Growth hacking has been used by many business owners and entrepreneurs to gain sales, some even reaching millions in a relatively short amount of time.
While not synonymous to marketing, the use of both growth hacking and marketing has been observed to gain positive results.
Entrepreneur Sean Ellis, the man who came up with the term “growth hacker” back in 2010, defined it to mean “a person whose true north is growth.”
Mainly, growth hacking is a process in which rapid experimentation of various product development and marketing strategies is conducted.
This is to pinpoint which ways are most effective and efficient for growing a business.
This process mostly involves finding low-cost inbound marketing solutions, such as using social media, targeted advertising, and other forms of alternative measures rather than utilizing the more expensive traditional means such as television spots.
Simply put, business owners need to try and test different methods to determine how to effectively and efficiently reach the online market, regardless of whether the business is new or if it has already been established for some time.
If you want to improve your business, here are 25 questions:
What is Your Goal and Why?
A goal is important in keeping your business on track. Identifying one would help you and your team stay focused on the direction you are going. It also helps keep everyone on the same page.
Without a goal, however, your business will just be moving along aimlessly, without a set direction to follow or a level of achievement to aim for.
Identifying your goal is not enough, though; you also need to state the reason why you want to achieve it.
By identifying why your goal is important to you, you can keep things in perspective.
You will be able to remind yourself why you started in the first place, especially during those times when it seems your business is not moving forward or when success makes you feel a bit lost.
Do you have a long-term plan?
Many corporations draw up a 10-year plan for their companies, outlining the steps they would take in order to achieve their respective goals.
You won’t go wrong in trying to do the same for your business. Come up with your own goal for your trade, stating what you want to achieve in five or 10 years, and then state what steps you intend to make in order to achieve it.
And while circumstances might prompt you to change certain aspects of your plan, your goal will keep you focused on what you want to accomplish.
Furthermore, a goal with its accompanying business plan will help you maintain a sustainable endeavor. It will keep you grounded even when your growth hacking efforts result in instant success.
What’s your goal today?
While a long-term plan is important in keeping you in the right direction, this may become overwhelming. Therefore, it’s important to chop this in smaller chunks, setting annual and monthly goals.
Moreover, you need to set manageable tasks each day. This is like taking a step at a time toward the checkered flag without getting overwhelmed by the journey ahead.
Achievable daily goals allow you and your team to have a more positive outlook toward the project.
Small everyday goals will also allow you to evaluate your daily input and output, nipping at the bud anything that might become detrimental to the growth of the business while encouraging what is beneficial.
How can you achieve your goal?
While it is vital to carefully plan your strategy, it is not going to gain positive results – or any result for that matter – unless you implement it.
Some entrepreneurs make the mistake of taking so much time formulating their future moves that weeks and months go by without actually getting anything done.
Usually, the only way to prove that a strategy works is to put into use.
You may find that it’s not as perfect or smooth-sailing as you hoped it would be – you may need to tweak it as you go along – but this is how you can tailor your game plan to fit your unique requirements.
What does your knowledge and experience tell you?
In setting up your business, it is highly likely that you have chosen an industry that you are, in one way or another, familiar with or one that you at least have some background knowledge of. In formulating your strategy, incorporate what your know.
Also, implement what you have tested or experienced before, staying away from the negative and applying the positive. For instance, if you’ve had a bad experience with a business owner who ignores their customers, then ensure that you don’t exhibit the same attitude toward your own customers.
Also, while it’s advisable to keep on learning and growing, it’s not favorable for your business if you get tied up with the things that you cannot yet do.
Give yourself time to learn those without losing focus on doing what you already can do. Find where your strength lies and build up from there.
Are you bold enough?
Some of the most successful businesses are the ones that are not afraid to make a statement. This means breaking off from the convention, making decisions that some are afraid to make, and moving forward.
Of course, it is not wise to be guided by mere impulse. Bold decisions should be accompanied by wisdom and balanced with tact and care.
This is because a wrong move could be detrimental for your company’s future.
What did you learn today?
While you shouldn’t be tied with the things you can’t do yet, this should also not stop you from learning how it’s done. This will help you in moving forward and expanding your business later on.
Also, industries – and the business sector as a whole – evolve, and you should be able to keep up with the times.
Even if you have a brick-and-mortar store, for instance, it’s now important to have an online presence; thus, you need to educate yourself when it comes to blogging, social media, search engine optimization, responsive web design, and so on.
But learning is not just about adding to your knowledge. It is also important to pay close attention to your target audience, how they are behaving, and what new things they are responding to.
Which of your business activities pay off the most?
