The number of startups that are being set up every year has increased tremendously over the last five years. According to the GEM Global Report, about 100 million businesses are launched every year. That is not a number to scoff at! Don’t start smiling so soon, though. There is another side to this story.
Did you know that 90% of all startups fail? Most of them do not fail because their owners don’t know how to run their businesses, they fail because their owners do not concentrate on the most important part of getting a startup off the ground: accelerating the startup’s growth. Better known as ‘growth hacking’.
So, what is Growth Hacking?
Simply put, Growth Hacking is a mix of steps and actions that a startup’s owner can take to accelerate the initial and continued growth of their startup.
Hacking your company’s growth is the same technique that companies such as Airbnb and Twitter used to speed up their growth to become the behemoths they are today. Hence, there’s no question that the strategy works. The good news is, you can do it too.
Steps to Help You Growth Hack Your Startup
Growth hacking doesn’t begin when the company launches. Depending on what your business does and the industry that it is in, it could start before or after the launch. Below we look at some growth hack tips and tricks from some of the major companies.
- Create a pre-launch buzz – In some industries, especially those that need funding to bring a product to the market, creating pre-launch buzz can be a great growth hacking strategy. This can be achieved through reaching out to your potential customers where they are found.
As a case in point, creating ads on popular social media channels, news outlets and the like can be a great way to create enough buzz to propel you to a successful launch. However, don’t forget about some of the more traditional channels such as printed promotional materials, as they also represent powerful ways to generate strong buzz going into your launch.
- Build partnerships and engage your customers – Partners and the first hundred or thousand customers are vital to any startup. Every business ought to start talking to their potential partners and clients at every opportunity.
For example, you can email them, call them, reach out to them online, greet them at conferences, or talk to them about your business. You never know, you might reach out to someone who later becomes a vital part of your success.
- Provide value at every opportunity – People come to businesses to get a solution to a problem they have. Providing them with the value that they seek and going above and beyond in your delivery will not only lead to customer satisfaction, it may also skyrocket your growth.
- Leverage adjacent markets –Many business people will tell you that narrowing your field of view is the best strategy for your business: find one thing that you do well and do it exceptionally well. This may be true in a majority of cases but certainly not all of them.
Let’s say you are smartphone app developer. Your app gets launched and does so well on the mobile market that folks start demanding a desktop version. Do you stick to developing and refining the app for mobile or do you diversify and dip your toes into the computer software market? You decide.
- Reverse engineer your competitors – When most of us see our competitors doing really well, we start thinking of them as obstacles to our success mainly because they are taking up a market share whose portion should be ours. This is the wrong to look at business.
For your growth hacks to be successful, think of your competitors as learning lessons. Reverse engineer their strategies, learn what works for them and what does not and double down on what does. For example, as LanyardUSA.com points out, what ad campaigns are they running, what is their social media presence and engagement like and so on.
- Analytics are your friend – After finding out what your competitors are doing and doubling down on it, the next best thing you can do is to make analytics your friend. Analytical data holds so much power and the use or misuse of it can largely determine whether your business will be successful or not.
Look at what is working for you and what is not. Change what is not working and check the data again. Repeat until you see results that make your heart swell with joy and pride.
- Learn to piggyback on what works – Piggybacking, in this case, involves the incorporation of another business’ API, services or products into your own with the aim of leveraging their credibility. A good example of this is the Facebook API.
The Facebook API lets developers integrate the Facebook login page to their websites and apps adding credibility to the services through the incorporation of a well-known, credible and trustworthy service.
Growth Hacking is not a science. For most businesses and startups, it can be hit-and-miss. That said, taking the steps above will help get you on the right Growth Hacking path.