The process of scaling presents a variety of obstacles, as An Crepel discovered firsthand as the Co-Founder of Digile. Digile is a startup that extracts insights from drug data for the pharmaceutical industry using deep drug data and technical expertise.
The product and mission of the company are impressive, however, finding the appropriate product-market fit along with a suitable pricing strategy turned out to be more difficult than expected. Facing these challenges, An knocked on Scaleup Vlaanderen's door in 2022 to participate in the Internal Scaling program.
Some of the challenges that entrepreneurs face are related to the market in which they operate. They try to expand, with varying degrees of success, search for raw materials to build a new product, or must change their target audience ...
However, there are also many internal issues that can hinder the growth of a scaleup. That's why Scaleup Vlaanderen is organizing the Internal Scaling Program, a short but intensive program for entrepreneurs looking for support to grow their business. We do this through four coaching sessions spread over four months. An Crepel, co-founder of Digile, also signed up to be mentored by expert entrepreneurs.
"Karel De Loof and I faced two significant challenges as Co-Founders of Digile. Firstly, identifying the ideal product-market fit: where does Digile's highest value proposition exist within the pharmaceutical industry? Secondly, there was the issue of pricing. Since we lack direct competitors to compare ourselves to, we have to come up with our own pricing strategy. Together with Scaleup Vlaanderen, we wanted to address these concerns and solve them."
Through several workshops and under the guidance of Growth Engineers Maarten Laruelle and Joke Dehond, solutions immediately presented themselves. "I knew pricing would be a challenge, but Maarten and Joke quickly revealed other priority bottlenecks. The conclusion? We had to reinvent ourselves in terms of sales and marketing. Optimizing our quotations proved extremely important for increased sales of our expertise. For example, we now begin our proposals with an executive summary and highlight our experience, flexibility, and expertise. Learning how to deal with early adopter pricing was also extremely helpful because we now understand that discounts are not the only negotiation tool available.”
"Finally, Maarten and Joke also made us aware of the importance of content marketing. That has helped us with an increase in outreach. Meanwhile, we have a clearer selling proposition, we're working on our website and we're reaching out with social media content and a newsletter. By promoting our content and creating more awareness, customers now find us much more spontaneously as opposed to our previous push marketing strategy."
Now that the process has been successfully completed, An is looking to the future with a new entrepreneurial outlook: "Thanks to Scaleup Vlaanderen, Digile has been able to develop a long-term vision. International expansion is not yet for tomorrow, but I now realize that we stand strong in our position. Even if there are only two of us, we have the knowledge and assets to one day take the step to internationalization. We used to sometimes suffer from imposter syndrome, but Maarten and Joke have boosted our self-confidence and the outside world should see that."
Does An have any final tips for entrepreneurs who aren't quite sure if they should follow Scaleup Vlaanderen's Internal Scaling track? "Take the plunge and just do it! The program offers highly valuable and personalized advice, tailored to each individual's unique entrepreneurial journey. The financial investment does not need to be an obstacle, thanks to the subsidy provided by Agoria and the SME portfolio. So, if you're ready to grow and boost your entrepreneurial strategy, I highly recommend signing up."
Is your company also ready to scale? Be sure to sign up for our Internal Scaling program! Through personal coaching and workshops we will help you in the next growth phase of your business.