The One Thing That All Entrepreneurs Should Know – Growth Hacking

You have an awesome idea. You think it will work and people will love it.
3 months later, you’ve built the product. But no one is coming. What’s missing?

Growth Hacking.

What is “growth hacking”? Why the word “hack”? Is it illegal?

Wikipedia defines it as “Growth hacking is a marketing technique developed by technology startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure.”

I don’t fully agree with that definition.

To me, growth hacking is a way of driving up the adoption rate of your technology using non-conventional or creative methods (which may sometimes be, ahem, a little on the grey side). With growth hacking, as an underdog, you can get away with using as little resources as possible (time, money) to achieve the maximum possible returns, allowing you to fight the battle with other richer or more established companies.

The beauty of growth hacking is that there’s no “right” or a “one-size-fits-all” approach. It is all up to you and your creativity. On this note, if someone is trying to sell you a “sure-work” or a generic way to grow your engagement and exposure, please call that bullshit.

To give you an idea of some forms that growth hacking might take, let’s take a look at some of the most famous examples:

The Airbnb Story

Airbnb was using Craigslist to find listings, then soliciting the people who posted the Craigslist ads and asking them to place their ads on Airbnb instead. At the same time, Airbnb hacked together a feature allowing their own users to submit their listings to Craigslist, even though this was against Craigslist’s T&C.

It worked. Users who came over to Airbnb from Craigslist no longer see the need to use Craigslist as everything can be done from within Airbnb’s platform. By the time Craigslist realized what was happening and cut Airbnb off, it was too late – Airbnb already “stole” a sizable group of sticky users.

The Paypal Story

This was officially denied, but it was said that Paypal cut a deal with a large group of eBay sellers to transact and receive payment only via Paypal. As a result of this, more and more buyers join Paypal just so that they can buy items off eBay. eBay took notice, worked out a deal featuring Paypal prominently along established payment channels such as Mastercard and Visa, and the rest is history.

Growth Hacking is a Must

For startups with limited budget for customer acquisition, adopting a creative and dynamic growth plan is a must.

Having a brilliant idea for a product or service is just half the story. Once you have your business idea all sorted out, spend your time identifying the most memorable, cost effective and creative ways to reach out to your customers and you will be pleasantly rewarded.

Don’t underestimate the importance of growth hacking.

On a semi-related note, I’ll be sharing how I acquired 2,000 active users for my textbook marketplace BookINBookOUT in a day with just $36 later this week. Stay tuned.


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