10 Habits of High Growth Startups with Sean Ellis [Video]

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If you’re trying to cultivate a culture of growth at your startup, then listen up…

Entrepreneur, Investor, and Startup Adviser Sean Ellis is one of the smartest SaaS Growth Hackers in the industry. Sean has lead marketing teams with multiple well known high growth companies including Dropbox, LogMeIn, Uproar, Eventbrite and Lookout. Today, he’s the CEO of Qualaroo and GrowthHackers.com

Recently, Sean gave a talk at the Demo Traction Conference about the 10 Habits of High-Growth Startups (You can watch the full video of the presentation below).

Here are Sean Ellis’ 10 tips to grow your Startup…

1. The Product Fits the Market!

Make sure your product fits the market, and is worthy of growth. This means getting out there on a daily basis and engaging with your customers. Don’t just crunch numbers. Take surveys, get on the phone, send emails, and ask specific questions to your audience and make sure the demand and product are in-line. This will be a lot of hard work but in order to get the “product-market fit” you must put in the effort. This is critical for high-growth in the future.

2. Genuinely Curious about Customers

Successful companies really want to know why their customers are using their product, how they are using it, as well as why they aren’t using it. They want to know what makes them tick. What features of the product are they using?

3. Utilizing/Understanding Their Website Analytics

There is no reason why a company shouldn’t know exactly what’s working and what’s not working on their website. With companies like Mixpanel and KissMetrics, what in the past took months to figure out, now takes a matter of a few hours. Companies that really use this information to make better decisions on what’s working (and what isn’t) will be in a better situation to find hidden growth opportunities.

4. Optimizing Conversions (fix what’s not working and double-down on what is working)

Successful companies are relentless in conversion optimization. They are constantly improving on the desires of their customers (what’s working) and reducing friction (fixing what’s not working). With effective conversion optimization, you can increase customers and revenues without necessarily increasing traffic to your site.

5. Make Growth part of the Corporate Culture

Create a culture of growth within the entire company. This means being 100% transparent on what is going on from the engineers to customer support to the sales team. Everyone is putting in their two cents on how to grow. Ideas coming from different teams will be completely different, and the more you have the better.
Sean revealed that growth became such a deep part of Dropbox’s culture that in the early days they experience tremendous growth even though they didn’t have any marketing team for a full year.

6. Experiment on New Ideas

The best companies are running lots of experiments. This is taking all the ideas that you would gather from the company, implementing them into experiments, and finally returning the results to the company so they know what worked and what didn’t work. This will lead to an encouraged atmosphere of experiments.

7. Dedicating a Team/Time to Experimentation

A specific team within the marketing department must be given full permission to try new things on the core product and website. This dedication will put you in a position that will lead to growth.

8. Running Experiments at a High Rate

Creating an actual process and set of tools so that you could crank out experiments extremely fast and at a high rate. This means setting and meeting weekly experiment goals and hitting them. This can lead to some losses but it will lead to a lot of small wins too. These small wins add up big time! 1-10 experiments may work, the key is to input enough different experiments in order to find that one that works.

9. Accountability for Inputs (Growth Experiments)

If your company wants to grow 20% a month, it’s important to understand what exactly needs to be done to hit that growth goal. For example, “how many experiments are we going to need to run?” who’s going to come up with those experiments?” “who’s actually responsible for implementing those experiments?” And don’t forget to celebrate the people who came up with a successful experiment!

10. Doubling Down on Success

When something works, go after it, and expand! Make sure to share these wins with the whole company by looking back on what worked and why it worked. This trains people to think about what works and what doesn’t. Which will lead to better ideas for growth.

Here’s the full video of Sean’s presentation. It’s definitely worth watching the whole thing to get the most from Sean’s great ideas.

Which of these growth strategies are you using at your company? Which one’s are you going to integrate into your company culture now?

This is a guest post by Sam Schubert.

Aaron Zakowski
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