Since growth hacking involves trying out different methods and then identifying which ones work best for your business, then it’s necessary to constantly evaluate the things that you’re doing.
You need to pinpoint which activities are the most effective and efficient for your business. You can also try making a list, from best to the worst performer.
By doing this, you can put more focus and strengthen the efforts that work.
You can also weed out – or at least put in last priority – the activities that don’t provide a good return of your investment. Investment does not only mean money, it also means the amount of time, effort, manpower, and other resources that you put in.
How can you improve your product or service?
As you go along, you will be able to determine what works and what doesn’t, what your customers like and what they don’t, and what kind of marketing strategy prompts reaction and what goes unnoticed.
It’s always good to pay attention these things and then improve your product or service based on the feedback that you get as well as current trends.
Of course, you can’t please everyone and trying to do that will only result in your company losing its unique identity.
Nonetheless, you need to be flexible in order to meet the demand of your target audience.
For instance, car manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW stick to the image they’re known for but they also incorporate state-of-the-art accessories to meet their customers’ needs.
Where do you find solutions?
The answer is everywhere. While you may find probable solutions in books and how-to articles, there’s a bigger chance that observation, an open mind, plus hard work will provide the answers for you.
For example, from the idea of turning their loft into a bed and breakfast with three air beds – as “a way to make a few extra bucks” – Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia went on to establish what would later become known as Airbnb, the multi-billion dollar online marketplace for rental places.
Even though they were rejected by investors more than once, they persevered and continued to find ways to make it work. Ultimately, they found that using their background in design helped them become what they are today.
How many projects are you focused on?
While it’s all right to get excited about new ideas, working on several at the same time often produce poor results.
It is better to sort your priorities, then give each project full attention. This will allow you to study it, tweak it if and when needed, and let it take root. You will be able to personally examine what works and what does not.
Where does your business income go?
One of the things that a business owner should be careful in handling is its finances. Many successful businesses have fallen due to mismanagement of funds.
The income of your business should always be bigger than the expense, thus it’s important to plan and budget any expenditure.
You need to review the things that your business is spending on and cut out the ones that don’t have a positive impact on your endeavor.
For instance, bonuses for your employees may seem like an unnecessary expense. However, if it keeps the morale and productivity high, then the returns could be bigger than what is spent.
One of the methods for managing finances is to keep business processes efficient. Efficiency means keeping the production high at the lowest possible cost.
This does not mean lowering your standards when it comes to the quality of your product or service, it just means finding ways to keep expenses at the minimum.
Reinvesting some of the profits back into the business is also a good way of making the business grow. Rather than rewarding yourself with a big bonus once profits come in, you can consider putting some back into the capital.
Who should you hire?
Of course, you need the best people for the job at hand. Qualifications are important but, sometimes, personality is a more important gauge.
For instance, a person who does not have much experience but is dedicated at learning the craft can later prove to be a better choice than an experienced but hard-headed employee.
Another factor to consider, especially when looking for someone to fill a management position, is if the person can do things you cannot.
While it’s important, as the owner, for you to know every nook and cranny of your business, there are people who may be able to balance your weaknesses with their strengths.
How informed are your team members?
The success of a business is a team effort and, as the leader of that team, you need to guide your members.
Keeping them properly informed so they don’t feel lost, educating them on what needs to be done, and updating them on the status of an on-going project will keep everyone on the same page.
Motivate your people to learn. For instance, there may be opportunities for seminars that would help both the person and the company.
How efficient is your system?
Efficiency is an important part of a business as it saves resources such as time and money.
One of the ways to achieve this is to formulate systems for each project, such as in processing customer inquiries or complaints, putting out new social media and blog posts, sending out marketing emails for special offers, and the like.
Here are some suggestions in order to achieve efficiency:
· Some of the processes in your business can be automated to make them more streamlined. This will make the process faster with minimal manpower requirement. You must be careful when you automate processes, however. Make sure that you maintain your personal touch so your customers won’t have the notion that your business is cold and distant.
· As they say, time is money so you should manage it effectively. Organizing your schedule and allotting time for certain tasks means you will be able to attend to the things you need to do and still have time to rest. This equates to productivity and staying on track.
· Outsourcing labor if and when necessary is a practical option since you don’t need to hire additional employees – what it takes is finding the right person or people to do the job.
By targeting efficiency, you will avoid incidents such work going back and forth unnecessarily, pointing fingers when something goes wrong, etc.
This also means you will have more time reaching out and communicating with customers and business partners, as well as having enough time to relax.
Who do you get support from?
An essential part of business is socializing, and this means reaching out to people around you and building healthy relationships with them. Building a community of supporting people can keep you motivated.
