The method for successful changes and to grow your business by improving it
Instagram was originally a dating app.
Starbucks was selling espresso machines.
Nintendo was a playing-cards manufacturer.
Why did they change? How?
You know for a fact it was a good choice.
That’s what we will talk about in this month’s issue. Let’s get started.
Welcome to Growth Mindset and Methods #2 (GMM#2).
I’m Gaspard, a French Growth Marketer sharing tips and knowledge to help (future) entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
If you aren’t already, subscribe to GMM for free here:
I wrote this month’s release during a more than 9h-long train trip from Paris (France) to Firenze (Italy).
Then I decided to totally change it. So here I am, writing the real release during my 7h-long train trip, on my way back to Paris from Milano.
And I’m glad I changed it.
In fact, something else changed: the name of this newsletter. Bye-bye The Solopreneurs Growth, here comes Growth Mindset and Methods. Also a great choice.
So why did I change it?
Simple: I found a better name. It is that simple to change.
First I’ll walk you through a logical method to choose to change or not and how, while reducing the risks and increasing your chance of making the best choice.
Then we’ll see how change generates success and growth for businesses.
Here I go.
Why do you need to change?
Are you in the want, need, or should?
Let’s change, myself, our product, the name, my goal… but why? Keep asking yourself why until you find a proper answer.
Why would changing be a good thing to do? The answer must be a fact (other than for your own personal ever-changing tastes).
Want, need, and should are totally different things. If you can’t justify changing with a valid reason, you may be in the want.
Want is a dangerous thing, as human greed has no limits. Our tastes change, our opinions evolve, our dreams too… You’ll have to balance and carefully choose between your options.
Need comes from alert factors. Personal needs, market changes, exterior events… Some stuff can’t be controlled.
You don’t always have a choice. If changing becomes a need, there are not many reasons not to.
Should comes from doubts. Maybe you want, maybe you need, but you don’t know yet. Problem is: doubts weigh on your mental load. That’s why you need to check: are you in the want or the need?
We’ll talk about mental load in a future release so remember to subscribe to GMM.
Possibilities, opportunities, threats, and greed
Once you know if you are in the want, need, or should, you have to evaluate your outcome. Are you reacting to a threat, listening to your emotions, jumping on an opportunity, or simply improving?
That’s the second and last step to visualize why change at all. You first identify the source of your decision (rational, irrational) and then its goal.
When that’s done, finding options and choosing one becomes much easier. So clarify exactly your goal in this.
Design Thinking method to generate ideas
You are looking for all options possible. Why not just one? Because if you change once, then find another better option, you’ll have to change again. We want to reduce the number of changes as it can lead to many downsides (as we’ll see in the next part).
A method I really like is the core of Design Thinking (called Ideation). Add any idea you (or your team members, colleagues, partners…) think of, even for a second, as an option. Never say no, or anything negative about the ideas. They may be trash, but keep that for later.
The point of this is to generate as many ideas as possible in a short amount of time. Great ideas come from lots of good ideas, that come from a ton of ok/bad ideas. Quantity leads to quality.
Go from the problem you are facing, think about the goal you clarified earlier, and spit ideas as fast as they flash in your mind.
The strength of systems
Once you got tons of ideas, use systems to find the one you missed. Systems are logical step-by-step methods to lead your logical brain into solving puzzles.
List all the characteristics of the problem you are facing (remember if it’s a need, want, or should) and deduct more ideas from it. You can as well use already listed ideas to innovate (Idea 1 can lead to Idea 1A and Idea 1B). You are still in the “finding options” part, so don’t stop and don’t look at details.
I recommend writing in a table to improve your deduction capacities. It’s proven that seeing a rational (almost mathematical) system helps you think in a logical way. Get your process in order.
Think about quantity, add more and more. The goal is to have a better choice range after, but also to stimulate your creativity. Rush, adrenaline, a short session (30-45mn is good), and using previous ideas to find others (you can map it on paper or using Miro) is like an intense creativity boost.
You just concluded a perfect brainstorming session.
Selecting options: How to choose the best one?
Remember perfection is a myth, and sticking to the actual version may be the best option.
You can’t make a choice because this seems to be better. Justify “better”.
ex: I don’t choose to open a Tiktok account for my brand because it seems better than Facebook and my neighbor told me to. I do it because I’m targeting a young audience and data show that Tiktok is a great acquisition channel.
One thing only determines if your option is a good one. And that is facts.
Listen to the market, study data and proven facts to realize what are the REAL options. And don’t forget if you are in the want/need/should.
In business it’s nice to from time to time do a SWOT. List the Strengths of your business, its Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It helps creating a strategy using your position and the current market evolution.
That was a reminder. Back to where we were: you have tons of ideas to choose from.
Facts help you identify real options, but being close-minded will likely stop change from happening. Don’t be. You are here to find out how to achieve your goal.
It’s THE moment to be critical. But not negative.
