🔑 Key Takeaways
- Bringing on the right growth advisor and structuring the relationship properly can result in significant growth for a company. Valuable insights on self-reflection, building routines, and SEO as a growth channel can help drive business success.
- To succeed, companies should prioritize impact over activity and hard work. By keeping a laser focus on impact, they can become execution machines and build great products, a strategy exemplified by Facebook and other successful companies.
- To be a successful growth leader, prioritize impact, involve the executive team and family in the hiring process, maintain momentum, and continually review and align the strategy with the desired outcome.
- Leaders should prioritize hiring by developing a playbook that includes finding, assessing, and closing talent. Past performance is a good indicator of success, and involving family and executives can help in creating a blueprint for the team.
- While a former boss poaching a candidate is a strong signal of excellence, it's important to look for other signs of drive and achievement. Ensure product-market fit before seeking a growth advisor.
- Before pursuing growth, ensure your product has market fit. Isolate testing to an off-the-grid market to contain growth and get essential feedback. Choose a growth advisor with a deep understanding of growth levers, vet them for competence.
- A growth advisor's experience with experimenting and learning from different channels can make a huge difference in a company's trajectory. Though their prices may seem high, the value they offer is the result of years of hard work and expertise.
- To drive optimal engagement and avoid dependence on advisors, founders should structure early equity vesting with three-month cliffs, incentivizing advisors to constantly deliver value and training, and ultimately creating a partnership for mutual success.
- Finding a good growth advisor is crucial for any company. It is best to have someone in-house as part of the culture, but if not, bringing on an advisor can still be useful. It's important to incentivize advisors to share their knowledge and not rely on them long-term. Partnering with a network of advisors benefits everyone involved.
- Look beyond social media following and vet growth advisors based on past performance and their environment. Aspiring growth advisors should adopt an investor's mental model to pick the right companies to work with, especially if equity is involved.
- Before collaborating with a startup, make sure to request a long tail equity deal that aligns with the company's exit goals. Prepare for a long-term commitment as it can take over 10 years for companies to reach their peak success.
- SEO is an incredibly valuable growth channel for any company, irrespective of the size of the website. For smaller sites focusing on optimizing existing pages and creating a content strategy whereas larger sites benefit from user-generated content and SEO techniques. High-quality content answering the questions asked on Google can make a significant difference even for websites with less naturally created pages.
- Choosing the right keyword and optimizing for SEO can be a game-changer for a business. Having a dedicated SEO team working on a single keyword can potentially build an entire industry. It's important to understand the growth levers and optimize for AI to stay ahead in the game.
- Growth teams should test various channels, adapt to changes in search engines, and focus on what works for their business. Stay aware of potential shifts towards paid traffic and be open to exploring new avenues for growth.
- Hiring an engineer with a thirst for learning and surrounding them with experienced advisors can lead to successful SEO. Rely on agencies only as a last resort and keep up with new technologies to optimize growth.
- SEO efforts can take up to a year to show significant results and quality content is prioritized by Google. Self-reflection and improvement are crucial for personal and career growth.
- Taking time to reflect on what's working and what's not can help improve skills in various aspects of life, and implementing consistent routines can ensure success in both personal and professional spheres.
- Organizing themed dinners with like-minded individuals can build valuable business connections and great friendships, and make for a richer, more fulfilling life.
- From neuroscience to effective communication, growth principles, and longevity, Lenny's suggested resources provide valuable insights and skills to apply in various aspects of life.
- Asking a candidate to teach something new about growth during an interview can gauge their knowledge and unique ideas. Additionally, gradually incorporating a simple routine such as cold plunging can improve mood and sleep without costly experimentation.
- Balancing risk-taking with precautions like pre-post and holdouts can lead to improved growth results. Consider embracing multicultural influences and joining GrowthHackers for talent opportunities. Learn more from Luc Levesque at luclevesque.com.
📝 Podcast Summary
The Importance of a Growth Advisor for Business Success
The right growth advisor can have a dramatic impact on a company's success, sometimes resulting in hundreds or even thousands of percentage lift. It's important to know how and when to bring on a growth advisor, how to structure the relationship, and what to look for in an advisor. Luc Levesque shares valuable insights on these topics, as well as on the value of self-reflection, building routines, and cold plunges. Additionally, he discusses the importance of SEO as a growth channel, who it's well-suited for, and how it's about to change with Bard and ChatGPT. Overall, this episode is packed with insights that can help startup founders and product leaders identify growth opportunities, build effective teams, and drive business success.
The Importance of Focusing on Impact for Companies
The key to success in any company or organization is to focus exclusively on impact. By focusing on impact rather than just activity and hard work, companies can break through and make progress towards their mission. This is something that Facebook excels at, as evidenced by their reviews with the executive team where product area leads present their strategies and progress towards impact. By keeping a laser focus on impact, companies can become execution machines and build great products. This is a recurring theme across successful companies and should be ingrained in everything from performance reviews to overall strategy.
