I sometimes feel that Founders and Entrepreneurs are penny wise and pound foolish. This usually comes from the scarcity mentality, I don’t have any money so I should not spend any money. I have so many things to do so I will focus on what brings me less pain but immediate results etc Sounds logical but it could not be farther from the truth. Even more disturbing sign is when Founders start taking stabs at other founders in the same community when they could help each other get things moving, I call this the sour grape syndrome. You know about the story of sour grapes right? anyway, I digress. It is extremely important for the founder to focus on what is the most important first step in their startup development. Yes, you need to build a prototype but you also need to get started in parallel to see how your business model works i.e start selling, start experimenting with channels where you can start distributing your product or service. It does not have to be perfect but it needs to solve a problem. I think #LeanStartup method is not dead it just needs renewal given the advancements in technology. Believe me if you build crappy products it does not matter what methodology you use, the end result is still going to be crappy.
It baffles me that founders do not take advantage of the fantastic tools that are available today to get word out about your product and startup. I had the opportunity to meet the founders of Buffer (a blog post to follow about this company), they brought their entire team to Iceland and have been working here for 10 days. I think Buffer is a cool company and I am giving their product a spin. If you start seeing regular tweets from me or linkedin posts, you can thank buffer or curse them. The co-founder of Buffer, Leo, who is in charge of marketing, told a very simple but compelling story. When they started in order to get engagement from their customer base all they did was Content Marketing, i.e Blog posts, sharing relevant tweets and articles related to their product. Sounds simple, you will be amazed how many startups just don’t do this. I believe this is one single of how committed you are to your startup. If you are actively sharing, writing, and building content related to your product in your domain, you gain tremendous knowledge, insight and oh, did I mention Search Engine interest.
Founders who understand this, who commit to spending time in building this knowledge and insight usually will win. I have written a number of times about Marketing and telling your story. There is a big difference, when you are building your startup all you have is your story. You need to have a compelling story. It takes smarts, effort and commitment to build compelling stories, however, that is not sufficient. You need great products, know how to distribute and sell your product and last but not least know how to build a great team that is aligned on this mission. It is an endless litany of upward spiralling tasks, but that is the price of being a founder. In the end the journey is worth it.