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Growth Levers

Article originally published in April 2023 by Stuart Brameld. Most recent update in April 2024.

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This article on growth levers is part of our growth glossary.

Why you need growth levers

Every business has hidden growth levers. By identifying a unique growth lever, you can focus your resources and efforts on areas that have the highest potential for driving growth. Your job as a growth leader is to find them and help the business capture them over time.

What is a growth lever?

A growth lever is a hidden advantage that can help your business, product, or service grow. The best growth levers are unique to your business and not available to some or all of your competitors.

Some examples of growth levers

Hidden growth levers in businesses tend to existing around the following areas:

  • Marketing
  • Pricing
  • Product
  • Markets & customer segmentation
  • Partnerships

What is an example of a successful growth lever?

In 2012, Dropbox launched the “Space Race” targeted at educational institutions. By offering bonus storage space to both students and faculty members based on the number of users from their institution who signed up, Dropbox created a competitive environment and incentivised the target audience to encourage their peers to join.

Screenshot of the Great Dropbox Space Race, an example growth lever

The Space Race worked as a growth lever because it was a novel and innovative concept at the time of its launch making it difficult for competitors to replicate without looking like copycats. Additional, the viral nature and competitive spirit meant it quickly became difficult for competitors to product the same level of engagement and buzz.

How can I discover my unique growth lever(s)?

Discovering your unique growth lever(s) requires research, creativity, and a deep understanding of your industry and target market. The is no simple way to uncover them, and no shortcuts, but in general we would suggest:

  1. Understand your target market: Gain a deep understanding of your target audience, their needs, preferences, and pain points. This knowledge will help you identify opportunities to create value and address unmet needs that competitors may have overlooked.
  2. Analyse your competition: Study your competitors and their strategies to identify gaps and areas where they may be falling short. Analyse their strengths and weaknesses, and look for untapped opportunities that you can exploit.
  3. Assess your strengths: Identify your unique selling proposition (USP) and core competencies. Leverage these strengths to create a growth lever that is difficult for competitors to replicate.
  4. Monitor industry trends: Stay up-to-date with industry trends, emerging technologies, and changes in consumer behaviour. This will help you spot new opportunities for growth and stay ahead of the competition.
  5. Experiment and iterate: Test different strategies and tactics, and measure their impact on your growth. This process of experimentation will help you identify the most effective growth levers for your business. Don’t be afraid to pivot or adapt your approach based on the results.
  6. Learn from other industries: Look for inspiration in industries outside your own. Sometimes, growth levers from other sectors can be adapted or applied to your industry, providing a fresh perspective and unique approach.

Still have questions about growth levers?

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