At this point, you can already do the first cleaning of your ideas list. Keep the refused one not far, it helps to remember why you didn’t keep it to select the future ones.
Use your system’s criterias and studied facts to carefully select the main options you have.
examples of criterias: how well does it help achieve our goal? is it doable? how long would it take? who can do it?
Always remember your WHY (goal + reason).
If it’s a need, be as open-minded as possible and think on a larger scale.
A good example of a need to change is Kodak. They needed to evolve, to adapt their product to the new technologies and demands, but didn’t. They aren’t so well right now.
Because they didn’t identify that they were in the need. They thought to be in the should, and looked at the market for digital photography growing, without checking facts and testing to use it.
So keep your goal in mind, your reason, and compare. At this point, you could rate ideas and compare them using your criterias to select the best one.
All the ideas left should fit in a table with columns and rows for ideas and criterias. And like in all the guides you find online to choose the best offer: you compare.
(remember to include your current situation as one of the possibilities: not changing)
I can’t help you there. Everything depends on your situation. I’m trying to help you rationalize the process, and make it logical. Your final choice will be obvious, and you won’t have doubts after making it.
The point is to be the most certain possible about changing. There is no risk-free method, but you can minimize risks by being logical.
Don’t regret your final choice. Try it fully, and if really it isn’t working, change it again. But again: only if facts back up your need to change.
Minimizing the risks: testing your possibilities
Facts and data must guide you, so if you are looking to change (something or yourself): check if you can test your options.
For example, in CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) we use AB tests to verify which version of a webpage converts the most visitors into clients.
We can’t just guess a button turned red will lead to more clicks. We test our possibilities and use data to guide us.
You can do it in your situation:
create landing pages for your offer and make some ads to see if someone who discovers it is ready to pay for it
ask your customer what they would prefer between your product improvement ideas
post your two versions of a post to see which performs better
hire someone with a test period or a freelancer for a while to see if it would help
visualize what it would look like in 1 to 5 years for each possibility
Testing is the only real method there is to be certain of your choice. Keep that in mind.
Notion of instinct
People have their tendencies: thinking rationally or emotionally. We will talk some other time about DISC and MBTI profiles. I just want to draw your attention to this: guts, feelings, intuitions, hunches… MATTER.
That may sound contrary to everything I said earlier. But I’m the intellectual type (see my LinkedIn post here), and some use their guts. Sometimes, facts alone aren’t enough.
If you can’t have enough data to back up your decision-making, go with the flow and trust yourself. But please, fgs don’t do it often. Otherwise you’re just lazy.
How does changing lead to growth?
When done well, changing creates more than just change. It has 3 ways to generate growth. That’s especially the case for changes made public.
By creating an event
When something changes, people tend to be interested and talk about it. We talk about celebrations, hype, curiosity. Here is a good article summing up what makes things go viral.
By accelerating your process and the word-of-mouth
That’s the core of my work. As a Growth Marketer, I focus on this channel: what motivates people to share what you do? Quality.
quality of your product or service
quality of the experience your offer
quality of the outcome they get by sharing
And all of that can be made by changing to improve what you do.
Improving your work, to help your customers the best you can (still staying in your field of expertise) will automatically give people a reason to talk about it.
That’s the acquisition part. Truth is, improving always leads to growth. May it be improving your process, your offer, everything is connected.
I made a LinkedIn post about it here.
By achieving Product Market Fit (PMF)
A company has 3 stages: going from the 1st one to the 2nd is made through finding your PMF. I keep this topic for a future release, so remember to subscribe to GMM!
Once your company passes to the 2nd stage, it means your offer has found its audience. Finding it means your offer reached your ideal prospects but also that it evolved in a way to be useful to them.
It almost always creates a chain reaction, multiplying the growth speed easily. Because finding your PMF means you become sustainable, and you solve a problem people face.
From there, everything becomes crystal clear: you know who you help, why, and how.
Hope you enjoyed this month’s release, and that it helped you. Remember to subscribe if you aren’t already. It would be kind of you to share it, you just have to click on the button below.
My 5 readings recommendations of the month:
Remember to buy second-hand books or to read online!
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Mark Manson
My favorite book I read this summer. I love when authors talk to you as a friend, without making things complicated but still going deep into the subject. Applicable pieces of advice learned from real-life lessons, a must-read.
Resilient - Rick Hanson
Easy-to-read summary of what makes us more resilient. A good guide toward personal development, I needed to read about these topics to prepare for my incoming-though-year.
I discovered his LinkedIn profile recently. He talks about mindset, productivity, human potential… really interesting to read.
Two copywriters publishing on LinkedIn as well. I like their style. Check it out and look at their positioning: each found his differentiation. Even though we see more and more copywriters nowadays, these two stick out.
This famous solopreneur has a self-published book about his method of founding bootstrapped startups. Make is incredible - I read it every year, as he updates it quite frequently. If you don’t know him, I definitely recommend checking out his articles and work.
See you next month,
Have a good day/night/morning/evening/life!