Startups

 

 

 

 

 

 
Best Advice You’ll Ever Get

You are the founder of a startup, most likely in the technology space.

Here’s the standard counsel you get from engineers, technology evangelists in the media, and investors — especially venture capitalists (VCs): worship products and technologies.

Now, the best advice you’ll ever get: Ignore that garbage.

Technology is temporary, ephemeral, and fleeting — like a shooting star. Here today, gone tomorrow. Replaceable and interchangeable. It’s a means to an end, a building block, NOT the end. Let it not be your core.

Your core must be your brand. Why?

A strong brand encapsulates the value customers want — and are willing to buy. Customers buy value, not products & technologies.
 

 
NOTE: Choose investors and a board of directors that vigilantly embrace branding.

Without a doubt, you’ve heard and read that you should jump right in to create a product, and that’s what it means to be an entrepreneur. It doesn’t.

Nowhere is this more the case than in incubators and accelerators.

An entrepreneur solves problems, creates unique value, and takes personal and financial risks. A tinkerer builds products and takes no risks. Fundamental difference.
 

 
Newsflash: Customers do not buy products and do not buy technology; they buy value and solutions to their problems.

Are you meeting their needs? How do you know?

You won’t know whether you’re meeting customers’ needs unless you get their feedback, in-person, face-to-face. Forget social media: it’s anonymous, highly fake, and unreliable.

That’s why you must ignore the advice of those who love and push technology. Technology is a means to an end; it is not the end. Technology does not solve every problem and often creates problems. Always use common sense and be a minimalist. Elegance is simplicity.
 

 

 
Branding Is Your #1 Priority

Why do I tell you this? I want you to succeed. To increase the odds of great success, begin your journey by creating a brand. Yes, a brand. It’s the foundation of a company, not a coat of paint applied at the end.

Your brand sets your company’s direction and purpose. It dictates the products you build, the people you hire, the processes you implement. You must, therefore, create it first.
 

Branding: CEO/Founder’s #1 Priority

 

 
Avoid Pivoting
 
Yet, the bad advice will keep on coming. You’ll hear this: Branding, schmanding. Screw it. Just build a product.

The ethos in StartupVille, promoted blithely by VCs, tech evangelists, and product geeks: If a brick wall you hit, then you must pivot.

Translation: Don’t worry about getting it right out of the gate; switch gears, and we’ll fund you again. Insane! What a waste of time, energy, money, and talent.

Newsflash: Pivoting is the penalty for not branding FIRST. You can and must avoid pivoting.
 

 

Startup Resources

My site, MarcRudov.com, is resource-rich. Explore it. I won’t duplicate it on this page. That said, in addition to branding basics, here are four key resources you must access ASAP:
 

BRANDING BOOKS BRANDING ARTICLES
BRANDING VIDEOS BRANDING SERVICES

 

 
Parting Advice

Brand Is Destiny™, Your #1 Priority.

Your brand sets your company’s purpose and direction. You must build it first.

Don’t be cheap: NEVER say you can’t afford branding. That’s like saying you can’t afford breathing. And, don’t be chicken. Branding — being unique — takes guts.

If you hate to stand out from your look-alike, sound-alike competitors — because you enjoy and need the comfort of a “club” — you’re chicken, and you will fail.

Finally, if you’re a Millennial, learn to take criticism. The business world isn’t a safe space. Be prepared to stumble, to get your ass kicked, to get insulted, to get rejected.

If this admonition offends or “triggers” you, you’re not ready to be an entrepreneur, to build a startup against all odds, and to be my client.

On the other hand, you have the guts to be my client. So, contact me.

 

 

 

 

Be Unique or Be Ignored™