California SEO, PR and General Conduct Lessons for Today’s Tech Startups
If you’re an early tech startup, you’re at an advantage and a disadvantage. The pro: You can avoid the mistakes that the previous generation of techies fell into. The con: You may not know any better. To help separate the dos from the don’ts, Mark Suster from GRP Partners outlines some good startup lessons on his blog, “Both Sides of the Table.” Here are some paraphrased excerpts:
Sometimes, Stealth is Good – There are a lot of discussions on the Web about whether or not startups should be stealthy (i.e. not divulging any plans) before they launch. There is no single “right” answer, but here is a general guideline: While building your product and testing your market, be a little stealth. That doesn’t mean don’t trust others or act aloof regarding your plans; it does mean not telling more people your future plans than is absolutely necessary (in other words, no bragging!). That’s how many a braggart (or an excited entrepreneur who’s had a few too many at a party) has had his idea stolen. Being careful how much you reveal to a venture capitalist, who you may want as an investor but could always inadvertently mention your idea to others later, is part of this guideline.
Market What You Have Now – “Skate where the puck is going” is not just the instruction of a hockey coach; it’s a metaphor for your business. It’s a big mistake to tell too many people where you’re heading, Suster says. “I call this ‘marketing futures’…you want to put your best future foot forward. But don’t let this information get out into the general press and don’t market more than a few months out.” For early-stage consumer companies, he warns against marketing futures at all. Although Suster is referring to traditional marketing and PR tactics, we recommend this strategy to our Los Angeles SEO clients, as it is solid advice for any marketing medium.
Don’t Blow Your Wad Early – Suster points out the to announce that they’re “first” at something and rush to market with announcements that reflect this. If it turns out your product isn’t ready for primetime, you may be done for – and another company may come out with a more fine-tuned version of your product down the road (and like salt in your wounds, have wilder success with it). We’ve seen a version of this with some California SEO clients, so as part of our marketing lessons, we warn against calling themselves “first” at anything in their website text.