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How to build a growth team to help your business flourish

March 13, 2018

Whether your business is an enterprise or a start-up, growth should be a key component of your organizational structure. For start-ups, in particular, the idea of growth is often built-in, but the management of growth is not.

First, you need to understand the kind of growth you are hoping to achieve. Growth in this context is not merely about selling more or earning more; it’s about developing your products and services to meet your customers’ needs in a meaningful way. Sales and earnings, from this perspective, follow growth initiatives that expand services in new directions, raise customer satisfaction, and stay ahead of the competition.

For IT providers, growth teams break down the silos between marketing, engineering, and IT departments, and highlight the importance of IT for boosting ROI. Since growth teams are largely data-driven, IT becomes a critical component of the team process.

Key factors that come into play on growth teams include machine learning, data analysis, UX, and A/B testing. By working on a multidisciplinary team, all aspects of a company come to understand how they contribute to the success of the company and how they can make that success happen collaboratively.

Marketing and administration also become much more conscious of the value of IT. Through a deeper understanding of engineering and marketing concerns, IT can contribute research initiatives that drive new ideas and innovation beyond the level of a support team.

The concept of this type of growth incorporates the idea of expansion by tapping into your customer satisfaction to expand your customer base. And to create and launch a successful strategy for expansion, you need a growth team.

What is a Growth Team?

A growth team brings together key staff members to make data-driven decisions about how to improve your company’s products and services by meeting your customer needs and expanding into new potential areas of products and services. Growth teams are inherently customer-focused, and they seek ways to ensure that the company remains customer-focused as it develops.

Not all growth teams are the same. They will depend on current company size and both long- and short-term goals. What works for a small, digital marketing agency start-up still trying to figure out how to scale is different from an established enterprise looking to keep its competitive edge. Figuring out the right way to organize your growth team is dependent on understanding your company’s immediate and future needs within the context of your industry.

What Are Types of Growth Teams?

Depending on the size of your business, different team structures will address different needs. As your business grows and expands, you might even change the focus and structure of the team to meet the new challenges – or simply try something that works better for you.


Here’s some general guidance for team-building to consider:

Start-Up Growth

If you have fewer than 10 people in your startup, everyone wears multiple hats to keep things running. Your growth team can be one or two people with direct access to leadership in order to decide what to work on.

Keep the focus on what you need to release products and services that meet your customer’s needs. This is particularly crucial when you’re seeking those first few customers.

Small-to-Mid-Size Growth

Once you have customers, you want to satisfy them and acquire more. A group of 5-10 people should work with leadership – from product managers and designers – because these are the people most often aware of customers needs.

As you grow, you can add data managers and engineers to make the team a reflection of the customer-driven ideology of your company. Typically, a single point person from each team should work with management to align goals and projects.

Enterprise Growth

Enterprise growth becomes complicated by size and the nature of the business. Often, you have a large number of employees who often work independently of each other. Gather representatives from different areas to focus on business needs as a function of customer needs.

Depending on the nature of the business, three broad growth team structures can address the issues:

Independent Growth Team: A leadership executive oversees designated processes, reports to the CEO, and focuses the team on goals. Teams typically have product managers, designers, and data scientists. The team has a specific task and reviews ideas for improvement only for that task.

Metrics Growth Team: These teams are structured similar to independent teams, but with a higher data focus. They can include additional staff, like engineers and marketing. Together, they focus on a specific metric for analysis: engagement, sales funnels, ease of purchase, etc. Then they look for ways to improve the metric.

Functional Growth Team: Each team oversees its particular company function with a team leader reporting to a VP of product, who then reports to the CEO. The individual teams make their own decisions on how to analyze their areas, but the VP sets the overall goal, and each team within the group focuses on their role in improving that component.

Set the Goal and Build the Team

Picking the right growth team structure for your business takes a bit of work, but has enormous benefits. By involving all aspects of your business in a customer-centric way, both your employees and customers will be more engaged.

Identify your goals, pick the team, and let the creativity flow. Don’t worry about getting it wrong; growth teams are flexible and can be reconfigured whenever you think a new strategy might work better.


Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing.


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