Early stage startups are all searching for the same thing: growth strategies to excel their businesses and cultivate loyal customer followings. The influx of startup businesses looking to grow quickly has made the term “growth hacking” one of the top buzz phrases in the startup world. Growth hacking for startups refers to rapid experimentation across marketing channels, and most startups are game to try even the most out-of-the-box ideas to make their marks.
MonDevices is one startup that has shaken up its niche by applying growth hacking principles. Launched in 2015 via Kickstarter, MonDevices produces one of the most cost effective smart sleep monitor on the market. Their smart breathing and rollover monitor offers parents peace of mind (and sound sleep) because they know their little ones are being monitored through the night. I had the opportunity to speak to Lev Grzhonko, MonDevices CEO, to glean his insights on the most impactful growth strategies.
1. Build a team that is invested in your mission.
An incredible team is the foundation of any growing business. Utilizing each team member’s strengths to match the company’s needs results in increased productivity and results. Grzhonko attributes MonDevice's success to hiring people who are completely dedicated to the company’s ideas as well as one another.
“People see that our company has a huge social value. However, while we intend to save lives with our device, we think most businesses have social value that needs to be shared,” Grzhonko says.
Because of the nature of small teams, every individual has to pitch in. It's fairly common for small, scrappy teams to maintain a transparent work environment where co-workers are comfortable with one another and aligned with company goals.
But the startup world isn't for everyone: people who need to be told what to do or can only thrive in highly structured environments typically don't mesh with startup cultures. The ones who stay are the ones who feel impassioned by the work they do every day. Entrepreneurs know when they've curated the right team because every member has the capability of operating autonomously, and is committed to pursuing new initiatives to push the company forward.
2. Self-fund your business for slow and steady growth.
MonDevices emphasizes the importance of self-funding and maintaining a clear road to profitability. “It's very tempting to take venture capitalists' money," Grzhonko says. "Millions of dollars could immediately resolve the company's problems and give it a shot at big-time results. The issue is that it's unlikely to work, especially for entrepreneurs.”
Finding your own funding sources through bootstrapping and bringing the company to at least prototype/early revenue stage can be a more stable way to create a profitable business. VCs' goals are divergent from the goals of early investors and of founders. VCs have a large portfolio of companies, while founders typically focus on just one company -- the one they founded and created.
Although it is tougher to make a billion-dollar company without VC support, the fulfillment of going it alone is incomparable.
3. Focus on perfecting your product.
Concentrate on your product and don’t listen to the white noise around you. You will always hear about a newer product and a smarter and more energetic entrepreneur. If you want to make it as an entrepreneur you have to get used to constant competition.
There is a big premium on doing something well in any market. And if you can do it well while keeping it simple, reliable and economical, you don’t have to worry about the competition -- customers will come to you. According to Grzhonko, when you forget about the noise and concentrate on your process and product, you put your company in the best possible position for success.
"We went for the most straightforward technology that would bring most reliable results and remain inexpensive compared to all the competitors while setting off our overall vision to help those in need through wearable technology," he says. "Are we looking to future technology? Absolutely. We are not resting on our laurels."