What is Growth Hacking?
Growth hacking is a term that’s tossed around a lot in small business startups. There are lots of mixed ideas about what growth hacking is, but its really simple: growth hacking is finding growth in unexpected places.
In the early stages of a startup, you don’t need a marketing team to manage you – because there is nothing to market or manage. And advertising your small business in a big way is often impossible due to limited, self-funded resources. As a solopreneur you are forced to exercise your creativity, ingenuity and outside-the-box thinking to skyrocket your enterprise to success. Enter Growth Hacking!
We know in small business the only metric that matters, is money – and money comes from growth. Sure, building relationships, getting involved in social media, growing an email list and all of those things you to do to build your business, boiled down, with all the flair stripped away, comes down to conversions and making money. We are in business to make money, that’s the bottom line.
So growth hacking is someone who thinks outside the box when it comes to traditional marketing, sales and advertising. They use every possible avenue to build growth. Every move made has one end result in mind – the bottom line.
Growth hackers recognize the world has moved online, and instead of pushing traditional advertising out into the world, they pull clients in through clever uses of the internet and social media.
Growth Hacking includes a person who:
- Optimizes their social media profiles
- They target a couple specific social media platforms to reach their intended audience.
- They are on the cutting edge of new apps, new software and new social media platforms – always trying to find creative ways to reach new prospects.
- They learn the language and rules of the new mediums, and since they are usually the first to try them out, they are the ones to create “best practices and protocols” figuring out what works and what doesn’t through tracking and analytics.
- They have learned to integrate a CTA (Call to Action) with every post, blog, photo, and newsletter to draw in more prospects.
- They don’t spend money they don’t have to. A dollar saved is a dollar earned.
- They don’t reinvent the wheel, instead they learn from the successes and failures of others.
- They find other successful people in their field, and instead of competing with them, partner with them.
And this is just for starters.
I need growth hacking in my small business.
I started my online training company for house cleaners back in January, it’s now March, so I’m three months old. Part of my growth hacking strategy was to pick a business that I could develop for little or no start up costs, based on my knowledge and experience of 24 years in business as a house cleaner. A business that could grow as I create more content, and a low risk business that if it totally didn’t work out, I’d have little to lose. I started out with my credit cards paid off, and my car paid off, and I took out no loans to get started. I’m paying as I grow.
My exit strategy: If everything in my small startup goes kaput – I’m out nothing but my time.
Possible lessons to keep if everything goes kaput: Everything I learn about online marketing and social media are skills I can use for the rest of my life, and they will transfer to any other business I create.
My Challenge is to take everything I’ve learned about house cleaning and turn it into an online course (series of courses) for sale. And I started with no email list, no friends and no followers. I had no newsletter, and no online marketing experience.
I had a personal Twitter and Facebook account that were basically empty profiles and parking lots for ghosts. (Ghosts: friends and fake friends who follow but rarely ever interact.)
My new business strategy is to use free channels of marketing and publicity to grow my new business before using paid online advertising. For me, that means:
- Creating and filling out business online profiles for social media networks.
- Then I have to quickly learn which platforms will grow my business the quickest. (Where is my target audience?)
- This means I have to learn to interact with friends, fans and followers in a way that is meaningful to them, to create a loyal following and prove that I can provide value.
- I need to call on every shred of creativity and imagination I have, to leverage my resources (time, energy and money) for growth.
I have to commit to learn new software, apps, and social media platforms to figure out which ones can save me time, money and streamline my work load. Once I find a solution that works for me, I have to add it to my budget, and figure out if the time it saves me, offsets the costs.
Budget for growth
As I grow, I need to be willing to spend money on apps, software, templates, advertising and online courses that will automate tasks and teach me the next steps I need to take.
Templates & Batches
Everything I’m creating, whether it is a blog, a podcast, or a series of posts has a formula. If I can template the formula, I can batch my projects (do similar tasks in the same session before moving on,) which will save me time when I do that task again. It will also make outsourcing a breeze when I turn the projects over to an assistant.
Decision to implement
As a solopreneur I am forced to move quickly. Some call it hustle, others call it cramming, but it means I have to think on my feet and make decisions quickly to maximize my resources. If there are three competing apps that will do roughly the same things, and cost about the same money, it doesn’t really matter which one I choose – it only matters that I choose one and implement it immediately. Streamline my routine tasks. I can always upgrade at a later date if there are gaping holes that another app or software can remedy.
These 30 Questions by Top Growth Hackers jump started my journey, and you can download them now (free).
Terms often associated with growth hacking:
- word of mouth
- relationship building
There is even a Growth Hackers Network It’s a mastermind of brilliant people who are thinking outside the box, surviving on instinct, intuition and innovation. Check it out, it’s where all the cool kids are hanging.