StartUs Presents: RockBoost

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The term "growth hacking" gets thrown around a lot these days. Find out what it's all about from Chris Out of RockBoost, the first Dutch Growth Hacking Agency.

Describe RockBoost in 50 words or less.

Rockboost is the first Growth Hacking Agency in the Netherlands. We bring the tools and tricks from Silicon Valley to the Netherlands to help both large corporations and startups achieve exponential growth.

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

I started off doing an auditor traineeship at KPMG. After a year it was time for my annual review. They asked me how I was doing and getting along. I replied, “Yeah, I am doing great, I’m quitting today.” It was such a relief. I had realised that I wanted to start something and wasn’t satisfied doing something else, especially auditing. This is what led me to start my own business, RockBoost, together with Mark and Rutger. The satisfaction I get out of this made me realise I made the right choice to pursue my own dream.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

Seven years from now not only will growth hacking be known worldwide, but it will also be embraced both by startups and corporations. RockBoost is a part of this vision. It wants to actively take it one step further in changing the marketing of corporations: no more oversized budgets but smaller more effective ones with decisions based on data rather than assumptions. We live in a digitally dominated world and we need to learn to embrace this.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

Everything we do is based on our One Metric That Matters (OMTM): this is the one goal we focus on, and everything we do should move us closer to it. Whenever you do anything you should ask yourself: how does this bring me closer to my one metric that matters.

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

My typical working day is that I start writing some content at 7 am. I’m trying to build a habit of blogging. I arrive at the office at 8 am and then plan my day. Typically I spend three days with clients helping them face to face. The rest of the week I’m in the office coaching my team and facilitating them to help their portfolio grow. We have only started taking on clients in the last few months, but already we have our hands full and are growing fast.

Already pivoted? Did customers use the growth hacking agency like you imagined it in the beginning?

Even better: people are open and excited about the idea of growth hacking. Based on what our clients need we have developed our Growth Playbook, which we use with all our clients. So far, the feedback has been very positive. We are constantly pivoting. During our first three months we were not able to sell our services. It’s part of our DNA that we expect to pivot.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

We are currently bootstrapped rather than financed. At the moment we provide our clients with consulting services. On the sideline we are also building some awesome software tooling. It is our plan to attract some growth capital in the future, once one of the software tools takes off.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

Once more this is where the One Metric That Matters comes in. All our measures are related to this to ensure we stay focused. We also use the 80-20 rule: 80% of the attribute can be related to 20% of the cause. This helps identify problems quicker and helps us know what to focus on. We are trying to create simple business rules and I’m constantly challenging my team on the One Metric That Matters. Is what they are currently doing bringing them closer to their goal?

What do you look for in team members?

Creative ambitious individuals with a desire to learn. The previous field of study is irrelevant, what’s important is the individual mindset. How hungry are you to learn? How driven are you? We work in an informal but closely knitted team. Team members need to thrive in this kind of environment.

Why would a talent join your team?

Because from day one they are thrown in the deep end. Right from the start, they are able to meet our clients and work on existing projects alongside the other growth hackers. Working with us might be best for the select few who are willing to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Being in a tough working environment with high goals can be a very rewarding experience where you learn a lot and grow as a person too.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

Our first sale. That moment when after three months of pivoting somebody trusts you with their wallet and the first checks come in. We spent a long time researching, getting to know potential clients and trying to understand what they want. This is part of our philosophy too: everything you do should be based on data. So it was very exciting to get our first client and be able to offer them a service that exactly met their needs.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

If you can’t presell it, you shouldn’t be building it. The hardest part is fixing your distribution. I recommend reading the book “Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers” by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. It helps you better understand how to focus on which distribution channels you can and should use.

Creating a product is easy. Try to fix your distribution first and let people pay for the idea. One way to do this is through developing an MVP.

What was your biggest failure?

Thinking that I knew what the market wanted to pay for. Always talk to people and ask what they want. Then propose a solution and ask them to pay for the idea. This is the best way to create a viable business at minimum cost: a minimum viable product. You will fail, but this is the cheapest way, so that you can immediately get back up and use what you have learned. Failures are actually good because it is how you learn more about your customers and how to adapt for the next time.


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