Growth Hacking Guide & Checklist

How to Grow Your Business and Achieve Inc. 500 Exponential Growth

High-growth, Inc. 500 growth, now they call it growth hacking. Whatever you want to call growing a business as fast and profitably as possible, it is merely aggressive and good business practice.  This is a quick & dirty guide for growth hacking.I placed in the Inc. 500 List of Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies for 3 consecutive years, back when the web didn’t even exist. The internet and social media has made it much easier to achieve high growth rates than it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to achieve high growth.  Both then, and now, the number one key to high growth is to create a marketing machine that provides you with a large base addressable market, and that allows you to quickly replicate & refine.



Growth Hacking Marketing Machine

 The Marketing Machine

To create hyper-growth you need:

  • Great branding & positioning of a great product – Don’t take this for granted.  More below.
  • Large addressable market – Everyone can understand what a large market is, but the key word here is addressable. Can you easily target, access, and message to them at a reasonable cost? How many different ways can you access them? More is better.
  • Marketing systems and processes – If you don’t have systems in place to provide data to measure your progress then you’ll never know where to spend your money, and then you’ll resort to guessing.  Guessing is NOT a good idea!
  • The right people empowered to act – Having the systems in place is only half the battle.  The right people who can interpret the data, refine the marketing, and continue to test new things very quickly is absolutely a priority.  Give your people the power to ACT! Everything falls apart without this.
  • Iterative testing & refining – This goes hand in hand with the right people. Your people will need to be analytical and creative. This is where you can manage to double your profit margins by increasing response by a tenth of one percent, which in turn enables you to spend more on marketing/advertising which helps you gain momentum.  

Without the marketing machine, you’ll need one heck of lot of luck. 

Branding & Positioning

Branding and positioning help create the soul of your product. Without it, again, you’ll need one heck of a lot of luck.  What would Apple be without the Apple branding. Half as successful?  So much has been written about branding that I won’t take much time with it here, but I want to make sure you REALLY understand why you need great branding.

What Branding IS

Branding is the foundation upon which you create customer value. Branding is the personification of your company or your product. Branding provides you a strategic point of view, a personality, a point of differentiation, and is central to your company’s “identity.” It takes hard work, an understanding of consumer behavior, an understanding of your market and its players, creativity, insight, and inspiration to create your brand.

To really understand this, let’s take a look at the top 5 most valuable global brands, their market capitalization (as of this writing) and the brand equity assigned to them by Millward Brown Optimor for Marketing Week’s Top 100 Most Vauable Global Brands 2013.


Rank Company Brand Equity($B) Market
Cap ($B)
% of Brand to Value
1 Apple $185 $422 44%
2 Google $114 $297 38%
3 IBM $113 $207 54%
4 McDonald’s $90 $98 92%
5 Coca-Cola $78 $178 44%
6 AT&T $76 $190 40%
7 Microsoft $70 $267 26%
8 Marlboro $69 $71 98%
9 Visa $56 $117 48%
10 China Telecom $55 $41 137%


This table is saying that the average brand value of these companies is 42% of their market capitalization (total worth).  You’ll notice some interesting anomalies, such as the fact that China Telecom’s market cap is less than their brand value.  Whether you believe the numbers or not, even if you cut them in half, the number is staggering.  That is why big brands pay so much attention to branding.  You should too because branding makes growth hacking infinitely easier.

What Branding Is NOT

  • Logo
  • Trademark
  • Letterhead
  • Corporate Mission Statements
  • Tagline
  • Advertising
  • Your Products or Services

 However, all of the above things should be created with your brand in mind. If you don’t solidly link you brand to these items, you are merely handicapping yourself.



Below is a check list of channels and marketing tactics and business models for testing. Please let me know if I’ve missed anything! Good luck!



Direct Mail
Inside Sales
Print Ads
Sales Reps
Social Networks
User Generated Content
White Papers




Growth Hacking For a Startup or From Scratch










 Tactics for Testing

Aggregate Demand
Automate Payment
Brand Assessment
Extend Brand
Differentiate with Color
Expand Internationally
Find Biggest Lever
Improve Margin
Improve Marketing Tech
Improve Delivery Speed
Improve Packaging
Improve Service Speed
Improve Testimonials
Increase Inventory Turns
Invest in People
Reduce Cycle Time
Refine Checkout
Refine Lead Conversion
Refocus on Customers
Refine Marketing Ops
Refine Ops Processes
Size Differentiator
Targeted Landing Pages
Test Payment Methods
Test Payment Terms
Test Price