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Its First Year, This Startup Struggled to Get 75 Clients. Five Years Later, They Have 18,000. Here's How They Did It. Financial planning startup Facet knew they were targeting a huge untapped market. But getting clients wasn't as easy as they hoped.

By Liz Brody Edited by Frances Dodds

Key Takeaways

  • This startup shares three tactics that helped them grow quickly and effectively.
  • "Don't be afraid if that first client doesn't come from where you want it to."

This story appears in the September 2023 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of Brent Weiss
“Don’t believe you always know the truth,” says Facet’s Brent Weiss. “That can take you on the wrong path.”

A great business idea is worth nothing, until you can find paying customers. But how?

Here's a start: Think like the founders of Facet. It's an online financial advisor platform that spent years (and multiple pivots) figuring out how to get members. Now it has 18,000 of them, and brings in $35 million in annual recurring revenue.

Facet was partly born out of a new rule issued in 2016 (but ultimately never implemented) by Obama's Department of Labor. It required financial advisors to become fiduciaries (meaning they must act solely in their clients' best interests). What caught the attention of Brent Weiss and Anders Jones was a number they saw in the public comments: The planning industry said this would make services too expensive for 8 million people currently using advisors.

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