February 20, 2017
If there is one thing all startup founders, employees, and investors agree on about the startup world, it's that it's a harsh one. In other words, a startup has to do almost everything right if it hopes to survive and reach the kind of stability that will allow for mistakes.
Because of this, most startups find themselves in some sort of a crisis at one point or another. As a result, one can find a wide range of resources, tips, and tricks that can save a startup and get it back on its feet in one fell swoop.
Today, we will be covering something less enthusiastic but, unfortunately, something much more common – tricks that are supposed to save a startup but end up falling short.
This New Feature
Or this one… or this one…or this one!
You get the picture. We've all seen startups and products that are creating new and revolutionary features that will change the world every three weeks or so. In the end, such products and startups are simply merely increasing the number of features that nobody needs.
This is an easy misconception to understand. It is extremely easy to think that this next feature is just the thing to get your startup out of trouble. After all, it is all about ideas and innovation, right? This new feature is just what people were looking for, right? Well, not really.
New features do not save products nor the startups behind them. Startups are saved by solving a problem that people encounter on a daily basis. That, combined with hard work and knowledge to survive the initial hardships is what makes a solid startup.
A great example of this is a relatively new Australian startup, Sparesbox, which realized car part dealers have been ripping off Australians for years and that they can offer those same parts much cheaper. Later, they introduced a feature where their mechanics would come over and install the new part. However, it was the initial problem-solving that turned them into a growing business. The new feature was nothing more than a bonus.
A Celebrity Backer
Celebrity influencers who are paid to rave about an unknown and often totally unrelated startup are seen as exactly that – celebrity influences who are paid to rave about an unknown and often totally unrelated startup.
They are not endorsing it because they like what it does or use the startup's product or service. They are paid to do it. It's as simple as that.
The good people from Collective Bias actually discovered that people are far more likely to be swayed by a non-celebrity influencer, someone who actually enjoys the product and supports the startup than a famous person. In other words, LeBron James cannot save your startup.
The Latest Marketing Buzzword
A great marketing strategy can do wonders for struggling startups. However, latching onto the trend of the day is a surefire way to peter out before you accomplish your goals. There is an unprecedented number of buzzwords and concepts that gain and lose attraction at a record-breaking speed: Social media marketing. Data-driven marketing. Account-based marketing. Pokémon Go-based marketing.
Let's be clear: these marketing practices can be effective if done the right way. However, they are invariably being sold to absolutely everyone as just the thing their company needs to explode; startups included.
In reality, a fantastically created and executed social media marketing campaign can only go so far in bringing you new customers. Also, such a campaign can do nothing about customer churn that was caused by your subpar product. Try to do account-based marketing half-heartedly and your startup will go down in no time because you were targeting the wrong people.
You should definitely do marketing for your startup. However, it is best to stick with the tried classics that have demonstrable ROI before you start throwing money at marketing practices that may or may not work for you.
A $70,000 Espresso Machine
Sure, amenities are nice. But when it comes down to it, people don't really care about their office and how many beanbags there are replacing chairs or your expensive expresso machine. Even if they do, they care more about getting a decent pay and a few days off every couple of decades.
Rewarding and engaging employees has become too complicated for some strange reason. People want free time, decent money and to be treated like adults. Employee engagement tricks are the easiest to see through and they will definitely not save your startup.
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