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Growth Hacking in a startup vs in a company

Good news for all Growth Hackers. Our favorite topic „Growth Hacking“ comes over more and more. Welcome in Europe! I´m getting daily emails with requests for interviews, guest postings, speaking slots and so on. I love it. One question that is coming quite frequently is „Hendrik, do you think there is a difference in  Growth Hacking a startup and a real company?“ As a Growth Hacker born and grown up in a company my answer is always „Ohhhhhh, yes there is a difference“. 

What is clear, working in a startup environment is quite different to working in a corporate with more than 30-40 or 1.000 employees. And it´s not only a question of quantities like number of employees, stakeholders, competitors, markets or processes. Moreover it´s a question of quality like brand awareness, market position, agility, disruption, employee fluctuations and loyality. Both quantity- and quality figures can be curse and blessing.

Do you have an idea why there is no available content / ebooks / presentations for Change Management in startups? I do. It´s not necessary.

Love at first sight

I want to give you an example why there is a difference. We want to build a new fresh automated welcome mail for our new customers. What we already know is, that this email is the first real contact to our new customers and that this is quite important. Remember the story of „Love at first sight“ from Hollywood 😉

Let´s start being productive. In a startup it is quite easy. The founder himself opens mailchimp, mandrill, hubspot or whatever and starts writing down his love letter to his customers. No negotations, no technical dependencies. Just write it down, create a workflow in the tool, ready. And the next customer coming in, will receive it already.

In a company with a handful or 3 handsful of different departments and more than 100 employees it is not that easy. First of all, for automated mails there is no f***cking nice tool like mandrill in charge. We have to implement the email by itself, the trigger, the workflow, the tracking and everything by the development team. We have to wait for the next release. We have to do all the QA stuff around the release. We have to communicate it to Customer Service, Sales, Communication that there is a different Welcome Mail coming. And finally, one day before the release – the management says „Who is responsible for that creepy & nerdy piece of sh*t?“ Means, finally nobody of the involved people is happy with the result, because in companies it is always a question of compromises.

!Important note: Both examples are exaggerated and generalized – they don´t tell the true story. Any comments so far – do you have experience with the one or the other example?

Pros and Cons

Startups can be quite fast and agile on the one hand, but on the other hand they have different issues like no money, no experience, no customers, no partners, no brand and quite often a lot of pressure from their investors to deliver any return on invest.

What is an issue for a startup can be an advantage for a company. There is money for product development or marketing, a big pool of existing customers and partners to upsell or get real feedbacks, a lot of experience and know how, loyal employees and often a well known brand which can make everything easier. Just to name a few…

In the end, the big challenge for the founder- or management-teams in the new digital world is, to find the perfect organization to be agile and efficient but likewise stable and well prepared for the future.

To make it easy, in my last Growth Hacking presentation I made a difference between Growth Management and Growth Hacking. The term „Growth Management“ stands for building an environment, that makes Growth Hacking possible. And Growth Hacking is the implementation of smart ideas and hacks that makes your business even bigger.

Good news, my ebook with the title „Growth Hacking for Non-Startups“ is exactly about this topic. Unfortunately, only available in german so far.

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100 Ideen für mehr Reichweite und mehr Kunden

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100 Ideen für mehr Reichweite und mehr Kunden

Downloade kostenlos die besten Growth Hacks aus 500+ Projekten. Für B2B und B2C.

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