Subscribe to Inc. magazine

Angie's List Founder: Why Waiting Is Key to Smart Growth

Angie Hicks explains why her company waited years before expanding its product offerings.

Angie Hicks started Angie's List in 1996 as a call service to help consumers find quality home improvement companies.

The business has since expanded into providing reviews for hundreds of service providers, from accounting to childcare to tanning salons. This expansion didn't take place overnight, however. It was only three years ago that Angie's List added a health care category for reviews. 

During a conversation with Young Entrepreneur Council founder Scott Gerber, Hicks talked about the decision to expand into health care more than a decade after founding her business. 

"We could have done that earlier in the business, but it might have distracted us from what we were trying to accomplish back then," Hicks said. "By waiting, it still is valuable to the consumers, but at a point where the business was ready to expand."

While diversifying your product offerings is key, it's also important to remain focused on the very things that helped you grow in the first place.

"The core business is to continue to expand our existing markets," Hicks said. "When we look at our penetration in our markets across the country, they're at varying degrees, so there is plenty of opportunity for us to expand our member penetration and therefore the service provider revenue that goes along [with that].

So what's the next growth opportunity for Angie's List?

"The first 18 years of the business has been focused on helping consumers find the right company," she said.  "I think there's still opportunity for us to help once they find the company to actually get the transaction completed."

For more tips about expanding your business, watch the video below.


Angie Hicks on Customer Loyalty

The founder of Angie's List talks to Scott Gerber about building a well-known reviews site from scratch.

Last updated: Jul 17, 2014


Graham Winfrey is a staff writer for He previously covered alternative investments at Private Equity International magazine, prior to which he worked at Business Insider and He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Register on today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Livestream events | Comments

Or sign up using: