How I Got A $20K/Month Growth Agency Off The Ground Networking On LinkedIn

Ishaan Shakunt
Founder, Spear Growth
$20K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
9
Employees
Spear Growth
from Ghaziabad
started April 2021
$20,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
9
Employees
3.32M
alexa rank
Discover what tools Ishaan reccommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Ishaan reccommends to grow your business!
Want more updates on Spear Growth? Check out these stories:
How I Got A $20K/Month Growth Agency Off The Ground Networking On LinkedIn

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I’m the founder of Spear Growth. We’re a B2B SaaS Marketing agency. We help high-growth companies with Ads and SEO.

We've worked with:

  1. Unicorns like Hasura & Darwinbox.

  2. Series B funded companies like Facilio.

  3. Series A companies like Sprinto, Zluri & XOPA AI.

  4. Seed funded companies like DhiWise.

  5. YC companies like SuperTokens.

We've brought results like these:

  1. 13x SQLs from Paid ads in 6 months (While maintaining CPA).

  2. 0-10k+ users in 10 months.

  3. 3x SQLs from Organic search in 1 year.

In just the last 6 months, we’ve grown from a team of 6 to 9 full-time people.

spear-growth

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I was enrolled in a Computer Science engineering course (like half of India).

I wasn't bad at it either, by 2nd year, I was a (shitty) full-stack developer, had started a couple of freelance gigs, and had won a Mozilla hackathon.

I didn't enjoy it as much but there was once a very small bug I couldn't solve for an entire week. I got fed up, removed all my tech accomplishments from my resume, and started working on random things.

I started an (unregistered) NGO, a personality development society, and a mocktail stand, among 43 other things.

I had one plan: Explore.

I decided I wanted to be an entrepreneur without really understanding what that meant. For every venture/project, I had to market it. I slowly started taking up marketing projects for every cafe and coaching institute around my college.

I even started a WhatsApp-marketing-network-agency-thing that I called Hoot which was fairly successful.

I am a self-taught marketer but I got a lot of help, inspiration, and support from friends I made on LinkedIn.

Back in 2020, I was leading SEO at a Unicorn startup. I had a fantastic team, role, and position. Somehow, I wasn’t learning as fast as I wanted. To accelerate that, I left my job without much of a plan. That’s when I was able to bring back my focus 100% on my personal growth and nothing else.

And that entire phase was amazing. I could see myself becoming a better marketer.

I didn’t want to start a business. I was actually against it. Opening a business is a serious commitment to your employees and your clients. it would lose my freedom which was very important to me.

I spoke with a marketer who I respect a lot. It was a 30-minute call, But I gained a lot. One of the insights I learned was to become a better marketer, I would need to understand business.

He explained it differently, but this is a line that's stuck with me: "CMOS aren't marketers, they're business people who happen to specialize in marketing." They work with their peers. (CFO, CRO, CEO, and other CXOs)

This conversation happened in March. I registered for Spear Growth next month.

Embrace the unscalable stuff.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

Starting the agency was abrupt. I had been freelancing on the side throughout my job but I hadn't built something I was serious about.

The team: At the start, there was one brilliant college student who I was lucky to want to work with and learn from me - Sourajit.

We also hired a copywriter within the first 2 months.

The service: It all started with a blank board. I listed down every service we know how to provide, grouped them into packages, and selected a niche to the best of my abilities.

spear-growth
The first board

Since then, we've taken a LOT of audience interviews and customer feedback. We've also analyzed our sales calls. The information from these places has helped us iterate and improve upon our offerings.

Describe the process of launching the business.

We've launched and relaunched multiple times. But there were 2 major "launches".

Getting the first few clients were not as difficult. Once we have a solid offer and a compelling process to achieve results, it just took a couple of days of networking to start getting clients.

Elaborating on how I went about networking:

  1. I found companies on LinkedIn that I wanted to work with.
  2. Connected with the right person in the company and provided value. It wasn't even related to the service I was providing.
  3. Then I just tried to build a relationship with them.
  4. I just did this for 4 hours a day for a week.

