Whatsapp’s $19 Billion Dollar Lessons for Small Business Owners

Facebook Whatsapp $19 Billion
Facebook recently filed to purchase Whatsapp for $19 billion in cash and Facebook shares. This is a huge deal for both Whatsapp and Facebook.

Now…personally, I think it’s amazing that a small company, like Whatsapp, with only 50 employees could be worth $19 billion in cash and Facebook shares. And it’s something that has a lot of people in the tech community buzzing right now.

But…there is a lesson to learn here even if your business has nothing to do with the tech industry.

In fact, by looking closely at what Whatsapp did to achieve this level of success, we can all make our businesses better and achieve much higher levels of success.

A Lesson in Perseverance

Before creating Whatsapp, co-founder Brian Acton was turned down for jobs at Twitter and Facebook. Keeping his head up, he and colleague Jan Koum set out to do their own thing. Today, with only 50 employees, Whatsapp has over 450 million users.

The lesson for us here is that obstacles and initial setbacks in business does not mean that you are doomed to failure. As long as you keep pushing ahead and persevering you will find success in one way or another.

Success may not come from the direction that you initially thought. So keep persevering.

While many companies may start to try to do what you do, many will not push through tough times and actually quit. Over time, your business will continue to stand out as a true professional as you continue to build your brand.

A Lesson in Product Development

How many apps currently exist that allow you to message your friends? Like a million? Right?

You would think that the market for messaging apps would be somewhat saturated and that “it’s been done before”.

But that didn’t stop the developers of Whatsapp.¬†

They went out and developed a product they felt would be better than all the ones on the market. They had a vision for their company and they pushed ahead to create their dream messaging app despite any competing products. They were determined to be the best.

Do you have competition? Odds are you do, and very likely, more than one competitor.

But, that shouldn’t stop you from trying to be the best in your industry. Keep looking for ways to distinguish yourself from your competition. Where are their products falling short? What can you offer that others are not offering? What void in the marketplace can you fill that is not being fulfilled?

Survey your customers and see how you can improve your service or product. Even though “it’s been done before”…it can always be done better.

A Lesson in Customer Experience

Do you know how much Whatsapp spent in advertising to promote its app and generate 450 million  users?


That’s right…nothing, nada, zilch. They didn’t spend a dime in advertising or marketing to acquire so many users.

How did they do that?

They simply had a product that their users loved to use. It was simple, it was intuitive, and it worked. Their users are the ones that spread the word and grew the userbase.

You can do the same by providing a great buying experience and superb customer service. You can generate loads of business from existing clients just by making their experience a great one.

Everyone loves to talk about great purchasing experiences and sharing stories about how they bought something that was great. Why not let those types of stories be about your company?

Provide a great customer experience and let your business grow by referrals. Let your customers be your salespeople. Referrals are the best type of marketing that money cannot buy.

A Lesson in Working Smarter Not Harder

According to co-founder Jan Koum, Whatsapp handles some 19 billion messages a day and over 600 million photos shared every 24 hours. That’s a lot of messaging and usage for only 50 employees to handle…

But, they do.


These guys built a great foundation, a great platform, from the get-go. These guys are major developers and they focused on making sure they could handle all that usage and traffic very efficiently.

Is your business working at 100% efficiency? Most business don’t…but all should strive to.

By constantly tweaking your company’s procedures, workflow, and product and service delivery, you too can begin to work smarter and not harder.

Setting up a good foundation for your business and consistently making minor adjustments will set your business up for success as you find more efficient methods for running your business.

Your $19 Billion+ Business

Your business might never get acquired for $19 billion. But that doesn’t mean you can’t approach your business like it’s worth $19 billion and more.

You will never know how big you’ll grow, you will never know the impact your capable of making, you will never know where your dreams and goals will take you…unless you continue to learn from other successful businesses and apply what you learn.

What lessons have you learned from observing other businesses?

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