Let’s say your startup is underfunded—so underfunded that, after you obtain the bare minimums required to call yourself a business, there is almost no capital left over to market it. How can you triage your branding needs? How do you identify and prioritize the most essential marketing initiatives?
Correctly answering these questions can help your company stay afloat during the initial bootstrapping phase; failing to do so, as oDesk VP Matt Cooper learned the hard way, can cost you dearly. In his recent article for Inc. magazine, Matt details the lessons he learned from a failed boat rental business he started with his uncle, such as the importance of customer outreach:
“In our quest to have the best facilities and equipment, we neglected to speak to even a single prospective customer. No Boy Scout troops, no church youth groups, no fraternities from Southern Mississippi University. As a result, I can count on only one hand the number of times, in the seven years that we owned the business, that we reached even half of our booking capacity.
Today, I still fight against the urge to make big investments before we’ve ‘beta tested.’ Every time that urge pops up, I picture gleaming new canoes hitched up to sad empty passenger vans.”
Read the rest of Matt’s article here!