When building a product-led growth venture, craftsmanship becomes rocket fuel for exponential growth.
My grandfather was a blacksmith. I still remember sitting in his workshop, watching him make steel knives. He patiently worked with the metal, beginning with two different types of steel: a harder one for the blade’s core and a softer one that he wrapped around the outside. Warming, hammering, warming, hammering. Relentless until the metal took the shape of a knife. Soon he was sharpening and polishing it to perfection, testing the blade by cutting the tiny hairs on his arm. The result was a piece of art with a purpose. Razor-sharp and durable. He was a true craftsman.
I have always been fascinated by craftsmanship. It started with physical products but eventually moved into the digital world as my career shifted to building digital ventures. When it came to customer acquisition and growth, I have experienced that the difference between having a good product and a great product is huge. Specifically, if there was a product-led growth strategy, I saw that craftsmanship was a crucial piece of this puzzle.
For my grandfather, a true craftsman was someone continuously searching for perfection in every beat of the hammer, always knowing that it was possible to push further, to make even better knives. But how does this translate to building digital products?
At New Normal Group, our mission is to build exponential software companies challenging the new normals of their industries. In an earlier blog post, we explained the secrets behind exponential business models. In it, we shared that one key element was the perceived value of your product vs your competition’s. Essentially, you need to find your 10x value differentiator for your business model to be exponential in design.
So if your venture has a product-led growth strategy, the product itself is the key driver of customer acquisition, expansion, conversion, and retention. In turn, craftsmanship becomes a magic maker for success, representing the rocket fuel for exponential growth. But why?
When you have products that your customers want to buy and are proud of owning, you are no longer selling - they are simply buying. This takes growth to another dimension. But to get to this point, you need to create significantly more value than any competitor and have an x-factor, that little bit of extra magic that makes your customers want to identify themselves as a user of your product. In this way, craftsmanship becomes key.
Here at New Normal Group, craftsmanship is largely in focus as our companies build products and deliver services. For example, at Snowball Digital and Splæsh, we consider every person a craftsman or woman. Leveraging their skills in product design, software development, storytelling and film making, these two companies help forward-looking brands and high-growth ventures design, build, and grow the kinds of products their customers will love. Add in Skiens Cykkelfabrik’s artisan handmade bikes, Farstad & Co’s on-site roasted and brewed coffee, or Smøyg Forlag’s culturally-preserving digital publications, and you will see how craftsmanship runs deep within our New Normal DNA.
Just as craftsmanship is integral for our companies providing growth services and physical products, so is it for our pure software companies. For example, take Crystallize, building the next generation headless e-commerce service. To them, craftsmanship is so essential to their product that it drives their mission statement:
“The mission of Crystallize is to push the boundaries of internet craftsmanship.”
They define internet craftsmanship in 5 ways:
And yes, it does work. Crystallize grew and continues to grow exponentially, at a significantly higher rate than the rest of the industry, because they let rocket fuel called craftsmanship power them. And while craftsmanship might demand more from you and your team in the short term, we promise that the long term growth-machine gains makes it well worth the effort.