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Principles of Sustainable Growth

  • Dial-in the ‘Must-Have’ Experience
  • The foundation of growth is product/market fit, so before trying to scale, optimize the “must-have” experience where users try, use, love, and keep using your product.
  • Quantify Improvements with a North Star Metric
  • You can’t improve what you can’t measure, and a North Star Metric is the single best tool for consistently measuring value delivery for end-users.
  • Diagram your Value Delivery Engine
  • To find high-impact opportunities to accelerate your North Star Metric build a detailed diagram that completely defines how users experience your product from acquisition to retention.
  • Experiment to Accelerate Learnings
  • Fast-growing companies use the scientific method to power test/learn cycles. Build a flywheel effect where tested hypotheses turn ideas into facts and captured learnings drive each decision.
  • Align Teams with a Shared Mission
  • Fight silos within your organization; they impede success. Cross-functional team alignment with a shared mission fosters the mindset and culture of sustained expansion.
  • Optimize for Speed-to-Value
  • Find the shortest distance from the promise you make to prospects to the must-have experience you deliver to users. More users finding aha moments is the key to retention and referrals.

  • Build Brand Through Experiences
  • Brand awareness is built on authentic brand experiences. When you delight users with every interaction brand advocacy emerges as a powerful force for growth.

  • Place Principles Before Profits
  • Advocate for your customers at every turn and treat them as you would want to be treated. Sustainable growth is principled growth. Short-sighted tricks are not growth hacks.

The Growth Pyramid

Sean Ellis drew the first version of the “Startup Pyramid” in 2009. Today, this revised “Growth Pyramid” diagrams the building blocks of breakout growth from a strong foundation built on product/market fit to a company-wide culture where habits and mindset connect an organization to its mission.
About Breakout Growth

We are Sean Ellis & Ethan Garr. We have led breakout growth at companies like Dropbox, LogMeIn, and RoboKiller and our goal is to share learnings from the world’s fastest-growing companies as actionable insights to accelerate the growth of your business.

If you are working on a tech business with at least $1M in revenue and would like to speak with us about your growth challenges, request a session:

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