The Importance of Being Earnest and of… Sharing Your Startup’s Story Early On

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One day in Startup Bootcamp

Don’t forget to talk about your startup – and to find its authentic story

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

No, we are not having a metaphysical quiz here at Edgar. We are talking about your startup’s success.

While you’re bogged down in doing research and getting the technology right while taking care of sales and business development, and trying to sleep at least three hours per night, giving a voice to your startup might not be on your mind.

Well, it definitely should be.

The marketing vs. the technology approach

Do you remember Amir Hirsch? It’s likely you do, as his explanation of the Stanford startup and MIT startup approaches was clear and illustrative enough to impress everybody.

Without wanting to turn the two approaches into a chicken-and-egg dilemma, or to oversimplify them, the story goes like this. MIT (and MIT-style) startups focus on technology relentlessly. They simply perfect the product to the extent that it can fly you up to the Moon. And sadly enough, oftentimes they fail because nobody has heard that there is a product that can fly them up to the Moon. So investments and consumer interest flap.

The other extreme are the Stanford approach startups. In simple terms, these guys know how to talk about their product or service. They’ve understood well that without proper traction they will not get noticed by investors, or by anybody for that matter. This leads to extensive marketing efforts that precede technology developments. And while it’s a lot about creating a hype based on no product, people know well in advance they will be flying to the Moon. And they sign up for the trip.

The path less traveled

Middle Way, Summertown, Oxford

It’s not always easy to achieve the middle way. But do try.

Chicken or egg? I’d say both, but experience shows that marketing trumps technology in startups. So what path is the best for your startup?

While pumping up the volume of your business when you still don’t have a clue about the actual product development is, frankly, not the most earnest approach, the other option is not optimal either.

As in many other fields, taking the middle way remains highly advisable yet difficult to attain. When resources and time are scarce, it’s only natural to pour them all in the most intuitive direction you deem possible.

Yet even if you’re forgetting to eat because you’re too busy working on the tech side, you should make the space for your startup’s story to shine through and reach the world. You will thank yourself later for that.

Share your startup’s story

Rand Fishkin

The founder of Moz Rand Fishkin certainly likes to share Moz’s story.

You probably don’t realize that right now you are writing chapters of history. And the motivation, conditions and first steps in creating your business are what make your startup’s story unique. Unraveling it and letting the world know about it might be just the missing link that can take you to the next level.

How come? Because people love stories. They relate naturally to a good tale that amuses, engages and unfolds in front of their eyes. And rest assured, even your budding company has a story to share already. It’s a dynamic one because it’s a story in the making. It’s a story that you are living and that is living through you.

From the inspiration that led you to your business idea to the people you met in the process, every moment of your startup’s development holds a powerful narrative that does not manipulate reality but rather packages it nicely for people to know and enjoy. Need examples? Think about successful startups like Moz, Buffer or KISSmetrics. Their authentic content is telling their brand’s stories.

Once you have dug out your narrative, it’s much easier to pave your way to becoming a thought leader in your field. Your startup’s story is a true helping hand in establishing your market position, building relationships across fields and ultimately, raising your startup’s voice, so that they know you’re going to fly them to the Moon.

And tell it with Edgar

There is no need to create a spaceship to make a difference in the world. And even if you did, make sure your story is being well-told.

Otherwise, it’s likely that the falling tree did not make a sound.

Need help with crafting your startup’s story? Edgar would love to help.

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