Media loves covering stories of startups that utilized unique hacks to grow their users and business rapidly. It’s become part of the “Facebook” dream (as opposed to the “American” dream) that many millennials have chosen to aspire. Traditional business development rules are broken every day when sites like Uber and Airbnb take off with seemingly unexplainable success, while many online businesses flail around with misleading statistics and unrealistic growth projections in hopes of finding that magic pill that will take them to the top.
According to this article, you are ready to growth hack your business, because at least 40% of your users says that life would not be the same without your product. If you’ve yet to reach that milestone, this article is for you. The rules of growth hacking your startup start long before the startup hockey stick success curve.
Rule #1: Don’t Look For Hacks
Prepare for the long haul in building a successful business. Many people search for growth hacks like looking for a magic diet pill – a quick fix for success without any hard work. As you’ll notice, there still aren’t any magic diet pills, and there aren’t any 100% guaranteed growth hacks. Looking for shortcuts to massive growth can take you down a path that may bring you some short-term wins, but in the end: value, service, and authentic buzz are the keys to creating a successful company.
Rule #2: Build A Great Product
If your product is really industry shaking, it will grow organically. Many business owners and marketers try to generate press when the product’s still not quite ready for market. A common belief is early buzz or speed to market is the key to viral success, but if your product/software/service stands out as the best of it’s kind, or completely changes an industry and improves efficiency, that will be your best growth hacking strategy.
Rule #3: Don’t Purchase Social Shares
There’re ways to pump up your stats by buying traffic, likes, video views, or application installs. This is a big no-no. These users don’t stick around, and Google and Facebook’s algorithms for finding false interactions are getting better and better. It has to be natural in the way someone finds your application and use it because they want to, not because they were paid to be there or tricked into it.
Rule #4: Nurture Your First Customers
Preferably paying customers. Not only can they become your raving reviewers and greatest ambassadors, but they also are your most valuable product testers. Listen to them carefully, watch their interactions with your product to know exactly how their experience is going and be available right away to help them out.
Rule #5: Find Partnerships With Bigger Players
Use strategic partnerships to overcome your business challenges by teaming with larger companies that share the same vision and target market. Or, expand your own target audience by tapping the audiences of your suppliers.
Rule #6: Create An Easy-To-Use Rewarding Referral Program
You need to be dialled into understanding your audience, and where referrals are coming in from. We want to try to make the conversion as easy and seamless as can be. Choose a great incentive structure.
Rule #7: Keep Overhead Low And Value High
When it comes right down to it, cash flow is king. The more you can keep unnecessary expenses down and invest deeply in product development, customer care, and sales hustle, the better off.
Rule #8: Find A Successful Mentor
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Hack your startup by using the expertise and experience of a successful startup founder or investor. Their knowledge can be crucial in helping you bypass pitfalls and distractions.
Startup incubator programs have a great mentoring process in place if you already have a start-up with some traction and show you’re ready to hustle for success. Alternatively, there is mentoring available at Clarity.fm and SoHelpful.me. Successful mentors are busy and have been successful for a reason. Don’t expect them to jump at the chance to give you their “spare” time to motivate and teach you. Read their blog posts, listen to any advice they have already shared before even initially asking for some mentoring. An excellent approach is to offer to intern or provide some value to them first.
The process of growth hacking is actually very simple and straightforward. Start by asking the traditional question “How do I get more customers for my product?”
Author Bio: Arash Asli is at the forefront of business growth. As Co-founder and CEO of Yocale, he has a unique blend of technology, business development, corporate, and finance experience. Arash is honored to have been named the Business in Vancouver’s Top Forty under 40 business executive. http://www.yocale.com