Unleashing the Growth Engine: From Traction to Sustainable Growth


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 30, 2023

4 min read


Unleashing the Growth Engine: From Traction to Sustainable Growth


In the fast-paced world of startups, achieving sustainable growth is the ultimate goal. However, many companies find themselves stuck in a canyon between traction and growth, struggling to maintain momentum and overcome various challenges. In this article, we will explore the concept of viral loops and the importance of prioritizing app quality and user experience. We will also delve into the significance of identifying adjacent users and the need for a cross-functional growth strategy. By combining these key elements, startups can unlock their growth engine and pave the way for long-term success.

  • 1. Viral Loops: Kickstarting Your App's Growth Engine

A viral loop refers to the process where users go from discovering your product to becoming advocates who refer it to others. To kickstart your app's growth engine, you need to consider several factors. First, assess whether you have an active user base and potential referrers who genuinely like your product or service. Additionally, evaluate the appeal and feasibility of your referral incentives. Finally, ensure that enough users are participating in your referral program to sustain the loop. By strategically implementing viral loops, you can leverage the power of user-generated content, incentives, invite-only buzz, and shared experiences to drive growth.

  • 2. Maintaining Momentum: The Canyon Between Traction and Growth

The journey from traction to sustainable growth is not a linear path. It requires continuous effort to anticipate future challenges and lay the groundwork for success. Many startups struggle to grow into large, iconic companies despite finding product-market fit. Rising acquisition costs, declining retention, increased competition, and lower ROI pose significant hurdles. To overcome these obstacles, startups must shift from linear tactics to building a compounding growth engine. This involves transitioning from small, ineffective tactics to larger, more impactful strategies that can sustain long-term growth.

  • 3. Identifying Adjacent Users: Expanding Your Audience

As startups evolve, they encounter adjacent users who have the potential to become loyal customers. However, these users often face challenges in adopting the product, which hinders their transition to the next stage. It is crucial to understand and address the reasons behind their struggles. By identifying and empathizing with adjacent users, startups can mitigate the decline in acquisition, retention, and monetization metrics. Building a dedicated team that focuses on understanding and catering to the needs of these users is essential for expanding the audience and driving sustainable growth.

  • 4. The Changing Landscape: Rising Costs and Diversified Investment

Startups face increasing challenges in scaling their growth due to various factors. Scalable channels have not kept pace with the availability of capital, making it harder to achieve breakthrough growth. The low-hanging fruit of bottoms-up SaaS is no longer readily available, requiring companies to diversify their investment across multiple channels. This demand for diversification translates to more infrastructure, personnel, and time, making it increasingly difficult for startups to achieve breakout growth. Additionally, platforms like Google have made it harder to rank organically, leading to higher content investments and reduced conversion rates.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize app quality and user experience: Invest in creating a seamless, intuitive, and delightful user experience. Focus on addressing pain points and continuously improving your app's functionality to ensure user satisfaction and loyalty.
  • 2. Design a referral scheme that resonates: Craft referral incentives that are both appealing to users and financially viable for your business. Test different schemes and iterate based on user feedback to find the most effective approach.
  • 3. Foster cross-functional collaboration: Break down silos between product, marketing, and sales teams to create a cohesive growth strategy. Encourage collaboration, knowledge sharing, and alignment of goals to maximize the impact of your efforts.


Unlocking a startup's growth engine requires a holistic approach that encompasses viral loops, app quality, adjacent users, and a cross-functional growth strategy. By carefully crafting referral programs, prioritizing user experience, identifying and empathizing with adjacent users, and fostering collaboration, startups can navigate the canyon between traction and sustainable growth. Remember, sustainable growth is not a result of one silver bullet but a combination of strategic elements working together harmoniously.

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