The challenge was scaling the business. We completely restarted the business in October of 2021. We changed the business model, our niche, the team structure, and our services. Since then we've been able to grow an average of 2x month over month.

spear-growth

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Our method of coming up with our marketing strategy is simple. Stick to the fundamentals, don’t overcomplicate it.

Our top marketing channels as of now are:

Networking

I set some time aside every week to just randomly provide value on a 1-on-1. Don't pitch but let them know what you do. Don't ignore people but try to connect more with relevant people in the industry.

When you have the capacity don't shy away from telling people who you've already built trust with that you can work with another client.

Niche communities

Find communities where decision-makers hang out. Just interact with them and provide value.

Paid communities have worked better for me than free ones.

Partnerships

Find companies that serve the same companies as you and focus on how you can provide value to them. If you can't, don't partner with them.

Then clearly define what the deliverables and timelines will look like from both parties' ends.

Maintain a great relationship with them. Overdeliver when you can.

My LinkedIn presence

I'm not an expert here. But I just post my perspective on marketing and what's happening in my life.

As the business grows, our marketing mix will also have to change. We’ve already started nurturing other channels and expanding some that have a huge scope for expansion.

Channel: Time to a significant result

  1. Customer advocacy: 1 month
  2. Partnerships: 3 months
  3. LinkedIn personal profiles (mine & team members): 6 months
  4. SEO: 12 months
  5. Review sites: 2 years

Apart from that, there are constant branding and customer advocacy motions.

For customer retention, keeping all of our core service delivery in-house has helped us maintain quality of work and customer experience. 100% of our clients have agreed to give us testimonials in Q1 of 2022.

We plan on investing more in RnD and training to be able to continually improve our services as the markets change.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We currently are a team of 9 people.

We are good at two things. Ads and SEO.

Specifically,

  1. SEO Enablement
  2. Performance Marketing

We plan on continuing to serve our clients via these offerings. In Q1 & Q2 of 2022, we saw 100% of our clients either agreeing to give us a public review or refer someone to us. We are constantly working on ways to improve our client's ROI or experience working with us.

From time to time, we keep experimenting with a few new offerings.

By March 2023, we plan on growing to a team of 15 people. We may also launch a third, more consultative service soon.

spear-growth
Our payroll cost - We restructured in Oct

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

There’s a LOT. These are the things that come to my mind right now:

  1. Be nice. Be genuinely excited about others. Cultivating this mindset will pay back multi-fold.
  2. Your team structure and policies affect scalability, finance, and most importantly, culture.
  3. Understand market trends and their impact. As you get better at understanding the playing field, you will become more proactive.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We use 50+ different pieces of software for our business.

A few key software we use by category:

Admin:

  1. ZohoBooks
  2. ZohoPayroll

Communication:

  1. Slack
  2. Google Workspace

Our marketing:

  1. HubSpot
  2. Lu.ma

Ads:

  1. SEMRush
  2. Apollo

SEO:

  1. SpyFu
  2. Moz

We’ve also built internal software for ourselves for things like reporting, SEO data science, and LinkedIn outreach.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Some books I can recommend to anyone:

  1. Clockwork
  2. Unfair Advantage
  3. Anything you want

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Embrace the unscalable stuff.

Forget about scale when starting out. If something can scale, question it. Do the math and see if it's worth doing at the moment.

Examples: Network, be active in communities, do information interviews.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Ishaan Shakunt, Founder of Spear Growth
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
Want to start your own business?

Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.

We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business. By sharing these stories, we want to help you get started.

Interested in starting your own business? Join Starter Story Premium to get the greatest companion to starting and growing your business:

  • Connect + get advice from successful entrepreneurs
  • Step by step guides on how to start and grow
  • Exclusive and early access to the best case studies on the web
  • And much more!
Did you know that brands using Klaviyo average a 95x ROI?

Email, SMS, and more — Klaviyo brings your marketing all together, fueling growth without burning through time and resources.

Deliver more relevant email and text messages — powered by your data. Klaviyo helps you turn one-time buyers into repeat customers with all the power of an enterprise solution and none of the complexity.

Join Brumate, Beardbrand, and the 265,000 other businesses using Klaviyo to grow their online sales.

Try Klaviyo for free right now ➜