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Stop Assuming. Start Testing.

Article provided by Vodacom World

“Assumption is the mother of all failures.” You might have heard this saying before, or perhaps the less polite version of it.

This sentiment is particularly true in business. An unproven assumption can be the shaky foundation that causes a brilliant idea, or even a long-standing industry, to come tumbling down. BUT, an assumption that is tested, turned upside-down and inside-out so that it may be proved to be true; now that’s a recipe for success – and that’s what we call Growth Hacking.

So, what exactly is Growth Hacking? It’s all about conducting ongoing short-term experiments across all facets of a business – from the products or services sold, to the channels they are sold through – to find the most effective ways to grow the business. And like any experiment, the starting point is an assumption.

We all have assumptions about the business and industry we’re in. We think we know the people who buy our products or services, what they want, which areas they live in, where they hang out online and in the real world. These assumptions can be used to make blind bets, or they can be put to the test, and take a business to the next level.

Here is a fictional example of how growth hacking can help a business prosper:

Talon is a nail salon service that can be hailed to your location using an app. The team behind the company are deciding how they should communicate the service offering, and to do that, they’re going to conduct a Growth Hacking experiment.

The team is divided, half think that ‘Mobile Nail Bar’ is the best description, and the other half think that ‘Mobile Nail Artists’, will be more appealing. They are going to put their assumptions to the test. There are different ways to complete the experiment: SEO, a survey, or through direct sales; but the Talon team has decided to use Facebook ads. They will test the descriptions as headlines in three identical Facebook ads, over the same time period, to see which one gets the most interest amongst their audience.

The results are in. It turns out ‘Mobile Nail Bar’ didn’t come out on top, the most effective description is ‘Mobile Nail Artists’, receiving almost double the click-throughs.

To realise the real value of growth hacking, the team will continue to conduct experiments. The company could test what social media channels work best, what geographical areas they should expand to, what other beauty services people are interested in, and whether bridal showers are worth pursuing.

You see, Growth Hacking isn’t a destination, it’s an on-going journey of optimisation. Constantly refining your business, and cutting away all the clutter in communication and perfecting the product or service offered. Take a well-established company, like Facebook; they run multiple experiments on a daily basis. By keeping their fingers on the pulse of what they do, and how they do it, they continue to grow as a platform after almost 13 years of existence.

I’ve always thought of Growth Hacking in the same way as Bruce Lee approached fighting, “Be like water.” If a business is as fluid and versatile as water, it is able to easily adapt to the ever-evolving market it is operating in. But if it is rigid, and the market changes shape, a business will no longer fit in. A rigid business will try and squeeze into the market, and crumble to pieces.

Every business can adopt a Growth Hacking mindset to accelerate growth, and remain agile. WeAreMonsters are teaming up with Vodacom Business’ Fast Forward Sessions to offer a crash course in Growth Hacking. It will give business owners, start-ups, marketers, CTOs and other decision makers practical tools on how to apply Growth Hacking strategies to their business. Spots per session are limited, so be sure to register now.

By Stephan Stenfaardt, Co-Founder of WeAreMonsters

Vodacom World is a proud Partner of the NSBC.