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Feet in front of a start line

Growth Hacking: How to Start and the Missouri Business Experts Who Can Help (Part 3)


We’re exploring how growth hacking can drive rapid growth in startups.

In Part 1, we talked about growth hacking basics and how your startup can leverage them.

In Part 2, we covered the process, costs and strategies you can implement for your business.

Now, in Part 3, let’s dig into the people, tools and resources that can make growth hacking work for you.

Who can help with growth hacking?

You don’t have to go it alone. Many Missouri programs and business experts can help you outline and implement your growth hacking strategy.

If you’re still working on product development, have we got concepting, testing and validation help for you! Check out the MOSourceLink Starting a Business Guide.

As for specific growth hacking strategies, don’t feel like you have to do it alone. Get help from Missouri specialists. For example, just in Kansas City, you have access to The Freelance Exchange and Social Media Club of Kansas City may help you connect with social media experts. Plus, GotDevKC is a directory of pros who can help with everything from SEO to website development. The Finance and Marketing Metrics Clinic at Washington University in St. Louis can provide strategic recommendations focused on your startup's financial and marketing challenges or opportunities. Peruse the MOSourceLink Resource Navigator for 600+ resources across the state that can help.

The MOSourceLink calendar also highlights events every month to help entrepreneurs like you with growth and marketing. And our Resource Rail highlights amazing resources at every step of your entrepreneurial journey.

You’ll also find a ton of contact and demographic information at your local library. Some libraries even have dedicated business experts who can provide even further assistance. For example, you can access resources and business experts at the Springfield-Greene County Library, St. Louis County LibraryKansas City Missouri Public Library’s H&R Block Business and Career Center, and Square One Small Business Services at Mid-Continent Public Library in the Kansas City metro. And there’s a Facebook group for every interest – including growth hacking.

Looking to find your funding connection?

Start with our Money Guide and then give us a call to get matched with the right funding source for your business.

Top tools, books and resources for growth hacking

Growth hackers tend to have tools that are personal favorites. Anita Newton, chief innovation officer of CommunityAmerica Credit Union, recommends Airtable.

“It’s a low-code platform for building collaborative apps,” she says. “We use it for everything. It is like having an additional employee on staff! We love it!”

High-tech gadgets aside, old school resources can also make a difference with your growth hacking journey.

“Editorial calendar. Make it, follow it, update it,” says David Hulsen, cofounder and COO of RFP360. “You can keep yourself focused and accountable if you have a calendar that helps you put out content regularly. This will help you pinpoint different stages of the buyer journey. You also may need to speak to different personas. Keep yourself organized and balanced with an editorial calendar. Review it with your adviser/mentor, and get a writer to help you if this isn't your thing.”

For Anita, two books stand out as invaluable resources.

“’Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products’ by Nir Eyal is torn from overuse,” she says. “I have gone back to it so many times. The principles are really helpful. Sometimes when I get stuck, I will flip through ‘Testing Business Ideas: A Field Guide for Rapid Experimentation’ by Alexander Osterwalder and David J. Bland. It offers a bunch of testing ideas across the three main categories: desirability, feasibility and viability.”

Talking to other growth hackers can be a huge help as well.

“You can read books and blogs, and that's great. But you also need forums to discuss and challenge yourself,” David says. “I'm not talking about a social group, but a formal, structured group that will stick to the topic and ask each other tough questions. If someone would lead it, great. If everyone signs a non-disclosure agreement, even better. But have tough conversations. Practice your pitches. Review each other’s websites. Talk about contracts, CRMs, invoicing and collections. And stop going if you aren't learning something each time.”

The start line on a track

How do I get started?

Whether you’ve been growth hacking forever or are looking to start, someone in Missouri can help.

MOSourceLink’s Network Navigators can provide a free Personal Action Plan and connect you with the organizations that can help you get where you want to go. Call us during business hours at 866-870-6500 or reach out online. Tell us what your business needs, and we’ll outline which of Missouri's 600+ Resource Partners can help you move forward.

Prefer an in-person meeting? We’ve got the next best thing. Schedule a virtual meetup with a Network Navigator here.

No matter how you go about growth hacking, remember that you’re working to build authentic relationships. And those connections might surprise you.

“I heard from the founder of a competitor after he had exited the business,” David says. “He watched us grow and blog about everything. He felt like he knew us. Wow, that made me feel good about really ‘putting it out there’ for everyone to see. Let your passion shine.”

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