The Importance of Impact, Hiring, and Strategy in Leadership
Having a laser focus on impact is crucial to being a growth leader. Impact can be measured clearly and indicates whether a strategy is working or not. As a leader, hiring is the most important thing, and involving the entire executive team and personalizing the recruitment process can lead to better results. Additionally, involving a person's family in the decision-making process shows empathy and can lead to a better outcome. Leaders should be relentless and not let momentum drop in the recruitment process. Lastly, reviewing the strategy constantly and ensuring that it aligns with the top-level north star outcome is essential for success.
The Importance of a Hiring Playbook for Leaders
Hiring is a critical skill for leaders as team success heavily depends on the quality of hires. It is essential to have a hiring playbook that consists of finding, assessing, and closing talent. Past performance is the best predictor of future success. Look for signs of excellence in candidates such as repeated success, both personally and professionally. One should involve their family and other executives in the company and be relentless in their pursuit of success. Building a blueprint for the team can help in quickly aligning and reducing mistakes. Hence, leaders should focus on hiring and become world-class at it as it is one of the most crucial skills for growth.
Look Beyond the Poach: Signs of Excellence in Top Talent
One strong signal of excellence in a candidate is when a former boss leaves the company and comes back to poach them. This indicates that the candidate has a proven track record of exceptional performance. However, it is important to look at the full picture and not rely solely on one signal. When hiring for top talent, it is essential to look for signs of excellence and drive, such as being a founder, winning an award, or showing grit. It is also crucial to have product-market fit before focusing on growth and to find a growth advisor when you have established that. Bringing on a growth advisor too early can be wasteful.
The Importance of Market Fit Before Pursuing Growth
Building a product early is good, but growth should not be initiated until you are sure that your product has market fit. Growth without market fit is more damaging than beneficial to a product because it gives users a bad experience. Even though you need users to test a product to know if it has a market fit, it's better to isolate such testing to an off-the-grid market to contain the growth and get useful feedback. When looking for a growth advisor, go for someone with a deep understanding of growth levers, not someone who knows how to repeat a playbook. You can ask for help from an existing advisor or someone that understands growth to vet new talent or advisors to ensure their competence.
Why hiring a growth advisor is essential for building a strong growth loop for your company.
Hiring the right growth advisor is crucial for any company to build or ideate a strong growth loop that can have a company-changing impact. It is important to get it right, and even a little help or a simple conversation with a growth advisor can make a huge difference in the trajectory of the company. A growth advisor has experience with experimenting and learning from different channels which makes it easier for them to advise companies on what works and what doesn't. While their prices might seem absurd, they have spent years learning their craft, and that one conversation or meeting is all the hard work they put in, crystallized for you in the moment.
Structuring Equity to Drive Engagement and De-Risk Incentives for Advisors and Founders.
Equity is a great way to drive alignment of incentives between advisors and founders. Structuring equity vesting earlier rather than later, with three-month cliffs at the beginning can help de-risk the engagement. Ideal engagement would be an advisor constantly delivering as much value as possible and training the team as much as possible, and ideally not needed anymore after one year. Founders should avoid being dependent on advisors over time. The engagement should be seen as a partnership between the advisor and the founder. Incentives should be driven in the right way where the advisor is 100% incentivized to add as much value as fast as possible.
Surrounding Yourself with the Right Growth Advisor
Finding a good growth advisor is crucial and can be done through VCs, other founders, or world-class companies in the relevant field. However, it is always best to have someone in-house as part of the culture. If that is not possible, bringing on an advisor can still be useful as long as they are surrounded by a world-class doer and their knowledge is integrated into the company's culture. As a founder, it is important to incentivize advisors to share as much knowledge as possible and not rely on them long-term as an insurance policy. Surrounding oneself with a network of advisors is a great partnership, as it benefits both the companies and the VCs, helping everyone involved.
Finding the Right Growth Advisors and Talent
When looking for growth advisors or talent, consider companies that have a lot of traffic and users, as they serve as a great learning ground for growth. However, do not solely rely on a person's public halo, such as social media following or Substack newsletter. Instead, vet them based on past performance, the teams they have been on and their environment. For those who aspire to become growth advisors, adopting a mental model similar to that of an investor is important. The role is not just about having impact and knowing the craft, but also about picking the right companies to work with, especially if equity is involved.
Thinking like an Investor When Working with Startups
When deciding to work with a startup, it's important to act like an investor and ensure that there's a high likelihood of a decent outcome down the road. The equity structure incentivizes both the advisor and the founder, but it's essential to have a long tail deal that reflects the time it can take for some companies to be successful. This means asking for a long tail so that equity doesn't expire before a company can exit. It's important to factor in that it can take over 10 years for companies to exit so that you know what you're getting into. When working with a company, you are in it for the long haul, and it's important to make sure the deal structure reflects that.
SEO Strategies for both Smaller and Larger Websites.
SEO is an amazing growth channel because Google is a large funnel of existing demand for your product or service. There is an SEO play in any company, with different tactics and strategies according to the type of website (smaller targeted sites or larger user-generated content sites). For smaller sites, optimizing existing pages and creating a content strategy is key to grow through SEO. For larger sites with user-generated content, there is a greater optimization surface and viral loop feeding an SEO loop that continues to grow. However, even smaller sites can grow through SEO if they create high-quality content that addresses questions asked on Google. SEO can be a huge channel for growth, even for companies with few naturally generated pages.
