Your growth plan [a checklist]

Craft your own growth strategy for your business.


Here’s that checklist:

  1. Problem Statement
    The foundation. The only reason a business exists, is to create value for someone. What problem do you solve? What change do you bring about? And…. for who?
  2. Current Scope
    What’s the aim of your marketing, right now? Do you need 100,000 new users, or will 100 do, for now? When do you need them? Your scope determines what strategies are fitting.
  3. Power Law of Channels
    Statistically, over 80% of your customers will come from only 1 marketing channel. Which one would that be, for you? Pick one primary acquisition channel… and then ignore the rest!
  4. Sketch the Growth Loop
    Can you sketch out a growth loop that fits with your product, you channel, and your revenue strategy? On the back of a napkin, you should be able to draw the main growth dynamic. 
    (Not sure? => Check yesterday’s email again!)
  5. Sales funnel architecture
    How do you convert people from your chosen acquisition channel into users/leads, and then paying customers? Outline your basic sales funnel structure. 
  6. Onboarding / activation strategy
    Just a signup is not enough. How do you make sure people become active, and unlock the full potential of your product? How do you make sure they stay around?
  7. Slippery-slide selling
    Okay, you’ve got your funnels (#5 and #6 above)… but does it all make sense from a user’s perspective? Remember the ‘radical empathy’ reframe? Remove any points of friction, and resolve any potential bottlenecks. 
  8. Riskiest Assumption
    What assumptions do you make that could kill your business model? How can you front-load those risks, and cut them out early? (remember the story about Elon Musk and the Tesla ‘battery risks’?)
  9. Forget about your vision
    Go from “solve world hunger”, to “make a sandwich for Bob”. Start somewhere. Start smaller. Start simpler. Start cheaper. What can you do right now to solve someone’s real problem (see #1 above), and pay you (that’s #8)? 
  10. Cut all the features
    Almost all products are over-featured and under-designed. Cut 80% of the features, until only the essence remains. How can you get Bob his sandwich right now?
  11. Dumb it down
    Cut out all the “10 dollar” words, and explain everything in 8th grader language. Assume people are busy, confused and unfocused (because they are!). Talk about the customer, and about his problems. Then explain in plain terms how you can offer a solution.
  12. Pricing
    With your offer down, it’s time to slap a price on it. Pricing is a complex topic of its own, but you want to optimize pricing to feed that growth loop. For now, just pick any pricing, and adjust later. It’s easier than you think.
  13. Growth modelling
    You’ve sketched a growth loop, but now add the numbers to it. I’ve given you an example in yesterday’s email. Those numbers are guesstimates (hypotheses) right now, that you can validate (Lean! See #8 above!). If you want, you can turn this into a full-fledged financial model.
  14. Increase cycle time
    Now that you have the growth model drafted up, think through how you can increase the cycle velocity. The faster it cycles, the more explosive your growth!
  15. Cadence & velocity
    Talking of cycles… there’s also a process cycle in your business. High-tempo testing.  Concept ➾ test ➾ data ➾ conclusions ➾ concepts ➾ etc. . Figure out how you can increase your cadence & velocity in rolling out experiments.


Needless to say, there’s more to consider once you get started:

  • Positioning
  • Scaling
  • Uniqueness 
  • Sales funnel structure
  • Branding & tone-of-voice
  • … 

But with what you’ve got right now, you can completely rethink your outdated, 10-page “marketing plan”, and work with a lean and simple growth plan like this, instead.

With all these reframes and new tools in your toolbox, I hope you’re starting to see a different way to look at your marketing. 

A way that’s less chaotic, more structured, and more focused
An approach where… 

…you’re not sitting down to write a blog post at 11pm, only to find out later that nobody cared… 

…you can communicate with increasing clarity, and hook people with your simple ways of doing business…

…you need fewer marketers, fewer “busywork” tasks, and still get more customers…

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