Startup Growth vs Enterprise Growth

Product and Growth

Growth teams and product go hand in hand.

Good growth teams can do 3 things:

  • Optimize a metric.
  • Help get products to product-market fit.
  • Help validate learning.

Can help launch new products, scale M&A, and of course scale existing products.

Scale existing products (they do this best)

  • Pick a Northstar metric and scale that metric.

Launch new products

  • This is about getting product-market fit. Can help determine and find product market fit by launching experiments. If you're not a product-market fit they can dig into why and help the product team find the right metrics, understand them, and tune them to get to product-market fit.

M&A or "Second act" growth opportunities

  • Can help identify and test key assumptions and hypotheses.
  • Bring that learning back to the organization.


How to hire for a growth program. 3 buckets:


Find people with the right skills to do the work.

  • Walk you through a growth project the candidate took on.
  • Show their understanding of the market and customers.
  • Look for well structured process.


Growth is a team sport. If hiring a leader, they must be able to lead through influence. You're not always the person with the final call.

Culture fit

  • Culture of celebrating team success. Servant style leader is best. Celebrate and show what the team did over self.
  • Show how they mentored and empowered someone else.


A big bonus is some sort of entrepreneurial background. People who have gone out on their own and taken an idea and made something of it are really good at cutting through what matters most and getting people aligned.

New Leader Advice

Lead vs Do

As you move into leading you need to come up with the strategy, get buy-in and built the right team.

Don't fall into the trap of doing the work yourself. It's easy to fall into because you want to see results and you like doing the work.

It will slow you down and keep your team from scaling.


Don't try to do many things and be selective on where you start. Building new things is hard and always takes longer than you expect. Don't underestimate the number of zero-to-one problems.

Strategy vs Plays

As a growth leader, you're looking at strategy. You're looking for what the business needs are and what is happening in the market.

Don't assume that tactics that worked somewhere else will work here. Take a step back and think about:

  • What you're trying to achieve.
  • The dynamics of the company, customers, tools, etc.
  • How to tailor the tools to your strategy.

How to Maximize Throughput

The theory of constraints is a theory that is used to optimize the output of a system. It's a concept that is borrowed from engineering firms and those producing physical outputs.

For example, if you produce water bottles you might:

  • Source plastic.
  • Mold the bottle.
  • Create the lid.
  • Screw on lid.
  • Etc.

There is a maximum number of bottles that can be produced in an hour and in order to improve the output of that system there is exactly 1 constraint that singlehandedly bottlenecks the output of the entire system.

If you can fix that one constraint you can optimize the output of the entire system and then the constraint moves somewhere else.

How this applies to growth

Imagine you have a goal to improve the number of paying customers. Too often growth people start testing the website because it's fast or fun.

That will produce results but if you apply the theory of constraints you can achieve a more targeted and strategic approach.

This means looking at the entire journey across the website (from acquisition to referral) and determining the part that is most constrained and gets the most drop-off and fixing that first.

All the other efforts that come up or downstream of that optimization will yield more results.

Andy wrote more in-depth about this here.

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