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Growth Hack - what it is and how to make it work

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Web Summit 2018 - presentation by - Saalim Chowdhury, partner of 500 startups

Growth hack - means... growing quickly by cutting corners, having the magic bullets of success that will bring results quickly...!?!

UH - Sorta....

Here Saalim talks about the different approaches to business each country in the world has - and being familiar with these village types to effectively enter the market

"The is no defined way that has worked in the past that will work again", said Saalim. From this talk my takeaway of a growth hack is - revolutionists desperate for a new identity, a new label or a disruptor on how to be successful and credible at the same time - a term that has little depth yet trying to cover a wide range of options while sounding important. The fact and truth is, the more experienced and daring your marketing and sales team, the quicker the bullets will be found to grow successfully.

Excuse me for saying that when I first came into contact with this term just four months ago I was left confused, worried that I had been left behind or that I just couldn't compete. The truth is - the term growth hack is just another way to say business development, or sales - finding the best and least most expensive channel to bring as many sales as possible while also increasing brand awareness.

As Saalim explains, the problem is we can't explore everywhere - we need to be calculated and focused for true success. Growing fast comes down to knowing who you are, what you stand for, how simple it is to communicate what you do - to the audience that is most going to believe that you are their solution.

Saalim's talk was over-subscribed with many forced to stand or sit on the floor for the hour session

It is a mindset of focus, discipline and experiment and not being afraid that there's something new to try - not to box it up and lay the same cards time and time again.

"A success for a start-up is learning to accept failure and learning from these failures, and always asking questions." For Saalim it's about building strong working relationships involving a variety of perspectives, the entire organisation and being comfortable with ambiguity, staying hopeful but not impatient.

For a start-up the growth must be focused on revenue, not solely on number of users, the bottom-line growth will offer stability and sustainability - and for any marketing and sales campaign this should be the core focus.

Any business leader who is good at his job won't know everything and must employ talent with the experience and knowledge to leverage new opportunities.

OMTM = one metric that matters

It's the customer; it's assessing their behaviours and responding to their needs, learning what they are doing and how they are doing it.

By tracking the human aspect of their journey and what they are doing to get there will enable the business to focus on the product and solving its customers needs easily and efficiently.

Saalim's advice for B2B growth is to find people who are going to be a strong advocate for you and your business - someone with high emotional connection to your solution - who will benefit personally and professionally and will help you talk about your offering.

The biggest piece of advice for start-ups:

"If a founder and your mission is to put your vision on the world, you need to give up now - it’s about the customer, them being the motivation allows for responding and delivering a product that will grow and develop - it's best to be servants to your customers."

Being a start-up will be a journey, but if you follow the upward arrow and listen carefully and closely to your customers, by understanding them and giving them the outcome they want - you will see yourself hack into the growth.

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