You have a great idea. You do your research, develop a concept, a prototype and finally a working product. You’re good to go, right?!
Well… mentoring startups at various stages I often see founders putting the majority (and in some cases all) of their focus on product and technology, relying on it alone for their success and not realizing that neglecting to invest in quality marketing is like going to a networking event in their pajamas. This approach is the Achilles’ heel of many young companies as they try to raise funds and acquire new customers.
While relying on product alone could work in a world made of purely technical people, in the real world we have to sell and prove ourselves as worthy to different types of decision makers (investors, managers, CEOs and others) who not only look at the technical/product aspect but also give serious consideration to the impression they have of the company and team as business professionals.
In my experience working with investors and companies who seek attractive opportunities, I see how attention to details, communication, order and documentation are critical components that influence the decision making process. They consider them indicators of the level of professionalism, maturity and also how easy it will be to work with your company.
The components I mentioned are often reflected in the first impression of your company, way before you get your first face to face meeting – in your website, marketing and presentation material.
Being a young, developing company where every cent counts shouldn’t prevent you from doing this right. It is not necessary to keep a full time in-house marketing professional but instead’ you could take advantage of the booming freelance market hosting ample of experienced professionals who can take you to the next level in a reasonable time and budget and without the long term financial commitment.
Yes, for some this may feel foreign, off track and unnecessary. But when asking investors and customers to trust you with their money, making the right impression can make it or break it. Good luck!
Written by Ori Aldubi – Managing Director at Clearview Partners, startups mentor and entrepreneur.