I was part of the founding team of 3 startups between 1999 – 2012. I also helped 4 other startups with marketing in that period. Between 2012- and today I have been advising startups and product teams of enterprises in US and India. I have worked with 12 great teams in this period and Customer Acquisition and Growth seems to be one of the top 2 challenges for these teams- perhaps for all startups. Continue reading
Hiring for startups is different as startups pay less than the market and compensate with non-listed (non-liquid) equity with a lock in period. I have hired for my startups in the past. However, to be honest, I have not figured out the formula to compensation structure, most of the times the compensation structure was based on ‘hunch’.
In this article I have tried to put a template for the cash vs equity decision. The numbers you arrive at with this formula are guidelines and subject to other subjective calls. Continue reading
It is difficult, if not impossible, to fill a bucket that has holes.One could argue the bucket will fill if the input rate is greater than output rate however at what cost?
Lean startups should try and address the problem of losing customers before they accelerate customer acquisition because a happy customer tells about service/ brand to 4 friends while an unhappy customer shares with 10 prospects. The typical hole in the bucket symptom for startups include low repeat usage, plateaued Monthly Active Users (MAU), negative sentiment on social etc.
Customer Experience study helps identify the holes in the bucket and convert first time product users to brand ambassadors. Continue reading
2013 has been a year of questions for me. Questions about business models, about pivots, about change of plan. The year started with a big question persist, pivot or perish WorldWithourMe? and then there were at least 4 major question every month.
It’s befitting that the last post of the year be about questions. So here’s my pick of 10 questions that have helped me evaluate startup ideas.
Happy Starting Up 2014! Continue reading
‘Agility’ is one word that is core to the idea of Growth Hacking. While classic Marketers rely on long term data and user behavior for decisions, Growth Hackers often work with smaller sample size and act in ‘real time’ to convert visitors to customers.
In my experience, email is one of the most powerful tools for converting visitors to customers. For example we improve conversions for an edutech startup by almost 100% within weeks, through an email campaign.
However, for email ninjas- life is inboxed. They live, eat, breathe emails. I use Plugins, Tools and simple tricks to help me manage my inbox. Here’s 5 favorite Gmail Plugins and tricks for Growth Hacking.
Gmail Tabs and Inbox Zero, Google Alerts and Labels, Rappotive, Yesware an Boomerang Calendar. Continue reading
Landing page and Pricing page are perhaps the two most important pages of a website and these two pages also have maximum dropouts. The opportunity cost of dropout from the Pricing page is higher as these are users that have shown interest in your product, spent time traversing your website and have ALMOST paid you.
What make some Pricing Pages more effective than others? What leads to better conversion? Is it slick design or simplicity? I have been working with ecommerce sites for close to a decade and half and here are the top 5 Pricing Page elements, in my experience, that have maximum impact on conversion. Continue reading
More often than not technology entrepreneurs are advised and conditioned to look at the larger opportunity, scalability and technology to solve a problem. Silicon Valley folklore is full of stories of Google’s simplicity, Facebook’s singular focus, Twitter’s scalability. We tend to believe that all growth hacks are technology solutions that seem scalable when they are conceived.
However, reality is much different, most Growth Hacks sound outrageous and unscalable initially and there is little or no tech. involved. Continue reading
Over the last 10 days a couple of startups I’m working with and a bunch of students I mentor have asked for help with Elevator Pitch.
Here goes a simple 1 Slide Elevator Pitch Template: Continue reading
One of the critical success factors for Startups is ability of the founding team to run quick experiments. The more adept a team is in running experiments the faster they are in iterating.
Experiments could be for Product Features or Markets. However, the goal of all experiments is to help define the problem statement. The following is a simple template to Plan, Run, Record and Manage experiments in a startup. Continue reading