The Power of Keywords and SEO in Business Growth
A small number of keywords can define an entire industry or a business in the world of SEO. The number one search result for a keyword can potentially build an entire business around it. SEO done right can be exponential and company changing. Therefore, it is important to have an SEO team working on a single keyword, as entire industries are based on one keyword. Knowing the growth levers is essential as it can be the primary source of growth for a company. There are different channels like social media, SEO, search, and upcoming platforms like ChatGPT, which require optimization strategies. Understanding how to optimize for AI is also crucial as Google is introducing an AI box at the top of search results.
Strategies for Effective Growth and Adapting for the Future
Growth teams should have a wide funnel of strategies and test different channels to move the needle. Viral loops, partnerships, SEO, social media, onboarding, or even M&A can be considered for growth. However, the focus should be on what works and pivot accordingly. With the latest change in search engines, users may get their answers directly in the search results. Therefore, businesses should be wary of informational keywords and their potential shift towards paid traffic. Companies should consider adapting to this change and make a shift towards channels that work for them.
Investing in internal talent for SEO and adapting to new platforms is key to staying ahead of the game.
The Google change is the biggest change since its inception and companies need to adapt accordingly. Investing in internal talent for SEO is crucial, hiring an engineer who is a relentless learner and surrounding them with advisors works well. Agencies can be considered only as a last resort since they work with multiple companies. The advisor should have prior experience in SEO and can bring in knowledge from outside to augment the internal teams. It's a very specific and tight channel, and knowing certain things about it can have a big impact. Companies should look forward to adapting to new platforms and technologies like ChatGPT to optimize their growth and stay ahead in the game.
The Impact of SEO on New vs. Existing Content
SEO impact can vary depending on whether you're building new content or optimizing existing pages. New content can take months to show results, while existing pages could see lifts of hundreds of percentages quickly. A rule of thumb is to give SEO efforts up to 12 months to see significant impacts. The days of relying solely on tricks, links, and keywords for optimization are over. Instead, Google prioritizes quality and user feedback. To achieve career success, it's essential to work hard, have an impact, and love what you do. Additionally, the art of self-reflection is important, where you iterate, experiment and become the best version of yourself through dedicated time for reflection and improvement.
The Value of Structured Self-Reflection
Structured self-reflection is a valuable skill to have. By taking an hour each day to reflect on what's going well and what's not, Lenny has been able to sharpen his skills in certain areas. He has a dashboard that monitors his progress in different aspects of his life, including being a better friend, husband, dad, and leader. Through structured self-reflection, he has been able to ask his kids for feedback on how to be a better dad and has implemented a consistent routine of one-on-one time with each of his boys. Finding a balance between personal and professional life is difficult, but reflection and consistent routines can help ensure that you excel at everything you do in life.
Building meaningful relationships through Lenny's Guild Night.
Having dinner with your family is important, but there are other things you can do to build meaningful relationships with interesting people. Lenny's Guild Night, in which he invites five or six people to his home to discuss specific topics, has become one of his favorite things to do. It's a way to connect with people who share mutual interests and can lead to valuable business connections or even great friendships. It's also a good reminder that making time for these kinds of gatherings is important, especially in the current remote work environment. Organizing these events at home and getting them catered can make for a richer life and great memories.
Lenny's recommended books and podcasts for personal and professional growth.
Lenny's recommended books showcase the importance of exercise, crisp communication, and growth principles. 'Spark' lays out the neuroscience of exercise, 'Smart Brevity' teaches how to communicate tightly, and 'Influence' by Cialdini offers growth principles. Additionally, 'Outlive' by Peter Attia emphasizes the importance of exercise for longevity, and 'Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit' offers advice on making your writing more engaging. Lenny also mentions watching podcasts on YouTube, with Andrew Huberman's being a favorite. As Lenny points out, these resources can be applied to both personal and professional growth.
Understanding a Candidate's Knowledge of Growth during an Interview
Asking candidates to teach something about growth that they don't already know, during an interview, helps to understand what they think is the top of the stack in terms of the smartest thing they know. It gives a sense of how much they know the craft and what unique ideas or tactics they bring to the table. Cold plunging in the morning can be very beneficial for overall mood and sleep, which makes it an effective addition to one's daily routine. It is suggested to start slowly and not too cold and build up tolerance over time. Not everything needs to be experimented, as experiments can be slow and costly.
Taking Risks and Using Precautions for Better Growth Results
Sometimes, it's better to take risks and YOLO it instead of always relying on experiments. This can lead to a better product experience and faster results, even if not all attempts succeed. However, it's important to use precautions like pre-post and holdouts to avoid causing major damage. Multicultural influences are a big part of Canada, making dishes like shawarma a beloved pseudo-Canadian food. Lenny from GrowthHackers recommends those interested in growth to consider joining their team, as they are always looking for amazing talent. To learn more about Luc Levesque and his insights, visit his website at luclevesque.com.