Going for growth on your own terms

Written by Frederik Kehler


My co-founders and I were recently accepted to the ‘Go Grow‘ programme at Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship. Without a doubt this is a huge opportunity for 21RISK, as it creates an extended network, offers mentors and lastly provides us a home for the next four months. We have joined this fine batch of entrepreneurs and companies including; the colourful and unique SoloSocksØnsk Coffee (probably the best coffee in the world)the revolutionary hair growth pills from HairLust and many other amazing startups.


Being included in the current Go Grow batch and surrounded by this much talent, I knew i had to do some digging on the latest growth hacks to stay competitive; Let’s first establish that growing is the ‘point’ of existing for most startups – that being said, what I found was surprisingly one-sided. ‘How to 10x your e-mail subscriber list’ and ‘Tips to reducing cart abandonment and save your revenue’. While most of the topics I discovered were relevant to many types of startups most were: B2C focused, had short sales cycles and largely in favour of pushing ‘buy’ messages across various channels such as e-mail marketing or social media.


I quickly realised how a fixation on growing key metrics becomes an impediment for founders, as they seek to succeed with their startup dreams. As in many other cases, the numbers seizes to matter when they become the goal rather than a vehicle to achieve. This is a central point that almost all ‘growth hacking’ literature ignores as it seeks to impress readers through relative numbers. I believe this sums up the current state of the growth space – all numbers are relative. The metrics that make sense for an online B2C retailer, won’t ever be equally relevant to startups that are B2B based and as such, usually have a longer customer journey.


Now, take a second to consider your own perspective on metrics and growth. Are you aligned with the expectations of your co-founders? Are you measuring relevant metrics? You’ve obviously made it to this post, which means you have most likely taken a deeper dive into the growth area than the average founder. Congratulations, you are already ahead of the herd!


I will leave you with my top three tips to positioning your mindset when it comes to growth:


#1 – There is no ‘one-fits-all’ size for which metrics or KPI’s to use in YOUR startup

Let your startup be it’s own. Don’t strive towards imitating competitors as your main strategy. Imitation is okay to a point, this is why most websites look the same – they’ve found a formula that works. Let’s underline the fact that they look similar, but are not identical. This should be the formula for finding the right metrics to measure your startups progress.


#2 – Metrics and Key Performance Indicators is a moving target

As your startup progresses through different phases or stages, the metrics you measure will most likely change. Don’t be oblivious to this, be proactive. Continually re-evaluate if your alignment with the current metrics is sufficient, if not, change them. Don’t spend months in a ‘creative process’ about how to change them or when to change them. Take action, be consistent and communicate it across your team so that everyone is on board.


#3 – Stay focused on what YOU think is the right way to go

While its always a good idea for founders to gather knowledge and second opinions, be careful your metric efforts aren’t under too much influence from outsiders. It’s easy to become confused when receiving too much input from the organisational environment around you, whether it might be your mentor, incubator staff, advisory board etc.

You and your co-founders should always be ‘experts’ on your startup. Experts usually act in a scientific framework, and you have the chance to do the same. Catalogue the opinions available, and reach a mutual understanding with your co-founders in terms of how to get optimal use of these. Exercising an ‘expert framework’ takes practice to learn. This effort is has a high return on investment, as it also provides you experience with a more structured way of working with opinions about metrics and growth in your startup.

‘Going for growth on your own terms’ is the second ‘quick-read’ in the startup series I am currently writing called ‘Chronicles of a twenty-something founder’

In case you missed the first article, you can find it right here: Waves of innovation comes from dangerous frontiers, not from safe harbours


About 21Risk


We save factories from fire.

The 21RISK product makes it possible for Risk Managers to compare the current risk of fire across a set of factories. Key information about current risks is stored and presented to Risk Managers in an easy-to-use dashboard, thereby making it easier to be a Risk Manager than ever before. The manager can now assign risk reducing tasks to specific employees and follow up on whether or not it has been completed. Furthermore, 21RISK has developed a universal metric to assess the current risk situation across multiple factories instead of just one.

Going for growth on your own terms
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