Getting Over the Hurdles
As a leader, Johnathan struggles with managing people. That has been a hurdle for him, but something he is growing into. If his leadership isn’t up to par, the company will suffer, so it is important for him to continue to grow in his abilities to lead.
One of the initial hurdles that Penji faced was addressing the wrong audience. They had thought that start-up businesses would be the ones to benefit the most from their service. That wasn’t the case.
They had to figure out who needed their service. Now they know that their ideal audience is influencers and content creators.
Penji is offering a code for you when you sign up. It is a 15% discount when you use the code MELROSE15 at checkout. This gives you the opportunity to utilize Penji for one month at a discounted rate and hopefully, you’ll fall in love with Penji and keep using it after the one-month.
Penji typically delivers in 24-48 hours, so you will be able to knock out tons of graphics in that one month. Go use that code to get some amazing graphics for a discounted price.
You can find Penji on Instagram and you can learn everything you need to know about the company on their website.
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