This is a follow up story for Grobo. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 1 year ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hey! I’m Bjorn Dawson and I’m the founder of Grobo where our mission is to make growing easy. We started up in 2014 and have been designing easy-to-use home growing systems ever since.
Today, our flagship products include our Grobo Premium & Solid Grow Box and the Grobo Start. The Grobo Start is the perfect way to grow herbs and greens at home. It’s also the best way to start your cannabis seeds. Once they’re about 4 weeks old, you can transplant them into the Grobo Premium or Solid grow boxes to finish your grow. Our systems have over 2,000 grow recipes available to choose from so all you have to do is pick your recipe and plant your seed.
Over the last year, we have doubled our product line from 12 products to 25+ products for home growing.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Over the last year, we’ve been growing a ton. What we’ve discovered is that due to our high price point, it can take anywhere from 1-4 months for customers to convert. With our email flow being responsible for 30-40% of our sales each week, we turned our focus towards building our email list and audience as quickly as possible.
In the last year, we’ve run two of our own giveaways, participated in numerous Instagram giveaways, and run multiple paid partnerships. In total, we’ve grown our audience from 70K Subscribers in April 2020 up to 180K subscribers now.
Here’s some of what we’ve learned:
1) Instagram Giveaways - These can be HUGE for audience growth on Instagram. It’s really quick to get these followers and the campaigns normally cost only $1-5K to participate in. Once the campaign is over, however, you will see a steady stream of unsubscribes for months afterward. That’s okay since you will have a net increase in followers, but it’s really up to you to keep these new subscribers engaged. In our case, we create cannabis memes for every 3rd post to keep the page fun!
2) Referral Campaigns - We LOVE running our own giveaways. They are a great way to reward your existing followers with a chance to win your product. They don’t cost a ton and can really help you spread the word about your product. In our latest campaign, we had over 10K entries for our best giveaway yet. ViralSweep is the system to use if you’re going that route. It’s robust, reliable, and easy to set up.
3) Paid Partnerships - We work with several cannabis brands like Leafly, High Times, WikiLeaf and more. These campaigns can be awesome because the audience is already interested in your product. The price of these partnerships can vary greatly, so make sure to do your math and figure out if the cost makes sense based on their email list size and open rates.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
After a year of the pandemic, it’s been a rollercoaster for sure.
We spent a lot of time over the last year making sure we had the right people in the right seats. Making these changes has been difficult at times, but totally worth it. Our team is now ready to scale, stress is down, and work/life balance has improved for everyone.
One of the big challenges right now is around inventory and getting parts. Toilet paper and flour were just the beginning. We, along with all hardware companies, are seeing shortages of key electronics and materials. This is forcing us to plan further ahead to keep our products available.
On the personal side, I’m still learning to slow down. As the company grows, your role as a CEO changes drastically. My role today is to focus on the future of the company and how to grow it. This requires lots of thinking and white space, rather than 20 hour days. One of my best decisions so far has been to challenge myself to read 52 books this year. I’m currently ahead of schedule and you can follow my reading list on GoodReads.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Grow, grow, grow!
We spent a lot of time over the last year making sure we had the right people in the right seats. Making these changes has been difficult at times, but totally worth it.
Geographically, we expanded into Europe in October 2020 and are very excited to be in that market now. Our next steps will be to increase the size of our product offerings so that we can pull in new growers to our ecosystem of products. We also plan to continue increasing our marketing efforts.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Yes! I’m on a mission to read 1 book a week and three highlights immediately come to mind:
What the Heck is EOS? - This book was a game-changer for our company. It helped us implement a ton of organizational structures that have made organizing the team, our vision, and goals all so much easier. This is the book I wish I knew about 5 years ago.
Never Split The Difference - Chris Voss does a great job of detailing numerous negotiation techniques. This book has saved us thousands of dollars already. Everything is negotiable and this gives you the tools to negotiate.
Copywriting Secrets - I’ve read a few copywriting books lately but this is by far the best. Jim Edwards explains how to write for your audience, and we have seen a noticeable improvement in email open rates, for example, by making some subtle tweaks to our subject lines.
Overall, I highly recommend taking the time to read. It’s often during this “quiet time” that other great ideas hit me and I’m constantly making notes on what to do and where to go next. If you’re looking for recommendations, you can check out GoodReads.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Stop and step back.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle where you’re working hard but not smart. Stop. Step back. Take a break.
When you give yourself some space and time to breathe, you’ll often be able to approach the problem again more clearly. You’ve got this!
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We’re not looking for any hires right now but if you’re interested in growing, you should definitely check out our AllGrowers Community!
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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