We’ve been feeling like imposters for the last few weeks. You see, whenever we talk to a small-business owner or startup founder, we advise them to focus. To go after one customer segment. To highlight one benefit. To talk in one voice across their marketing channels.
How can you “focus” on more than one thing at a time? How can you “highlight” 37 services? How can you, with the constraints of a small business, manage more than one brand and ensure that your audience doesn’t get confused by conflicting messages?
But we’ve been doing all of this ourselves. We’ve introduced ourselves as “marketing consultants, and we also have a product” or as “we’re building a product, and we also do consulting services.” We’ve been dividing our time between servicing clients and working on the product.
If your feet are on two boats, what happens when the boats gather speed?
If you want 1% of a market, you need to get everyone in that market to at least visit your website.
This ties in with the marketing funnel in our “measuring marketing” presentation. Start from the number of customers you want to meet your revenue targets and work backwards to the number of prospects you need to reach out to. You might be surprised.
We chatted with three of the Co-founders: Aniket Awati (CEO or Happy Co-Founder), Ratnadeep Deshmane (Geeky Co-Founder), and Amit Yadav (Business Co-Founder). Check out the videos below. (The audio isn’t good, I’m afraid, but I’ve added annotations that should help.)
Leo Widrich offers ten myths about startups. I found #1 particularly eye-opening: but it makes sense that deadlines don’t work “when you’re trying to do something innovative and new; when you don’t have a manual to refer to on how to perform your tasks.”
It’s a pleasant delusion to believe that all our problems require hard solutions. This way we feel interesting, get to do challenging things and become more attractive to members of our preferred sex. If you’re constantly feeling tired it’s tempting to become concerned about your iron levels, consider painting your ceiling a relaxing shade of ochre and look into buying a new pillow that fits your personality better. But you probably just need to go to bed a bit earlier. Perhaps on some level of consciousness we find it hard to believe that anything simple could possibly make a dent in our problems, which as we already know are of course really difficult and can only be solved by a super-genius such as ourselves. But there will always be simple things you are doing badly that you should look at first, especially in a startup where you deliberately ignore 90% of things so that you can do the other 10% really, really right.
I had done a bit of coding more than 10 years back, but since then my exposure to the technical side was limited to managing software projects, data analysis, and occasional experiments with SQL or Excel macros. Building a SaaS product of our own was a task I had never imagined taking up.
Outsource or build in-house
We didn’t have a lot of money to hire a great outsourcing vendor or to hire a senior technical lead. We did try looking for someone who could be a technical co-founder but that was not going to be easy.
Unmana and I had both worked in geographically distributed teams for a long time and understood the communication overheads and leakages that need to be dealt with in such a setup. So we were very clear from the beginning that we wanted to have a local team and dedicated developers who can work closely with us. Apart from the cost, culture was the biggest driver behind this decision.
Contribute to the community you want to be part of. There are many ways of adding value – you don’t have to be in the organizing committee to do that. Reach out to the people who are running things and they would be more than happy to get a helping hand.
Find things you can do well – we knew that we would not be able to help much with organizing community events and we like more focused conversations than open ended gatherings. Office hours gave us that opportunity and filled an important gap.
Nilesh talking to participants at our online marketing workshop with members of Pune OpenCoffee Club
We have a few slots open for the second session, so if you want to come, apply here. Participants who haven’t attended either the first or the second session will not be invited to the third. You won’t get much out of just the third workshop without the context of at least one of the other two.
Buffer is one of my favorite tools, but it’s not just the application itself I like, it’s the company. So well, let me count the ways.
Simple App That Focuses on One Benefit
I love how simple and easy Buffer is to use (in fact, I liked the earlier interface even better, because it was more simple). I’ve tried a few social media scheduling tools, but this is the only one I stuck with.
One click on the text box, type in or paste your tweet, and you’re done.
Unmana is out of action for a few days due to a small accident so I am bringing you this weekend’s reading. This one is going to be a mix of personal and business: hope you will find it useful and enjoyable.
I liked Joel Gascoigne’s post about how working with a partner makes you more productive. I’ve found that I’m much more productive when Nilesh is in the same room, partly because I am ashamed to be goofing off when someone is around, and partly because I can get quick answers to questions or get responses when I think aloud and it makes me move forward immediately instead of tabling the issue and starting on something else. Do you prefer working with a partner or colleague to working alone?