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Growth Perception vs. Reality

There is a mismatch between how markets perceive growth externally vs. how growth actually happens internally.


Externally, it looks like growth is a function of 1 big idea after which everything falls into place. This is hardly ever the case.

Internally, growth looks like a plethora of building blocks stacked on top of each other, feeding off each other to actually engineer growth.


It is very rare for companies to reach unicorn status / IPO without stacking growth levers on top of each other.


Some examples:

-Shopify (app marketplace, domains, payments, dropshipping)

-Salesforce (M&A, bundled licenses, partners)

-Netflix (original content, international expansion, pricing)


For most companies, growth is usually a combination of:

1) Expanding net new acquisition (demand gen, sales efficiency)

2) Growing the existing base (account expansion)

3) Cross-sell and upsell (additional product lines)

4) Pricing (increases, expansion revenue)

5) Improving Retention (improved onboarding and usage)

6) Developing new products and services (build internally)

7) M&A (buy instead of build)

8) Growing ecosystem (community, partners, marketplace etc.)


There are more levers but the above is enough to occupy most companies for years.

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