Hockey Stick Growth for Entreprenuers & Startups

Business Marketing Tyler Rice

by Tyler Rice
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Updated 02/01/2021

You may have heard of the term “hockey stick growth” used when talking about new startups and entrepreneurs.

But what does it mean?

Many entrepreneurs see flat linear growth when starting a new business before they see any drastic changes.

This flat or stagnant growth would be the blade part of the hockey stick and the rapid growth is the actual stick, or handle.


Hockey Stick Growth Chart Example

hockey stick graph exampleThis could be user rate, bounce rate, new customers, sales, or any metric that determines business growth.

The idea is that when you start a business, you begin to see a normal rate of growth until a certain point is hit and growth begins to accelerate at a fast pace.

This could take weeks, months, or even years to hit this point of inflection.

For example, when looking at the user growth rate for our digital market agency during the past year, we see stagnant growth for ten months until there is a major growth spurt.
hockey stick growth business
This accelerated pace of growth can come from many different strategies including paid advertisements, search engine optimization, sales, brand awareness, and simply just word-of-mouth.

For our digital marketing agency, this inflection point was due to implementing search engine optimization (SEO) in all our content for our website.

Once we began to take the time to plug in SEO to our website and began crafting relevant content, we saw our active users increase drastically.

Let’s look at another example with the ever-so-popular Amazon shopping website.

Statista created an excellent chart that shows the “hockey stick growth” that Amazon went through before they began seeing extreme growth.

hockey stick growth amazon
Beginning in 1997, the revenue growth of the company was stagnant for about 10 years before they started seeing any big changes.

Then, they experienced the “hockey stick growth” and their growth went from being linear to exponential and it kept increasing.

While this is an example that took years to take effect, it is important to understand how the “hockey stick growth” works and how to make best of it for your new business.

If you start to see the exponential growth in your own company, you should be able to recognize and be able to focus on the methods that were used to create the drastic growth.

If you are experiencing the hockey growth yourself, keep doing what you are doing so that you can keep the momentum going rather than reverting to flat growth.

Therefore, it is so important to understand and recognize the hockey stick growth and when it is happening with your business.

So, what are some easy ways to determine if the hockey stick growth is happening to your business?

Well for starters, and I cannot stress this enough, it is essential to install the free Google Analytics on your website.

If you are consistently monitoring the traffic that comes to your website, you can understand what is working for your business and what is not.

You can see what parts of your website are bringing in the most traffic and how long users are spending on each part of your website.

google analytics growth

Jumpstart Your Hockey Stick Growth using SEO

There is no doubt that there are tons of ways that this sudden acceleration can happen for a business.

I want to tell you how we were able to do it for our business using simple techniques with search engine optimization.

Within a year we went from an average of a hundred users a month to over two thousand and it keeps growing.

How did we do it?


Step 1: Just Start Writing!

When I first began writing articles on our blog, they were terrible. I had a hard time writing anything over 500 words and the information just didn’t seem that helpful to users.

But I kept writing.

And I kept adding the content on the website despite there being no increase in traffic or engagement on the website.


Step 2: Notice what people are viewing on your website

After creating maybe thirty articles on the website, I decided to check the analytics one day and noticed that one of the articles was bringing in traffic right from Google rather than the homepage.

Where are these people coming from?

I plugged the website into the free version of SEM Rush and noticed that this particular article was ranked on the tenth position on a popular national keyword.


But bring listed as the tenth result is not much to write home about nor is it going to pay the bills.

That brings us to step 3.


Step 3: Improve the article to rank higher

I spend maybe five hours plugging in the keyword into more places on the article and crafting it to be longer and more relevant for users.

I also noticed that the website that was currently ranking at the top for the keyword was not very long or informative.

That told me that this was not going to take much work to rank at the very top.


Step 4: Apply the same concept to more articles

After making the simple changes in a day, the article went from having 20 views a month to almost 500 views a month.

That may not be too much traffic but if you applied that same concept to multiple articles and used the same tactics for new articles on your blog, imagine the amount of traffic increase you could achieve.

hockey stick increase people
From SEO to Hockey Sticks

As mentioned previously, SEO is far from the only way to achieve drastic growth as seen on a hockey stick chart. But we thought it would be helpful in sharing how it was achieved for our digital agency.

Have you already had this hockey stick growth for your business or have seen a new startup go through this process? If so, please share below in the comments, we love to see other success stories.


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