Why Growth is essential to Startups

Go Grow or go home
Why Growth is essential to Startups

The Go Grow accelerator programme is designed to help startups grow – and grow fast. Paul Graham wrote a great post in which he describes the essential correlation between startups and growth: “A startup is a company designed to grow fast. Being newly founded does not in itself make a company a startup. Nor is it necessary for a startup to work on technology, or take venture funding, or have some sort of “exit.” The only essential thing is growth.”

How to grow your startup

Further, Paul Graham suggests “To grow rapidly, you need to make something you can sell to a big market. That’s the difference between Google and a barbershop. A barbershop doesn’t scale.” There is no absolute formula for creating a successful and rapidly growing startup, however, there are two key ingredients: “For a company to grow really big, it must (a) make something lots of people want, and (b) reach and serve all those people. Barbershops are doing fine in the (a) department. Almost everyone needs their hair cut. The problem for a barbershop, as for any retail establishment, is (b). A barbershop serves customers in person, and few will travel far for a haircut.”
Luckily the possibilities of mobility offers great ways to solve (b), but you can still end up constrained in (a) and without the opportunity the scale you will not grow. “Most businesses are tightly constrained in (a) or (b). The distinctive feature of successful startups is that they’re not.” Graham.

How to measure growth

Growth can be measured on several different parameters; revenue, profit, team size, geographical scope, customers and so forth. Paul Graham argues that the rate of new customers is the best indication of growth: “When I first meet founders and ask what their growth rate is, sometimes they tell me “we get about a hundred new customers a month.” That’s not a rate. What matters is not the absolute number of new customers, but the ratio of new customers to existing ones. If you’re really getting a constant number of new customers every month, you’re in trouble, because that means your growth rate is decreasing.”

Based on several theories a good customer growth rate during “Proof-of-Business” stage is 5-7% a week. If you can hit 10% a week you are doing exceptionally well. If you can only reach 1%, it is a sign you have not yet figured out what you are doing.

If your startup have (a) something that a lot of people want and (b) have the possibility to reach them, then apply to the Go Grow programme and get help to reach that 10% customer growth rate.