What is Growth Hacking and how to grow a business or a country

Everyone has heard of growth hacking buzzword. Yet, I've met many founders who don't understand what it is and when you don't need it, and when you do.

Mev-Rael

2021-07-18 5 min read

What is growth hacking?

Growth hacking is a mindset.

It is not marketing, it is not sales, it is not product management, it is not engineering, data and so on.

Growth hacking is all that.

Everyone can be a Growth Hacker.

The main difference between growth hacking and, let say, marketing and everything else, is mindset focused on only one metric - growth.

And depending on situation and current business stage, it depends on what exactly do you want to grow.

Usually it's more revenue.

Sometimes it is more brand awareness, more active users.

But it is never just a vanity metric, e.g. getting more page views is not a growth hacking.

It's a long-term mindset with the focus on end goal, what are you willing to achieve, what impact to get, it is about outcomes, not outputs. You might have 1000% more "growth" in page views, yet still see your business stay on exactly the same place.

I also want to point out that you always need to be very careful with "hacks". There are no hacks, shortcuts in life and business.

If it is too good to be true, than it probably is a fake.

When do you need a growth hacker?

One very important thing to keep in mind is current business stage.

Are you starting a new business, do you have product-market-fit, or are you an established successful business and are you growing?

I've worked with founders who were starting new business from scratch and they wanted growth hacking.

Let's go back to school and recall basics of mathematics.

A * B = C

A - this is what you have now.

B - is growth hacking potential, how much you are willing to invest.

C - results you are expecting, how far will you grow.

And if A is 0, then B doesn't matter, you will get C = 0 at the end.

You might invest trillions into growth hacking, but if there is nothing to grow, you only will waste a lot of time and trillions of dollars.

So make sure you have product-market fit at least before you do a lot of growth hacking.

However, as I mentioned growth hacking is a mindset and success metric depends on your goal.

You still can embrace growth hacking mindset at 0-to-1 stage, but in this case you have to do totally different activities, and your success metric and goal is to build a list of potential customers, strangers who don't know you and don't care about you and pre-sell.

At early stage of a business it's more of a discovery, rather than growth hacking. That might require a lot of resources in order to learn and find something what might work. That means that you will have to run campaigns, build different landing pages, test different offerings, change everything many times and you still might not see any results.

It is, however, possible to optimize discovery and innovation and increase success rate by minimizing the risk, but in this case you might need a product discovery, innovation "hacker" not a growth hacker.

First, build something people actually want

This is innovation curve or diffusion of innovation.

People who will be your first customers might be very different from your majority customers later.

At early stage you won't know exactly your best target customer, but you still have to target someone and be very specific.

You can't target everyone.

If you don't know where to start, you always can target innovators and early adopters. Find small groups and communities that you could target.

In that case then you would have to think how to "cross the chasm" or move from early adopters to main market, which would be your main challenge.

I personally prefer direct approach with sales mindset from the day 1.

First, you need to find one real customer and solve a problem for that one customer. Then two. Then tree, and so on.

That way, you won't need to worry about innovation curve and crossing the chasm.

Everything is a mindset. The way you approach your business is a mindset. Focus on making money from the day one. Don't do anything for free and don't waste your time on people who just want to play around.

Be ruthless. Have ruthless focus and capitalistic mindset.

And when you already have a solid foundation, you have sales, you know your market and customers, then it is about growth hacking and finding the ways to optimize any of the funnel steps. Below I will be using most popular and general pirate metrics and funnel framework.

Growth hacking using pirate metrics framework

Most popular startup metrics framework used by top companies and product leaders across the world is the metrics by next five funnel stages:

1. Acquisition: How you get people to know your brand and come to you, and sign up.
2. Activation: How to give users a happy first experience, an "Aha moment".
3. Revenue: How you monetize and make money.
4. Retention: How you keep them coming back for more experience and keep paying you.
5. Referral: How you get them to tell other people and spread "word of mouth", build communities of evangelists, raving fans .

Altogether we get acronym AARRR. Hence this is why it is called a “Pirate Metrics.”

This diagram shows not just pirate metrics and 5 steps in the funnel, but main hurdles in the modern startup business.

It is not enough just to acquire customers. Customer acquisition is getting harder with more crowded industries, more developed economies, more people connecting to the Internet and using it more often.

People now learn about any new product in seconds, they check reviews on YouTube, are exposed to many good experiences online and people always want more and better.

All that makes it harder for businesses to stand out from the crowd and attract customers.

You have to innovate constantly.

Even if you are government, bank or enterprise. You have to build the future, adapt, disrupt or be disrupted.

People go where they are treated best.

"CX/UX in modern world has become main value proposition."

I can choose to register a company and pay taxes in a country, or use a bank, or any other company which treats me best and provides me with modern, simple to understand and to use online platform, and customer support and service is like in a 5-star hotel.

So think how can you grow your business, startup, country, economy, charity by optimizing each step of the pirate funnel and serving your customers, users, citizens, visitors as kings and queens.

The world is getting more competitive and people go where they are treated best.

Discover business opportunities or grow your business or government and economy and contact Mev-Rael now.

Mev-Rael Consulting

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