Of late, the internet has been crowded with dozens of growth strategies and tactics like Fake It Hack, Exclusively Hack, and The Aha Moment Hack. Never heard of them? Don’t worry. Growth is more of a process than one or two tactics. It doesn’t mean you should not use the few tricks you have up your sleeve but rather that you should understand how to make it a scalable and repeatable process.
In this article, instead of talking about all the numerous growth hacks that you can apply to your Startup, we are going to focus on how to use them. Whichever growth approach you choose to take, you’ll need to know how to implement it in an organized manner and create a rhythm that will allow your team to conduct experiments effectively for the maximum impact. Here’s a 7-step process that you’ll find very useful.
1. Define Your OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)
The OKR framework was created by Andy Grove to help define the company’s and team’s objectives in line with linked and measurable outcomes. It aims to provide a framework for critical thinking and discipline so that employees can work collaboratively with a synergy that is focused on making measurable contributions in the right direction.
Start by asking yourself what you wish to accomplish and form your objectives from the answers you get. Here are some pointers:
- Do not be afraid to make them ambitious or even a little uncomfortable. Otherwise, what’s the point?
- You also want to ensure that each objective you set is crystal clear enough for you to know with ease whether it has been achieved or not.
- Start with three to five objectives. Too many, and you might be overwhelming your team; too little, and you’re not doing enough to grow.
- Ensure you can see the end in sight. Make it as specific as possible. For instance, instead of saying “grow userbase” you want to go with something like “grow userbase by 30% in one year.”
Having a quantity and duration in mind is very crucial so that you don’t simply end up guessing your way to failure.
Here is an example of well-set objectives borrowed from Uber:
Objective: Increase number of drivers in the system
- Increase driver base in each region by 20%
- Increase the average driver session to 26 hours per week in all active regions
Objective: Increase Geographic Coverage
- Increase coverage of SF to 100%
- Increase coverage for all active cities to 75%
- Decrease pickup time to <10 minutes in any coverage area during peak hours of usage
Objectives: Increase Driver Happiness
- Define and measure driver happiness score
- Increase driver happiness score to 75th
2. Brainstorm Your Ideas
But you already know that. When planning for anything serious for your company, you need to take some time to brainstorm all possible ways of getting there, especially when it comes to setting and achieving objectives.
If your objective is “to increase paying users by 10%,” you could start by investigating how your competitors are motivating the conversion of free accounts into paid accounts. You could even research how others outside your line of business are increasing their revenue and see if their methods can apply to your company. Be sure to stay in contact with other growth teams so that you can learn what’s working for them and what’s not. The more information you garner, the more ideas you get.
Do not forget to keep a record of all those ideas as they come to mind lest you forget some of them by the time you get to the implementation part. Or even just for reference in the future.
So you’ve done your brainstorming thing. You’ve even done it with your team, and you now have some excellent ideas you feel could work. The next thing you want to do is decide which of the ideas you will put first on the to-do list. Here are some guidelines to consider when setting the priorities:
- What are the chances of this working? However clever the plan, it is no good if it can’t bring the results you are looking for. Categorize them according to low probability (20 %), medium probability (50%), and high probability (80%).
- What is its potential impact? Take into account your plan’s long-lasting effects as well as the one-hit wonder effect. Which one would you rather have?
- What resources will you need and how much of it will be required? Take into consideration the amount of time, money, and human power it will take. You don’t want to be too ambitious.
Do you have a hypothesis? You should formulate one. A good hypothesis will have an element that describes its viability, impact, as well as an assumption. It should read something like: If successful (viable), X will increase by Y (impact), because of (assumption).
You also want to make sure that you justify your assumption both quantitatively and qualitatively as well as through secondary information:
- Quantitative: previous experiments, surrounding data, and funnel data.
- Qualitative: Support emails, user testing, surveys, and recordings.
- Secondary info: blogs, competitor observation, networking, and case studies.
What’s left is to execute your plan. Conduct the experiment anywhere between 30 – 90 days. Measure and record the results on a regular basis. Each and every other week would do just fine.
What did you learn from your experiment? Answering the following questions will enable you to know exactly what you got out of the process:
- What was the impact?
- How accurately did your predictions come to pass?
- What is the reason for the results you saw?
Be sure to document your findings and keep them safe for reference in the future.
So, did your experiment yield positive results? If yes, you need to document the step-by-step process you took and use it to form a repeatable process.
For example, Uber created a playbook for launching in new cities because they knew it was something they often do. You don’t have to go back to the drawing board every time.