Everything I know about Startup as a Growth Hacker

Start with Idea

People keep yelling that do not look for an idea but the problem. That’s true. If you always think of a new idea for a fancy startup, that might happen, but once in a million chance. You will fall into the trap of building a product that no one uses, the product solves the problem of nobody, it’s just a waste of time.

But, that’s not really true.

You have to keep an eye on everyday stuff to see if there is a problem. You are not seeking for the idea but keeping in mind the idea of solving the problem. You have to be the problem solver.

You might want to have a totally fresh idea that no one has ever thought of, but, there’s no way (once in a million again). Idea is cheap, just like a cup of beer, maybe less than that. Let’s see Uber, Google, Apple or Tesla are doing out there. The ideas you are thinking of right now they might think of several years ago or they have been entering the market yesterday. Let’s be real.

The easiest way to have an idea for a startup is just as simple as finding the way to enhance, to improve the current status of things. Always think that “can this thing be optimized?”, “do we really have to do it this way” or “is there a way to do this faster, less expensive”. Yes, you have to be innovative, you have to try improving things around you.

Today you can not buy a T-shirt oversea because people do not ship things over, tomorrow you have a startup connecting international travellers with local shoppers, see delivr.to.

Or, just be lazy. It’s bad until people see its benefit.

You are too lazy to water the garden everyday, tomorrow you have a automatic watering system for the entire garden.

That’s it.

Then find Customer

If you have that problem, it means there must be somebody out there have it too. Go find them and talk to them. Look back at how, when and where did you have that problem then identify who would be in the same situation. If you are a doctor, find the other doctors; if you are a gardener, seek for the other gardeners, if you are an FA, reach out to the other FA,… The more specific your audience is, the better. This will help you to understand more about the problem, define the customer persona and evaluate the idea. If there are so many people have your problem, that’s great, do it right away, you’ll make a product for a million others to use. If there is no one else, don’t be worried, you are so special that no one can understand your pain. You can still make it happen, but only you use it yourself. FA is still FA.

P.s: I’m building an app called “Daily Comfort Zone Challenge” pushing daily notification about a challenge to do, just to encourage myself to be more comfortable with being uncomfortable. I used to be a wimpy kid and I know there are so many people be like me too. But I don’t want to make a popular app (or no one wants to use mine, lol), just for me first.

Now, build your product.

Here are the core elements your product needs:

  • Solving the real problem. Of course, the most important thing.
  • Lean. If you don’t know this word, read the book “Lean Startup” of Eric Ries. Two other books you must read are “Getting real” and “Rework” by 37signals team. They are superb. In short, you have to keep focusing on the most important feature, solve the problem, done. Eliminate all the others. Start with the MVP, release as soon as possible, then get feedback, see people blaming on it, learn from the feedback and rebuild the 2nd, 3rd, 4th… version until it works like a charm. That moment when you get product-market fit. Then it’s your official launch.
  • Customer Journey Mapping. In the last part, we talked about understanding customers.Here you have to re-draw the map of using your product. Start from why, when, how they get the pain? What’s their true pain? then What you can offer them? how can they find you, into more specific, what is the first impression you want to show them, after entering the site, what would they do next, after downloading the app, how they will interact with you, etc. This will help you not only understand more about users but also bring the better UX, keep you on the right track.
  • USP. What’s your USP? You might have to hear this question hundred time when you want to raise fund from the venture capitalists. What makes you different from the others. Go back to the old friend’s problem and customers. This is how you will answer it: “X will get the problem Y solved by using our Z”. Or with the model of “What, how, why” like “A is the fastest way to do B“. You can learn more about creating an awesome USP Here, here and startup pitch here
  • Niche market. Start small, prove the model, then scale it. Don’t try to serve everyone, even when you are super big. You can see as big as Google or Apple, they can not serve everybody. Stop thinking mass early on.

Small tips:

  • Talk more about the pain, the problem and less about the product. 80/20
  • What they get/can do with your product under their point of view.

Now you got product/market fit. So, Let’s Growth Hack

  • What is it?

I don’t have a clear definition of this term. I like to describe it as solving a growth problem with the Limited resource, follow the process of

Acquire – Activate – Retention – Revenue – Referral

and make sure your solution is

 Doable – Measurable – Scalable

The Growth problem here might be to increase 100k more user in next year, get 10k more twitter followers this month or get the growing rate of booking at 100% per year.

A mindset of a Growth Hacker

  • Understand Product
  • Understand Users
  • Creative, patient and a bit cheeky
  • A real problem solver, always seek for the best solution
  • No Money Status
  • Hustler, eager to learn
  • The skill set of Designer, engineer and marketer, copywriter
  • Data driven
  • Hava knowledge about a Psychology to understand people behaviour easily.

I’m too sleepy now, I have to go for a bath. I’ll come back with a full post about Growth hacking later.

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