Startup Accelerators · Social business

What is the strongest thing a new startup can do to get noticed?

Kashif Jehangir Assistant Manager Administration at Private Company

October 15th, 2016

I started a business a year ago. It’s not really progressing the way I hoped for. Somehow things are moving too slow. Could you share some advice on how to get noticed on the startup scene. Social media? Accelerators? What is the ultimate method to gain massive traction and get noticed?

Srikumar Rao The Happiness Guru - Coaching for Extraordinary Impact

October 15th, 2016

Question is too generic, Kashif. What does your company do? Who is your ideal customer and what benefits does she receive from working with you?

Dimitry Rotstein Founder at Miranor

October 15th, 2016

The ultimate way of getting noticed is to sell your company for $1B or more. Nothing beats that kind of publicity.

Seriously though, "getting noticed" and "gaining massive traction" are not the correct goals - they are just means to an end, and not the only means, and also, they are certainly not the same thing. The right way of growing your business is to optimize the product-market fit, leverage customer acquisition channels and so forth. These processes differ for every startup - there is no magic bullet here. 

That being said, if, for some reason, you are bent on quickly generating a lot of attention to your product, then you have at least three generic options: leeching, paid promotion, and viral loop.

Leeching means getting a piggy-back ride on an existing marketing platform with huge exposure to your potential clients. One method of getting there is a strategic partnership with a large company (I think Pokemon Go went that way with Nintendo). Another is to utilize crowdfunding platforms, which can double as promotion tools. Yet another method is "news-jacking" - becoming a news article because your product was connected to some highly publicized event (Twitter became famous for being used as an organizing tool in the Arab Spring events around 2011). Unfortunately, all these methods require a lot of skill, connections, and luck, not to mention initial investment.

Paid promotion, on the other hand, is very easy to do, but it's not cheap. Even on Facebook, which is one of the cheapest ad platforms, expect to pay at least $10 per customer (assuming PPC of >$0.2 and visitor-customer conversion rate of <0.02). In such a (typical) case, in order to get even 100K customers you'll need to invest $1M. And even that works mostly for B2C products only.

Viral loop costs much less - almost anybody can afford it, but it is very difficult to achieve. Still, it's my personal favorite. I have had some success in this area and my research on the subject can be found in this presentation:

Irwin Stein Very experienced (40 years) corporate,securities and real estate attorney.

October 18th, 2016

Mr. Nagy: You have touched on a critical point. Many start-ups fail to raise the money that they need to succeed.  Every business should start with a good plan which includes a realistic budget of what they will actually need to spend.  If you raise only one-half of the funds needed, you will likely fail and you will be doing a disservice to the investors whose money you take.  People who have a truly great idea or product can usually find the investors they need. People who truly believe in themselves, will take a mortgage on their home, often through the SBA. The gentleman asked the question "how to get noticed." A professional PR firm is the correct answer. 

Michael Hartzell Entrepreneur, Addicted to "Yes" - When Everyone Wins

October 16th, 2016

I live in Seattle, the home of the Space Needle. It is awesome and hard to miss.

People cheer, point, refer, share, and invite to experience it... and then tell stories of their own experiences.

Building something to be a Space Needle, ensuring that each person's experience is s delight happens in the planning and building stage.

Once it's built the next methods to share and invite depends on your future customers.

In the mix though will be videos to help people see the before and after - and show them the benefits "almost live".

Mikhail Velichko Corporate development manager at Intend

October 16th, 2016

Build sales. Drive marketing. Be in touch with your customers.

Irwin Stein Very experienced (40 years) corporate,securities and real estate attorney.

October 16th, 2016

Isn't the obvious answer to hire a firm that specializes in public relations?

Rod Abbamonte Co Founder at STARTREK / @startupHunter / @startupWay / @CoFounderFound / @GOcapital / @startupClub / @lastminute

October 16th, 2016

The answer could be any. To find an better answer you need a personal advice.

Gabor Nagy Founder / Chief architect at Skyline Robotics

October 18th, 2016

What kind of startup can afford a PR firm, though?
Maybe, if you are Magic Leap, with nearly a billion in funding...