Entrepreneurs Bhavin Turakhia, founder of startups like Zeta and Flock and Gaurav Munjal, cofounder and CEO of Unacademy discussed product-market-fit (PMF) and growth optimisation
Tapping into the best ideas and understanding the market before building the product is essential, they say
Hiring and retaining the best talent is essential for growing product companies, suggest Turakhia and Munjal
Successful founders agree on a lot of common growth hacks. This was evident to the audience of the fireside chat between serial entrepreneur Bhavin Turakhia, founder of companies like Zeta and Flock and Gaurav Munjal, cofounder and CEO of edtech unicorn Unacademy, on Day 1 of The Makers Summit. A key takeaway from the session was the need to improve productivity, growth and tracking mechanisms not just for organisations but also at a personal level to make the most of our time.
As an entrepreneur who has successfully launched five companies, Turakhia’s top growth hack is to always keep discovering new apps, products and solutions. “ Dedicate 30% of your time for discovery and measurement and focus the remaining on execution of solutions. While building solutions is easy, finding what to built is difficult and that is where a whole lot of discovery helps,” says Turakhia. He noted that a common theme across most successful apps has always been a few top features that help them tick with the audience and that is what one should work towards.
Munjal also suggested trying out up to 10 different apps throughout the day to understand and build towards the most sticky product offerings. He says that Ideas don’t come knocking. Of course, Munjal also suggested making notes incessantly to keep track of ideas, wherever and whenever they strike. “Take an idea vacation if required- two to three days off to focus on what you want to build, but focus on understanding if people will spend on it,” added Munjal.
One of the most popular queries in the session was about how successful entrepreneurs achieve the right product-market-fit (PMF) for their businesses. And when do they know that they have reached a certain level of accomplishment in this space?
Munjal says, “I never really ever understood PMF. (I) Thought we had PMF in 2016 and 2017 and even 2018. But it only really happened when we launched our test prep subscriptions product in 2019. It is when you bring a solution to the market that people really like and which is much better than any other existing alternative solution.”
Unacademy’s product strategies have led the company to make a string of acquisitions towards building the right mix of edtech offerings. After adding six companies to its bucket in 2020, Bengaluru-based edtech unicorn Unacademy is looking to acquire two-three more companies in 2021, in order to expand its product offerings. It is also looking to particularly focus on the test-prep vertical and become cash-flow positive this year.
Munjal cautions that before building a product, one must know their audience first. And to do that, businesses need to build an effective content channel. This was in fact, among the topmost repeated suggestions through the Makers Summit as product designers across the board suggested using content channels to engage with the target audience.
“Put out content first. Understand traction to understand the audience. For finding PMF, build content for a niche market. (If) you would have figured out the content, brand, product experience, traction through the channel, then you don’t need to spend money to acquire users,” says Munjal.
Turakhia adds that engaging content can also help optimise product solutions to be over 10x better. And user feedback on such content can give businesses a good idea of how well solutions based on these products will work. “ Both for content and products, high retention is important. Keep track of metrics like number of users who stick around, number of users who promote your products i.e. net promoter score and find the audience who would be actually disappointed if your product did not exist,” says Turakhia.
A key metric to judge whether a business has found its PMF is when at least 35-40% of the user base would indeed miss the product if it ceased to exist, he adds. But remember, to remain stuck in the measurement trap and always continue to focus on the product itself.
Finally, in terms of hiring the right talent to drive growth, Turakhia suggested that as startups, companies have better chances of pitching towards the right talent and getting them on board. So put your mind to it and hire with the right intention. “Also, make it exclusive, so people really want to be a part of it rather than thinking of it as just another job,” says Turakhia.
Emphasising on the need to spend time to hire the right talent, Munjal added, “Hire 7-10 founding members– have a chief content officer and content head, apart from all the regular operational roles and have an influencer on your team. Give them a share of your company at maybe 1%. Spend time hiring but make sure that you have their full commitment.”
And finally, a growth hack that Turakhia and Munjal just wouldn’t stop talking about, is to optimise your time productivity. Whether it is tracking the weekly and monthly growth rate of your company or optimizing your daily routine, always look for solutions to get more done. With apps, processes or even by delegating work, find ways to reduce mundane activity by using tools to optimise yourself and the business. The key takeaway being- “Invest in being more efficient”.