Growth Teams

How do I start working on growth in my startup?

A question that startup founders always ask me in mentorship sessions: “How do I start working on growth in my startup?”

The answer depends on the combination of different factors, like:

- Current resources: what human resources, skillsets, tools are currently available?

- Hiring requirements: do you want to hire one person or a team? Do you want to outsource?

- Budgets: what budget do you have for hiring, tools, growth activities & campaigns?

- Short-term growth objectives: what are the main milestones you want to achieve in the coming year?

The ideal scenario would be to have a growth lead with a team of specialists in marketing, data, product, design, and tech that are dedicated only to growth initiatives.

However, this is not realistic for most startups.

So, where do you start?

You can start based on your most urgent requirements or most important objectives. For the sake of this exercise, I will talk about 4 common scenarios that I see in startups.

But before we go into scenarios, let's align first on what a growth team is expected to do:

A growth team is a data driven group of specialists that use the art of experimentation to optimize user acquisition, retention, and revenue streams. Keep in mind that in order for the growth team to succeed, growth needs to be prioritized across the whole company and in its culture. This team will need support from all stakeholders so make sure they have it.

Here are the 4 most common scenarios and what to do in each to get started:

Scenario 1: You already have a marketing team that includes at least one brand/content marketer and one performance/growth marketer

In this case, you can hire a full-time growth lead to create growth strategies & implement them with the current team.

If you can’t afford or can’t find someone at this level, you can hire a consultant to come up with strategies and follow up on execution with current team.

The growth lead or the consultant would also assess if there's a need to hire more people in the team.

Scenario 2: You have a marketing team focusing on brand/content, but don’t have performance/growth marketers

To start from here, you might need to hire a growth marketer.

Or you can train a current team member and dedicate them to growth marketing (if they’re interested)

To lead growth, you can choose one of the 2 options in Scenario 1.

Scenario 3: You don't have a marketing team

From here, you can start by hiring a full-time growth lead or a growth consultant that:

- looks into business requirements

- builds a structure for your ideal team with KPIs

- create hiring plan/roadmap based on priorities

If you don’t want to hire a team, you can outsource the work to an agency. But you’ll still need to have someone on your side who understands growth to manage the relationship between your startup and the agency, and follow up on growth activities and results.

Scenario 4: Startup has a full marketing team with a marketing lead, but they lack growth skills/expertise

Best option is to train your team on growth principles, pillars and activities to build their skillset, and hire a consultant for a 3-6 months transitional phase.

During this phase, the consultant works with your marketing, data, and product teams to build growth strategies and ensures your team is on the right track until they’re ready to fly on their own!

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