Turn Quick Wins into lifelong habits for your team. We’ll help you find the highest impact work and execute it fast. You’ll learn to identify your highest-impact focus areas, streamline metrics and reporting, improve unit economics, and scale quickly.
“The program was transformative for us. If you don’t have a growth experiment process in-place, go and get one. Spaghetti marketing doesn’t work and hope is not a strategy.
– Jack Huang, Founder & CEO, Truly
What does Core Strengths Cover?
The Core Strengths program is based around our framework of five core strengths for startup growth.
1. Messages & user psychology
What messaging will resonate with your target customers, boost conversion and lower CPAs? We show you how to read user psychology and leverage behavioral insights and interaction design to boost response rates and identify viral potential. We also use those insights to find content and SEO opportunities to jumpstart organic growth.
This section covers: User psychology and usability, message testing and conversion optimisation.
2. Benchmark comparison
Is your growth strategy focused on the right levers? What numbers will VCs want to see? We look at your core business metrics against proprietary benchmark data across the hundreds of companies around the world that we’ve advised, invested in, or evaluated.
This section covers: benchmark comparison, north star metric, core unit economics, target conversion rates and retention curves.
3. Behavioural analytics
You get what you measure. We help you identify the key subset of behavioural metrics that will enable your team to focus, set and exceed performance goals, and find-and-mine the underleveraged opportunities in your customer journey.
This section covers: Advanced behavioural analytics, customer journey mapping, tracking and attribution tech & implementation.
4. Rate limiting factors
Every company can improve acquisition, but few can point to the exact levers to pull. Meanwhile, unfocused efforts are low impact efforts. We zoom in on the precise rate-limiting step that’s holding back your acquisition funnel.
This section covers: benchmark comparison, drop-off analysis, conversion optimization
5. Backlog brainstorm
By now you’ve built a foundation of user psychology and metrics, and understand your rate-limiting step. Here, we bring in some of London’s top growth mentors to help you generate a fresh backlog of growth experiments.
This section covers: idea generation, viral loops, organic traffic sources, growth engineering
6. Backlog prioritisation
We use metrics, psychology and rate limiting factors to prioritise your growth experimentation backlog so your team can focus on the 10% of high impact, high likelihood wins that will enable you to exceed growth and fundraising goals.
This section covers: prioritization, growth process, team allocation
Startups only get enough traffic to run a few A/B tests per month. Which ideas actually justify a full A/B test? How can you test other ideas quickly with limited traffic? We work with your team to design and execute high quality minimum viable tests (MVTs) to validate your key assumptions before undertaking long, hard or expensive growth projects
This section covers: Experiment design & tracking, experiment prioritisation, minimum viable tests, A/B testing, message testing, user research.
8. Organisational alignment
When you know your rate-limiting step, and have a prioritised backlog of experiments, the next challenge is to align and lead your team to execute quickly against the targets you’ve set. We discuss building and managing a growth team and process to maximize impact.
This section covers: Operating rhythms, employee engagement, human process engineering, weekly growth sprints
9. Weekly sprints
Engineering organisations don’t function without prioritised backlogs and high frequency sprints. We believe growth is no different. We help you design and implement weekly sprints to pace your team against ambitious growth goals.
This section covers: Weekly growth meetings, sprint design, backlog maintenance, dashboard KPIs, operating rhythms, pace and cadence.
10. Hiring & leading (CEOs only)
A team is only as good as its people. As a CEO, how involved should you be in growth functions? How can you use that time most efficiently? How do you hire the best marketers in a competitive market? What are the right interviewing questions and techniques? How closely should you manage your team? How do you help them succeed? How should you win their trust and respect?
This section covers attracting candidates, screening, managing performance, employee engagement & alignment.
What outcomes can I expect?
Core Strengths was designed to help startup teams build scalable, repeatable and highly focused growth machines to speed acquisition, improve unit economics, and test and learn quickly.
Graduates of our programs consistently report significant growth in traffic and conversion, and lower CPAs that help them exceed their revenue and fundraising goals.
We’re always thrilled to see these results, but even more pleased to hear our CEOs report that the most impactful takeaway was internalising a growth process to make customer acquisition a core part of their business.
In other words, growth is a mindset, in addition to a series of smart and focused strategies.
“It’s what business school should teach you. It’s super hard to implement sustainability into your company, but going through it changed our company!
– Luc Dudler, Founder & CEO, JobPal
“Transformational for the business. A unique chance to have the best and brightest take a serious look at your business and work with you over time’.
– Daniel Van Binsbergen, Founder & CEO, Lexoo
How Do We Join a Workshop?
Space is limited to 8 companies per course. Apply for a slot now, and we will review your application to ensure you are at a stage where you can truly benefit from the program.
