In Africa, I have learnt that big press release rarely moves growth. Growth is not a one-time event. That is where it becomes challenging. Yes, you have built the product, ran some press releases and now you are waiting for sales to take-off. Nothing happens. You have paid Google and Facebook for adverts, waiting for the bank accounts to respond, nothing happens. This part of the world is different; you cannot hack growth as they do in America because hacking the pockets of Nigerians (and Africans in general) is tough. Yes, when the average income per day is $2, it is harder to find money in that pocket even when you have hacked into it!
One way to make growth happen is to have a system that actually measures growth. Until you have a clear desired growth target, you would be unable to mobilize the required resources to make it happen. Without measurement and pursuit of targets, everything becomes guesswork, a simple pendulum or rollercoaster with no clear deliverable expectation.
Pulse: Facebook created a position for Vice President of User Growth, ran by Chamath Palihapitiya, now the CEO of Social Capital. According to Chamath, they realized at the early phase of Facebook that having many users in Facebook was the most important feature in the business. In other words, despite any engineered feature, if there were no people in Facebook, no one would have cared. So, to give users the best feature – having their friends, families, etc there – Facebook formed a growth group which does nothing but work out mechanisms to bring people to use Facebook. Until you can measure and work on things that matter, top-grade execution will not happen.
When you are growing, you are executing well, and one key thing here is that more people will like to come and work with you. In a big company, your unit will begin to attract top talent and in a start-up, more quality talent will begin to apply. Where there is no momentum – i.e. the execution is stunted – visions fade and paralyses emerge: a tribe of believers is lost, not just in the firm but also in the market. If the workers do not see any momentum, doubts set in and customer relationships will become secondary as everyone will be updating his or her CV more. Suddenly, the business that was attracting great talent is now struggling to keep those it wants to keep in-house.
Growth happens when there is a great product to sell. No other trick can work, and anything else will fade over time. So, the summary is this: Make Great Products That Wow Customers.