In the startup and business world, you’ll hear the term “growth hacking” a lot. Some people believe growth hacking is essential to grow a company quickly, while others stay as far away from it as possible.
Growth hacking aside, you still need a plan and the right attitude for growth.
Jeeves went out and spoke to Tim Cakir, growth consultant and growth expert, to ask him about common mistakes he sees founders make, what a “marketing funnel” really is and why being data driven isn’t always the best approach.
But first, who’s Tim?
Before being a growth consultant, Tim was a growth hacker himself, obsessed with tools, technology, products and automation.
But he eventually realised that hacks are not really all that sustainable, and switched to where he is now: helping people hire the right people, at the right place, with the right technology, processes and goals.
Essentially, he helps with growth operations.
He usually works with tech startups around the Series A and Series B step. Throughout our conversation, we came away with a few nuggets of information about growing a startup.
Tim says that too many founders and growth people will simply measure the metrics that everyone else is measuring: CAC, LTV, churn — the ones everyone knows.
But most people found those metrics based on a blog post they found online — in other words, not based on their own company.
In many cases, those metrics don’t make sense. For example, if you’re selling debit cards, frequency of use is a more important metric than number of cards sold.
For a Shopify store, the right metric might be shop reviews and repeat purchases, rather than total sales.
Instead of just taking the metrics that everyone else is using, it’s important to invest into uncovering what the right metrics are for your own company.
On the topic of metrics, Tim says that too many new businesses and startups are obsessed with being data driven, in following the numbers.
But instead, Tim says that businesses should strive to be data-informed, not data driven. That means: Use your gut feelings and intuition, and allow data to inform you.
How can you remain data informed? Tim is a big fan of setting up personalised dashboards for members of the team. Instead of asking the team to put together a report every Friday (which he says, is a waste of their time), use a tool like Databox so you’ve got the metrics at your fingertips. You can even ask the tool to send a personalised email with all the numbers you want every Friday.
Databox has an app, which means you can even view your reports on your Apple Watch. Talk about having data at your fingertips! Set up a dashboard on your founder’s Apple Watch and they’ll stop bothering the sales team, Tim says.
Be data informed, and give your team time to be creative, to think outside the box and concentrate on high cognitive work — not low cognitive work like reporting meetings.
At the end of the day, growing and finding product market fit doesn’t happen without having a good understanding of your target market. But Tim is not a fan of using demographics to understand your audience. Instead, he prefers psychographics, which tell you why someone buys your product.
He uses the example of Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne. Both men have very similar demographics, but completely different psychographics.
As the image says, you want to base your research on the problems and challenges people face, rather than their demographics. Ozzy Osbourne and Prince Charles have very similar demographics, but their reasons for buying a product might be completely different.
Tim likes to use questions like:
He says: “Be obsessed with the problem, not the solution”. And whenever possible, use frameworks and templates so you can learn more and more about your problem.
Tim walks us through an example of how understanding why your customers can make a big difference to your marketing and therefore growth.
A B2B company was struggling with its marketing department and struggling to grow. They sold high ticket items to companies and were very sales focused. Most of their sales were outbound, and the product had to be custom sold.
Tim did the required research on their target market and set up a marketing plan. But instead of marketing the company, instead they hired a junior person who was tasked with marketing the sales people themselves. This meant taking their online profiles and marketing them as he would.
In a high-ticket B2B scenario, Tim understood that the salespeople were the most important part of the process and a good salesperson is often why a customer buys in this scenario. As a result, growth took off very quickly, with salespeople closing 10x more deals and twice the number of salespeople joining.
When done correctly, understanding what makes your target market buy can add rocket fuel to your growth.
As parting words, Tim gives us three main tips:
For others interested in growth, he recommends the following resources:
To get in touch with Tim or learn more about him, visit: