Growth Hacking as a Strategic Approach For Startup Growth

What is Growth Hacking?

It’s no secret that most startups and small businesses at their infancy lack financial strength. In the fast-paced startup ecosystem, growing fast and in a sustainable manner is often the path to achieving success.

Growth Hacking is a term that has been vulgarised and became some sort of a buzzword in the startup ecosystem. Having said that, Growth Hacking consists in formulating innovative and creative strategies to fast track growth with the minimum resource possible.

This strategy utilises a mix of known techniques, innovative techniques, trends and insights to grow one or various areas of a business being it product/service launch (advocates) user acquisition (early adopters), user engagement (Retention).

Strategic approaches for scaling and growth.

The key for a sound strategic scaling and growth approach for your business or startup is sustainability. Growth Hacking can provide startups with extraordinary results however, this strategy is not the only strategy that can provide equally mind bowling results.

Take for example HubSpot’s approach to scaling, HubSpot approached scaling by providing high quality educational content covering inbound marketing. This enabled HubSpot to attract millions of visits to their site and then they converted those visits into customers.

Content marketing approach is where a startup concentrates its efforts on creating high value content to attract and engage this in turn translates into startup authority, trust and organic traffic.

Strategic Partnerships

Another alternative to growth hacking is engaging in Strategic Partnerships. This can take the shape of collaborations with businesses or Key Opinion Leaders (KOL’s).

This strategy can be very effective in providing new channels for customer acquisition, and expansion. Strategic partnerships is a win-win situation as both parties engage in partnership as they spot opportunities that are mutually beneficial.

Take Spotify partnership with Uber, this partnership allows riders to control the music during their rides, enhancing user experience and value proposition for both Spotify and Uber.

Community Building

Community Building is one of the commonly used strategies to fast track startup growth, building a strong community around startups value proposition and lead to organic exponential growth as word of month is still a great method to get a strong and loyal customer base converting those customers into advocates and early adopters.

Early adopters converted into loyal customers can be encouraged to be part of Referral Programs, meaning giving incentives to customers to promote startup offering. By doing so not only does the startup acquire new customers but they also build strong ties with existing customers.

These are a couple of strategies that are alternatives or arguable can add to growth hacking strategies. Needless to say that investing time and resources in market research, user feedback, and iteration is crucial to fine-tuning the product-market fit and obtaining sustainable growth.


When is the right time to start growth hacking?

Timing is key and is no different when it comes to growth hacking even though growth hacking fundamentals as mentioned above is inexpensive and resource effective it could do more harm than good when the timing is off.

The right time will vary from startup to startup however, it’s important to highlight that prior to engaging these strategies and approaches it’s crucial that a startup is tuned in achieving Product Market Fit.

Product market fit is achieved when startups understand customer’s pains, needs and wants and providing tailored solutions to serve them shows business maturity and capability to react to market signals.

Once a startup is in that stage then they can start growth strategies while continuing to build a strong relatable brand, meaning that in order to make the most of Growth Hacking strategies founders must make sure to set themselves up for success.

Remember Growth Hacking Strategies are not silver bullets they will not close the gaps on your offering and surely they will not convert unsatisfied or confused users into clear and happy users. Growth Hacking Strategies will simply magnify your offering and increase reach.

This then needs to be followed with a sound business model,in other words the startup must be Scalable and agile i.e. combining an effective use of resources and insights.

Having said that, all of the above is covered and your startup is looking to:

  • Quickly prove their concept

  • Validate the market

  • Attract initial users or customers

  • Limited resources

  • Competitive Market

All this combined with a unique offering that requires startups to educate users then it’s time to engage in growth hacking strategies.

Pros and Cons of Growth Hacking

The main pillar towards setting a startup up for success is making sure that there is a Product Market Fit, your offering must do what it says on the tin and the market must be receptive to startups offering.

However there are pros and cons of Growth Hacking and we are going to address a few of them.

Pros of Growth Hacking

Rapid Experimentation – Growth hacking is most effective on trials and  experimentation. Startups can quickly test new ideas, features, and marketing tactics to identify gaps and most importantly what resonates with their target audience.

Cost-Effective – It’s also easy on the budget, traditional marketing methods that require considerable budgets to start to make an impact, growth hacking is on the low-cost or no-cost strategy side.

Scalability –  As mentioned previously, Growth Hacking allows for scale, startups with a scalable business model will scale exponentially and reap higher benefits.

Data-Driven Decisions – Growth hacking has its foundations on data analysis to aid decision-making. By keeping a close eye on key metrics and user behaviour, startups can iterate and optimise their strategies for maximum impact.

Agility and Adaptability – To survive in an ever more competitive ecosystem startups need to be agile. This agility will allow startups to better use and understand growth hacking strategies and pivot their quickly to react to market demands and emerging trends.

Cons of Growth Hacking

Growth Hacking also comes with its Cons and they are as follows:

Burnout Risk – Experimentation and optimisation process is intense, it’s a numbers game and this can easily lead to burn out as startups compete.

Short-Term Drive – Some growth hacking strategies are geared towards short-term gains compromising long-term sustainable strategies. It’s crucial for startups to strike the right balance.

Ethical Considerations –  There is a high risk of startup cutting corners and crossing some ethical boundaries. Startups must develop a strong culture and values to mitigate such risks and avoid reputational damage.

Dependency on Third Party Platforms – Many of these strategies are facilitated and automated by third party platforms.  As this platforms become mainstream, Startup need to acount for changes algorithm, policies or even pricing.

Scalability Concerns – Startups need to factor that, strategies may work wonders at an early stage but may not be sustainable at scale.


Growth Hacking can be a powerful strategy once a startup is ready to adopt those strategies being it finding Product Market Fit, considering alternative approaches and waying pros and cons of growth hacking strategies.

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