This community may include family, friends, neighbors, as well your team, employees, and business partners.
Another group of people that you may want to build relationships with are those in your field. Rather than seeing them as competitors, it is not likely to hurt to, at the very least, be cordial with them.
Also, you may find that being in good terms with people of influence can help boost your business in some way.
To start, you can “like” or “share” their social media posts, give positive comments, mention or quote them in your blog, and the like.
Who are your customers?
Identifying your target audience is one of the most important things in establishing a successful business. Not only will this help you stay focused, it will also guide you in tailoring your products, services, ads, and marketing efforts to gain their attention.
This will also keep you from wasting resources on trying to attract people who are unlikely to be your potential customers.
How solid is your reputation?
Your and your business’s reputation are part of what will make or break your endeavor. A solid reputation means your customers can trust you to provide them with quality products and services. This also means that you keep your promises and that what you do is aligned with the principles that your business is projecting.
With a solid reputation, you can confidently build your image online.
Do you keep your promise?
Every customer expects nothing than the best, and your best is what your customers expect from you. Quality in either service or product is what helps build trust, and going the extra mile prompts them to come back for more.
Moreover, make sure you deliver what you promise your clients and, if possible, give more than what they expect.
What do your customers say?
Whenever you can, engage them in conversation, either personally or online, to help earn their trust. Ask for their feedback, host live chats or webinars, or simply respond to their social media comments.
You can also encourage or even invite your customers to give their reviews about your product or service. Testimonials are a good way of encouraging other people to try out what you have to offer.
Your Presence and Visibility
Online presence is one of the best means of gaining more customers. Even if you have a brick-and-mortar shop, people these days are likely to search for you in the Web first, either for directions, customer reviews, products you offer, prices, or simply to look into your background.
How can blogging help?
Blogging is an effective way to provide your current and would-be customers with valuable information. If done right, the content you share will encourage them to patronize your products or services.
Contributing articles to other blogs can also widen your reach. Guest blogging will allow you to tap the audience of the blog as well as help you build your reputation as an expert in the field.
How does social media help?
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, among others, are some of the the best tools you can use to make your business grow.
Not only can you reach a wide audience, these can also help people spread the word quickly. If your campaign fascinates people, it can go even go viral, spreading your name online like wildfire.
· Sharing your blog posts on your social media accounts is one of the ways to use the platform. This will draw in more people to read the content in your blog.
· You can also use your social media account to attach your brand to other influential businesses and personalities, by following them or liking and sharing their posts.
· Encouraging your audience to share user-generated content, such as photos and hashtags, to express their experience with your product or service can increase people’s trust in your business.
· Moreover, social media allows your audience to interact with your business directly. They can air out their support (or complaint), and this would allow you to act quickly, either to reinforce or address the subject in question.
It is advisable to focus on one or two social media platforms so that you can properly maintain them.
What else can you do?
· Build an email list. By having a database of email addresses, you can send your customers or interested parties updates about your business, straight into their inboxes. Offering a subscription to your blog, give away freebies like eBooks, and do other activities to build your list.
· Research the keywords suited for your business. Search engine optimization is one of the methods used by businesses in their campaigns, so that when a potential customer does a search, the business name will appear on the first page of the search engine results. The top result always has an advantage because it’s likely to gain the most clicks, which translates to more business.
· Invest in marketing. While this may be costly, it can produce good results if the marketing campaign is done properly. You may need to hire professionals to help drive traffic into your business, but you may find this to be a fruitful investment.
Your Partners, Competitors, and Other Companies
Who should you work with?
Experience is said to be the best teacher and, as you go along in your business, you will, no doubt, learn more and more.
However, it is also good to listen to someone with more experience than you, so having a mentor is a good way to learn the ins and out of your chosen endeavor.
A professional person or company is also a good source of information, so teaming with one is beneficial.
In terms of gaining more traction in the field, you need to have a social presence; therefore, you need to network as best as you can. This means widening your social circle and creating partnerships with other businesses that would be mutually beneficial.
What about the competition?
It is good practice to know what your competition is doing so you will be able to formulate a countermeasure if there’s a need.
For instance, your sales may be affected if a competing brand slashes its prices to 50 percent. If that’s the case, what would you do?
However, it is not good to be so focused on what your competitor is doing that you are already failing to run your business independent of it. You need to be able to focus on your goal, adjusting the process to keep up with the trends.
All businesses have their own backgrounds and stories, and there are things you can pick up from their experiences. You can perhaps mimic some of their strategies to see if they work for your business.
These are just some of the things that you can do to boost your business. You can apply them to see which ones work for your. After all, that’s what growth hacking is about.