Next, we will schedule an interview so we can learn more about your business, and you can learn more about us. Assuming all goes well, we’ll slot you into a course at that time, based on your availability.
The next course starts Wednesday October 31 and runs through December 12, 2018
What are the selection criteria?
We want to work with companies with the largest chance to benefit from the program – companies with solid early traction, an existing customer base and a team to execute; companies where scaling customer acquisition is a top priority for the entire organisation. Beyond that, we want to ensure no competitors join a workshop together (that’s done on a first-come-first-served basis).
Specifically, Core Strengths could be beneficial to you if:
- You’ve shipped a solid product, have a steady flow of paying customers, and are booking revenue north of £10,000 per month.
- Growing customer acquisition is currently one of your top 2 priorities.
- You have at least 1 full time team member dedicated to growth.
- Your CEO is prepared to commit one day per week for 8 weeks to the coursework.
- You have a business model conducive to high-velocity startup growth.
Larger companies (post-Series-B) need more of a focus on process implementation and organisational change, and would benefit more from a direct consulting engagement.
Who from my Team Should Attend? How many people can I bring?
The program fee covers up to five attendees. All team members involved with growth should attend the program. We require participating teams to bring your CEO or other co-founder, head of growth, and team member in charge of analytics. We also recommend other senior marketers, designers, writers and front-end UX to join.
Why is our CEO Required to Attend?
We do require at-least one C-level participant from each course. In our experience, growth only works if the entire company is committed.
We will be making critical strategic business decisions from the very first day of the course. If your CEO is not 100% comfortable with these decisions, you may end up changing directions, and that lack of focus will diminish the impact of our work. And the ongoing impact from the program will fade if the process and mindset are not continually reinforced by your company’s leadership.
What types of business models does this work for?
We’ve had success with high-growth business models, including: B2B SAAS, consumer SAAS, ecommerce, marketplaces, ecommerce subscriptions, talent marketplaces and consumer mobile apps. Core Strengths can also work well for sales-driven businesses who need to generate and qualify a large number of leads quickly.
This program is not suited to scaling services businesses, manufacturing or deep tech businesses with long customer acquisition cycles. Also later stage companies (post Series B) are less likely to benefit from the workshop format, so we recommend a direct consulting engagement.
Do I Need to Take “Quick Wins” First? What If I Haven’t?
No, you can go straight into the Core Strengths course, we will cover all the “quick wins” content, but give it a broader deeper treatment.
What ARE the main differences between the half-day “Quick Wins” course and the two-month “Core Strengths” course?
The Core Strengths course curriculum applies a broader and deeper treatment to every topic covered in Quick Wins: user psychology, analytics, conversion. Additionally, Core Strengths covers process, analytics, hiring and leadership, experiment design & prioritisation.
The most important difference between our workshops is the 8 weeks of guided practice and repetition that teams receive with Core Strengths. It’s like learning a sport: Some exceptional athletes could learn to ski from a single lesson, but most would really benefit from repeated sessions with an experienced coach.
In the Core Strengths course, we help you execute your top experiments, and we also coach you every step of the way as you scale growth for your company and lead your team.
As Morpheus said in the Matrix, “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”
If I TAKE the Quick Wins course, can I get a discount on the “Core Strengths” course?
Yes, if you take both courses within 6 months, the cost of the Quick Wins course will be deducted from the cost of the Core Strengths course. But the Quick Wins course is not a prerequisite for Core Strengths.
How much does the course cost?
The Core Strengths program costs £8,000 for up to five employees for eight weeks. Additional employees can join for £1,200 per seat.
If I’m unhappy with the course, can I get a refund?
Yes. If, after the first session, you’re not confident this program will pay for itself many times over, you can cancel the rest of the course and get a full refund, no questions asked.
Where are the workshops held?
Exact location is TBD, in London Zone 1.
Can we attend remotely?
Most of the course revolves around hands-on work, directly on your business, so it’s essential that you attend in-person. Unfortunately remote participation is not viable for the core team. If there is sufficient demand, we will look to run courses in other locations.
How was the course content developed?
We developed and refined the content over several years working with startups in the 500 Startups Distro Dojo, as well as working directly with clients. We would collect client feedback and debrief obsessively after each session, looking for ways to increase impact and decrease the amount of time involved.
Overall the Distro Dojo program had excellent results, our companies had an average YoY revenue growth rate of 250%, and a 96% Founder NPS.
Who are the instructors?
Our full bios (and pretty pictures) are on the Team Page. But each of our coaches and mentors has worked for at-least 10 years in operational roles in high-growth businesses in Europe or the Silicon Valley. We have a variety of backgrounds including B2B, B2C, marketplaces, payments, SAAS, mobile, SEO, performance marketing, conversion optimisation and retention. While our tactical expertise differs, we all love teaching and coaching, and understand the big gains come not from tactics, but from process and mindset, our main focus.
