Growth Hacking Management
What is growth hacking?
Growth hacking is an intersection of product management and marketing. Could be defined as “scientific marketing” –> evidence based –> demands formulation of hypotheses and design of experiments. The ideal background of a growth hacker is IT, a developer looking into marketing (not vice-versa).
Simple ways to search for a product’s market fit?
Form and test hypotheses e.g. red button, green button, call to action button –> let the data speak for itself! To test a product’s market fit, begin with some research on social media and on e-commerce platforms (views, how many similar products get in people’s “baskets”).
What is the connection between growth and failure?
“Failure” is part of growth hacking processes but it’s not really a failure –> helps you focus on what really matters. The norm is finding things that don’t work – only 30% of growth hacks really work –> this process informs you on what to keep and what to abandon.
What is the biggest misconception about growth?
That good ideas apply to any product! Furthermore, people think that growth comes out of nowhere, like it happens overnight –> growth is a process that needs time (see above). It is after it has started that gains pace.
When should somebody start thinking of growth?
People worry too early about it. Before starting ask yourself: can this product/service grow? Do people look for it on Google? Do your research –> everything starts with the research of a problem and of its solution.
What should we look into when problems arise?
First of all, the idea should be valid –> go back and interview people, validate, do research for the product/market. Additionally, there should be an endoscopy concerning the skills of the team as well as on other market players. Try to find the bottleneck –> look into the data to find out what’s wrong.
Human Resources Management
What has HR to do with growth?
Hiring is part of every growth strategy –> the product is crucial but you also need the right people to deliver! You will need a small starting team for several years that will eventually lead you into the market and then let you grow. On this smaller size success depends on chemistry, not in special skills – later with a larger team, it’s a different story. The successful team should be a good mix of people, not same personalities –> diversity!
How do you understand if people fit in your company?
There is never a “right” question to figure this out –> hiring includes a lot of gut feeling! There are pre-employment challenges that test skills as well as tricky questions concerning the professional approach and character of the interviewee (tip when interviewed: NEVER talk badly about your previous employer). When a hire is successful start soon with a personal development plan so people stay with you!
Is company culture important?
If you don’t like where you work, you don’t do the “dirty work”, so culture really matters. Though, co-founders rush to think too much ahead, and top down –> you have to engage your team when designing the company culture (e.g. workshops) – this process takes time. In any case, at the beginning you need people that will do the “dirty work” –> hands-on approach, not a not-my-task mentality. This is the difference between big established structures (corporations) vs structures in birth (startups) –> people with corporate backgrounds are not easy to adjust in the startup context.
How does the recruiting process change overtime in a company?
There are different pre-hiring tests depending on the stage of the company –> at first you need generalists/doers, people that want to push things further. As you grow you need more specialists and more experienced people to establish more concrete processes –> you have to think of all the steps that come before you reach 150 people in the company. At the early stage you need young professionals with growth mindset but later you will need experienced professionals – something you cannot afford at the beginning anyway.
What happens when you have 40 people on board?
This is the time when you need structure –> not everyone can talk to everyone any more –> need for team leads –> team jour fixes. When growing, communication becomes a major challenge and this can be solved by a trial and error approach.
How to hire the best person when there are no good hires around?
Be creative –> look outside of Austria, Europe etc. In any case, networking/word of mouth is the most important source for finding talent (especially for tech talent). In this direction talk to people and share your ideas and values!
Do distributed teams work?
You should grow in this direction only when you are really ready. Consider always your resources and if you can use them efficiently –> think thoroughly if you can truly support a team remotely. Take also into consideration the culture of the company –> there is no universal recipe!
Conclusively, don’t rush, do thorough research and stick to the data for answers concerning the potential of your product/service and ask whether your team has what it takes to proceed. Keep a trial and error approach to abandon all the wrong hypotheses. Begin with a diverse team with a hands-on approach that fits the startup context, and be ready to set the necessary structures and communications channels as you grow. Talk to people about your ideas and values in order to find fitting employees for your company. And when you are about to hire someone don’t forget to ask yourself: would I go with this person for a beer? Most important of all: keep going and don’t let anybody stop you!