Growth isn’t about the right idea, it’s about the right people

Ok, you’ve done it — you’ve created a product, you’ve started a business, you have some loyal customers. The picture may still be a bit fuzzy, but you’re hungry to learn more; do more; and grow. So what do you do? You hit the numbers. If you’re growing at x rate now, and you double-down on your tactics you should grow — right?

Time and time again teams are plagued with the pressure to get things right. As companies grow, so do their goals; their teams; and their pressure to succeed. However, achieving growth isn’t a science. There isn’t an easy buy in, cash out solution, and there most definitely isn’t one answer to your problem. So how can you achieve growth if there’s no right answer?

What if that doesn’t work? What if the numbers aren’t reflecting the effort you’re putting in? What if you find yourself hitting the metaphorical chalkboard more and more without any immediate returns? Strangely enough, growth isn’t always a numbers problem — sometimes it’s a matter of people.

Find your launch team

There’s nothing more valuable than finding your launch team and your major supporters. Sometimes growth can make you feel totally alone — but you’re not! Look around you, look to your team. Growth isn’t a single person’s goal, it’s a company-wide mindset.

Find a team of people that both challenge and support you.

Whether you’re a growth marketer, a community manager, a co-founder, or a new hire — you should be proud of your work and your team. It’s important to find a group of people that both challenge your ideas and inspire you to think differently. Growth is about experimentation. Since there’s no right way to grow it’s important to find people who challenge your perspective or approach (and support your efforts when you need them most).

“Experimentation is the action or process of trying out new ideas, methods, or activities [not the right ideas, methods, or activities].” — Oxford Dictionary

So before you go on to think finding a team somehow translates into immediate returns, think again. A team isn’t an easy way to find the right ideas, but instead a move in the right direction.

A team is more than a support crutch

Think of any superhero movie — ever. Let’s take Wonder Woman for example. Yes, she has her own origin story; her own powers; her own specific mission or mindset — but she also has a team. Beyond her own story and strengths, she plays a key role within her team (The Justice League). The Justice League, for all of you cooler than myself, is a team comprised of some of DC’s universes’ top superheroes. Together, the Justice League can take on far more opponents and save the world rather than just their respective cities. The point on this isn’t to focus on DC’s comics but instead to show how even though each person has their own unique role, when people’s goals align — their strengths multiply.

Sometimes the best strength is recognizing your own weakness

Sometimes you need to ask for help to get something done — that’s okay! It’s hard to admit when you need help, but there’s no reason not to reach out. While growth isn’t about getting things right it’s most definitely not about getting things done entirely on your own. Sometimes you need a helping hand. For instance, when you’re throwing up a new landing page for a campaign or setting up a new program — it’s alright to ask for help. Invite someone to join your product, ask a developer if they have any input on integration, or see how you can meld with a community manager to strengthen your experiment.

When working with a team, experimentation shifts from a solo-player sport to a team challenge. As a team, you can come up with more ways to push the dial. More importantly, as a team you can celebrate successes and learn from mistakes — together.

Your team stretches beyond the workplace

Just like you and your team, your top customers are proud to be using your product. Celebrate their journeys. Reach out to your best customers, get to know their experiences, foster a relationship. While growth may seem like a numbers game, it’s just as important to understand the qualitative stuff. If you’re not building something your customers love, growth is always going to be a problem. Find out what they love about it, figure out how you can make their experiences better and reward those that are promoting your product, organically.

Make your customers feel like part of your family

Think about a time you went to a restaurant and had a terrible time. Your order was late, they forgot your drink, and you find yourself ready to leave an equally terrible tip. All of a sudden your server apologizes and offers you a complimentary dessert. You feel yourself unwind, you might even feel a smile coming on — that waiter just completely changed your experience.

Subtle actions can become powerful influences on people’s experiences. Think about how easily this situation could have gone awry.

What if the waiter didn’t try to fix the situation, would you ever come back?What if they didn’t offer you something, would you have bad mouthed them to your friends? On the surface, the waiter simply offered an apology with a dessert —in reality, they made you feel valued.

Now think about a restaurant you love. If you had an amazing experience somewhere, odds are you would probably recommend it to a friend. The same goes for products. When a customer has an amazing experience with a product, they repeat that experience to other people around them — they influence other people’s decisions based on their own experiences. In other words, an amazing experience has the power to influence future growth (in the form repeat purchases or new customers).

Growth may not be a simple science, but making a customer feel appreciated is.

Experiment with your customers — praise them, invite them to join your community, or rectify situations with customers that may have had poor experiences. Better yet, find ways to build relationships with your customers the same way you would your coworkers. You shouldn’t take your team for granted, so why treat your customers any different? Each customer has their own opinion, their own experience, and their own value — you just need to ask.

Together, customers; coworkers; and you can not only experiment more but achieve more. Although there isn’t any end-all-be-all solutions and this may not be the right approach, it’s definitely something worth trying.