Most startups spend the majority of their time focusing purely on product and fall into the ‘busy’ trap and neglect the equally, if not more important pastime of growth strategy optimisation.

Most of the time it’s due to three main things:

  1. Growth per see: Successfully gaining growth and continually growing week on week is a really hard gig. People are intrinsically scared of failure so they set their growth KPI’s too low.
  2. Systems: making growth systems is hard and most people have no idea where to start to make them.
  3. Product: neglecting your product to focus on traction and launching your product not 100% perfect is emotionally hard.
Sheda uses design and emerging technologies like A.I and blockchain to solve complex problems that make and accelerate impact and bring about postive social change.

Basics of growth

Let’s chat about the basics. For the purpose of this blog we will assess the three phases of implementing and testing the variety of growth strategies. 

Growth strategies are broken down into traction channels. A traction channel as described in the book Traction: A startup’s guide to getting customers by Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares is an avenue by which your business attains users/sales.

The book outlines nineteen traction channels in total.

As an example email marketing, event marketing and public relations are three different channels out of the nineteen.

How to implement and test growth strategies

Step 1

At SEED we aim to turn you into what we love to refer to as a Growth Guru. To become a growth guru you need to test say three channels in parallel as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

I normally do three as I’ve found five might just be too many. You tend to lose focus and one channel is not enough as you need to move quickly and cost effectively into the testing phase.

Then test another three channels and so on until you find what are the best traction channels for your product.

Do this only by backing it up with data, not just assumptions  – this is crucial.

Step 2

Once you have found the best traction channel implement it fully.

Playing it safe in this phase (once you have data backing up your prediction) is actually playing it risky. You need to be ruthless here and execute the strategy with full force, full funding and flawless confidence.

Then once, and only once that traction channel is exhausted are you allowed to re-explore more traction channels. Growth needs focus and a lot of love and care. Do not neglect it.

Step 3

Remember growth triumphs everything in your business. It is crucial to your survival and success.

Put in systems that allow you to remember to spend time purely on traction oriented tasks not just product tasks. Put in place tools that analyses how your growth is tracking or not tracking on a routine basis. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet, don’t knock em they work.

Continue to track, reiterate and implement traction strategies throughout the life of your startup that are optimised for the size your company is as it grows.

So what are my next steps?

Implement, iterate and test which traction channels will set your company and product apart from the million others out there.

It’s easy to pre-judge a channel as we all have our bias but as a wise man once said “Don’t knock it till you try it”.

Put your bias to the side, take the guess work out and test, you don’t know for sure which traction channel will work until you test it.

It is important to test using the three phase method outline above and only making decisions using data to back up your presumptions.

Then execute with focus and confidence. 

Happy traction-ing.


Christopher Bartlett

@ Sheda

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