How Are Sessions Run? What Will We Actually Do?
The course is based on a “learn by doing” approach where we literally work on your business together. Weeks 1 – 4, we have all-day sessions that cover the lessons above (user psychology, analytics, experiment design, etc.) For each module, we begin with a short lecture (e.g. 30 minutes) to introduce the concepts, and then follow up with an exercise, applying that concept to your business. The exercises take anywhere from one hour to several days, and you will work side-by-side with our coaches to perform the tasks. By week 2 you will be performing your first growth experiments. By week 4, the focus shifts from designing and running experiments, to bedding the process and mindset into your company’s DNA.
Throughout weeks 5 – 7 you’ll mainly work independently, and have check-ins and mentoring sessions as needed. Finally in week 8, we’ll get together to review our progress and learnings, assess our progress, and define any additional next steps.
Can we keep the course materials?
Participants will retain access to all course materials, and own any work they do in the course.
What if we need help after the course concludes?
Our goal is to have every company be self-sufficient by the end of the program. If that is not the case, we will work with you to find a way to continue to support you as needed.
Time Commitment? How much time should I expect to spend on the program?
The part-time course runs 8 weeks. Weeks 1 – 4 you can expect to spend Wednesdays in our office. Weeks 5 – 7 we will support you remotely, you can work from your office. Finally in week 8 we will all come together for an in-person wrap-up.
How do busy startups manage to carve out time for the program?
If you are busy working on growth and customer acquisition, that’s exactly what we will be doing in the program – only faster. If growth and customer acquisition are not your priority right now, you probably should not join our workshops.
What will my team think if I ask them to join this course?
To be honest, most startup founders don’t invest much in employee development. They have too many other “fires to fight.” By giving your employees the chance to participate in a hands-on program like this, you’re giving them gift that will help them throughout their career.
“For me the program was like a second Oxford Education
– Omid Pakseresht, Head of Growth, Tramonex
“Since going through the program with Lexoo I’ve recommended it to so many people. In terms of learning it was definitely the most valuable month of my career to date.
– Curran Dye, Head of Growth, Lexoo
What Feedback Have You Had From Past Participants?
We’re proud of our 96% Founder NPS, and we surveyed participants after one year to ask what, in hindsight, what impact did the program have? Their answers:
- “The team was very engaged with the KPIs, and now feels responsible.”
- “Being challenged about running a company, setting priorities etc. – really asking myself if I am at my best right now and therefore if my company is as its best?”
- “Conversion optimisation, meeting other founders”
- “Marketing Experiments, Sales and Leadership Coaching”
- “Honest feedback on our business model & site”
- “Scientific Growth Thinking. Growth Dashboard”
- “An aggressive [coach] who focused on ensuring we did what was impactful and gave us no ability to justify doing anything that wasn’t sufficiently impactful.”
- “Being in a group of companies who were forced to be creative around growth, and having the frequent opportunity to hear about/learn from their wins and failures with growth experiments.”
- “Growth is a mindset not tactics, audits of business”
- “Learning about the relevance and importance of experiments and how to execute them secure testing in DNA of the company”
- “How we work as a team and focusing on the right things that are going to move us forward as a business.“
- “Our days are now full of constant experiments (educated, with an understanding of why we want to run them and what to measure) and we are moving faster. It has also been really good to see the team jumping on different projects and getting involved in new areas that they wouldn’t have in the past.”
- “Personally, I have really enjoyed the shift of focusing on bigger experiments, and reducing the time spent on less important tasks. As well as giving us a framework to recognise which things are important, you helped us to understand why saying no or not doing other things is just as key to focus.”
- “Growth meetings, rapid fire testing”
- “We prioritise the right things better by looking at all product suggestions through a growth lens.”
- “Mentors as sounding boards to aid critical thinking”
- “Getting 4 members of our team sold on the importance of growth meetings and how to run them. Reinforcing the value of user testing.”
- “Helpful to think about growth / growth metrics in a more methodical and structured way than before”
- “The growth process framework. The KPIs.”
- “Providing structure around hypothesising, testing and iterating. The network that we gained was also very valuable.”
- “Critical thinking on our marketing content (website, emails, decks), Inbound marketing training.”
- “Focus time with the founding team + figuring out what really matters.”
- “The mentors, the weekly growth process”
- “Growth meetings (we do ours religiously every week) and the experiment philosophy.”
- “Mindset: Growth through methodical experiments.”
- “We have now also included it as a core company value (in the culture deck), called: ‘Experiments + Insights => Growth’ and EVERYONE now must attend mandatory experiment training, doesn’t matter what team you’re on.”
- “Now every team is looking at how they can use experiments to get better results.”