3 Growth Hacking Mistakes That Can Kill Your Startup Dreams

— May 18, 2017

Everyone makes mistakes in business. Sometimes you make stupid mistakes like choosing a logo like this:



And sometimes you make a really bad mistake like Blockbuster, who had multiple opportunities to buy Netflix. Blockbuster executives laughed at the idea of owning an online streaming service but ended up going out of business shortly later.


When so many new businesses fail, it’s important to avoid any major mistakes at this crucial stage. Growth hacking helps launch a business and gives them enough capital to stay alive. It gives startups the ability to stay in business and gain enough customers to make them a viable business..


Here’re three costly growth hacking mistakes that have the potential to kill your startup dreams:


You’re the Only One that Thinks Your Product is Amazing


I once spent an entire year as an advisor for a startup that I knew was doomed to fail. They didn’t listen when I suggested their product was exactly like a million other products on the market. They didn’t listen when I suggested targeting a niche. And they didn’t listen when I said they could get the same basic thing for free.


I’m not a business genius as all my advice was basic business 101 stuff! I still got paid and they made three sales (not kidding!).


It doesn’t matter how amazing you think your product is. The only thing that matters is whether or not anyone wants to buy it or not. Neil Patel shared a huge mistake he made during the KISSmetrics launch on his growth hacking guide:


“You have to get your product out there, as fast as possible, to start collecting feedback and keep improving your product-market fit on a regular basis. I learned this lesson the hard way. When we started KISSmetrics, we used all of our funding to build the product.


It took us a year to build it and when we released it – we learned that our customers were happy with the metrics their social networks were already offering.


Not good.”


Trying to growth hack a product that no one wants is an impossible task. Don’t dump more money into trying to save something that’s simply not going to work. Test, get feedback and test again. Scrap Plan A if it’s not working. And don’t worry about anything else until you have the right product for the right niche.


You Put All Your Marketing Eggs In One Basket


The entire premise of growth hacking is to grow your business to a stable level. So why not put all your marketing budget into trying to grow as fast as possible?



Because you can bankrupt your company. It’s that simple. Sayed Shahnur, from Crazy Engage, shares this advice to growth hackers:


“The bottom line of this point is before you allocate your funds to promote your business by growth hacking, make sure you put a surplus of 15-20% as a miscellaneous expense on your budget. This will help tremendously as eventually, your company’s’ situation will change!”


Spending every dime you have on anything is a very risky move. Perhaps you’ll achieve the level of growth you want. Anything’s possible. But maybe you risk everything on the potential to grow your business. Don’t risk everything on growth hacking (or any other type of marketing or growth strategy) because nothing is guaranteed.


Maybe you have to start smaller than you want, but at least you’ll still have a business.


You Want to Be the Next Uber – Nothing Less


You have an idea and it’s brilliant. You could be the next Mark Zuckerberg, Travis Kalanick or Garrett Camp.


Again, it’s all about maybe. All new business owner have dreams of hitting the big time. Except for the majority of startup founders, it’s just a dream. In Growth Hacking: You Could Be Making These Rookie Mistakes, Andrea Willson explains that you shouldn’t be unrealistic:


“Setting a specific goal is a great idea but expecting the same explosion like Airbnb or Facebook experienced is not realistic. Settling on one or two goals based on revenue, number of customers, or followers with a sensible increase will set up your growth for success.”


Don’t adopt an all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to growing your business. You may get lucky and your business takes off like a rocket. But a better strategy is set realistic growth expectations instead of believing you’ll hit the business equivalent of the lottery.


The Many Businesses that Never Were


Millions of business have failed before they even had one customer. Millions more failed during the first two years. The ones that survived were both lucky and smart.


The popularity of growth hacking is more than a trend. It’s a way to jump start a business and grow to profitability in record time. It’s a smart strategy and it works.


Except when it doesn’t.


Making mistakes is certainly part of every startup’s journey. Just don’t make stupid mistakes that can easily be avoided by making smarter choices. It’s the difference between surviving the first year and failing before you even get off the ground.

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Author: Liesha Petrovich


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