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LESSONS FROM A STARTUP: CHAPTER 3

September 04, 2015

LESSONS FROM A STARTUP: CHAPTER 3

As founders of a startup, our challenge is to build a fuel-efficient engine from the onset to efficiently gain the most power and the furthest distance. To meet the challenge we’ve transformed our greatest weakness into our greatest opportunities, leading us to create an honest 360-degree picture of our business in the market. It hasn’t been easy to call our own baby ugly, but it’s necessary for a successful launch and to generate sustainable brand awareness.

Every business has weaknesses—it’s harnessing them that matters

When it comes to marketing, fuel—or lack thereof—is every startup’s internal weakness. The majority of the time, entrepreneurs view weaknesses as an opportunity and a challenge that can be overcome with the right strategy. This attitude can propel the business forward (until it’s are faced with a fuel shortage). Regardless of how strongly we believe in our new brand, an effective strategy to overcome vulnerabilities is vital to move the product forward.

The greatest pains can become the greatest strengths 

Very few startups enter a space that isn’t saturated by major players. Those who are able, spend millions of dollars to gather intelligent data used to attract, target, gain and maintain customers. These brands can offer higher quality products at a lower price and have better access to complex global distribution channels. Entrepreneurs must be extremely creative, industrious and look for unique ways to create something more meaningful and impactful to attract consumers.

Strength comes from overcoming obstacles

If we haven’t lost you yet, you’re probably an overconfident optimist like we are. Don’t worry—the spark is still there. A brand’s internal strengths are what gets them up in the morning and keeps them going forward. Start-ups need to stay focused on their abilities rather than their inabilities to remain focused on the problem their product solves in the world. Product quality is our company’s top priority. We know that by building a product based on customers wants and needs we can stand out in a saturated market. We’re building a product established on people’s real-life experiences, thoughts, wants and wishes. By building a product created around our target customer’s ideals we can create a product they love and will recommend—ensuring a community of brand loyalists. Virility around consumer feedback is the most powerful and cost effective marketing strategy that we could employ.  

Find s uccess where preparation and opportunity meet

Entrepreneurs are fueled by the opportunity to provoke change—the idea that there is always a need for niche products and markets. The nature of some big companies is to appeal to the masses, offering a number of products often at the expense of quality. This can be confusing to customers, changing their perception of products and devaluing individual needs and desires. Our goal with our product is to speak directly to a targeted group of consumers to redefine the way most companies relate to them by appealing to the classes, not the masses. Analysis is a solid start, but it’s only the foundation. The challenge is to take the insights gained and turn them into actionable strategies that are fiscally possible. Here is our uncommon sense guide for turning insights into actionable strategies that help build your new brand’s engine:  Listen. Listen. Then talk. We’re listening to the needs of our potential customers and critically evaluating whether our products’ strengths meet those needs. For example, the customers we’re targeting expect quality, so we are ensuring that our story and all of our marketing efforts highlight the quality of our products.

What’s learned along the way matters the most

We look closely at what our competitors’ efforts. We monitor and admire noteworthy marketing successes and fails, learning valuable lessons along the way. For example, one of our competitors spends a good deal of money on celebrity spokesmodels, but sales have not translated from that spend. Trends have shown that celebrity endorsements don’t pay off the way they used to. Customers today are more educated and it takes more than a star holding the product to gain brand loyalty.

If opportunity doesn’t knock build a door

We’ve studied disconnects in the market and are working diligently to bridge those gaps through brand-specific marketing that we can execute. By strategically targeting influencers (experts, executives, bloggers) to connect with our story and our products we’re creating an authentic network that will endorse our message to their followers. We understand that staying relevant and visible is a daily effort and the only way we will continue to stay relevant is to cross-promote, network and stay authentic to our brand and our message. Generating an honest, 360-degree picture of your business isn’t easy but it is necessary to successfully launch a product or service. When executed properly, the lessons learned can create a solid foundation for turning insights into actionable strategies—which sets us up for our next chapter—The Fuel.


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