Posts Tagged ‘startup’

Startup/Product Blog Inspiration

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

It has been common practice for years now for startups to blog about their new product and its development. It’s one of the key methods to keep your future customers informed. However, as soon as you find yourself in the situation to blog it can’t hurt to have some inspiration.

First, I’ve selected blogs that seem to post regularly and have some traction. The blogs I choose are: kissmetrics, pingdom, flattr and joelonsoftware. After some reading I extracted the following topics from these blogs.

  • Press coverage, if you’re product was reviewed in a paper on an important blog, this can validate your product in the eye of the reader. You are not just an anonymous product, but a serious contender.
  • Jobs, listing job openings shows that you are growing, this can be interpreted as a sign of success, people don’t want to buy from someone that is loosing.
  • Important News, besides the obvious point of informing your users, posting news on your blog will also provide reference for those interested in spreading your news even further.
  • Development Progress, especially if there is not much happening on the outside, it’s good to show that you are still committed to the product. People hate to invest effort in something that’s dieing.
  • Development process/tools, if your target audience is also in the developers arena, blogging about the process and tools can be the start of a relationship. You’re not just a company trying to sell them something, you are a colleague, with the same problems and challenges. JoelOnSoftware mainly focuses on this and is great at it.
  • Niche Related Articles, becoming a resource for your potential customers, without directly selling your product by posting articles related to your product niche is a great way to gain a bigger audience. Kissmetrics does this exceptionally well.
  • The same goes for Best practices/tutorials. Especially if they become easier by using your product, but do not require it.
  • Infographics are very effective link-bait, again Kissmetrics is very strong in this area.
  • Reports/Research based on your data or questionnaires may get you press coverage when executed correctly. Pingdom is regularly featured in mainstream newspapers as a source. A very smart form of promotion.
  • Industry News could also widen your reach, but it will probably require a very very persistent approach to become an authority in your niche.
  • Repost stuff from the internet is a very common tactic often in the form of round ups like: “the best 5 SEO tools” or “10 must visit design resources”
  • Interviews can come in a lot of different ways, you might interview your team members, important customers or an industry bigshot.  Of course the latter is more likely to get you some extra audience.

I hope this listing will inspire you to post more regularly, it certainly inspired me.

5 Bootstrapped Startup Reality Checks

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

If you’re in a bootstrapped startup,  looking at your bank account probably isn’t the most cheerful experience. You are probably still investing all that comes in and maybe even a bit more. So how do you know that you are still on the right track?

1. Are we there yet? Are you running a profit?  If you don’t know… do your homework and get back here ASAP.  If you are making a profit… why are you even reading this article?

2. Is there a future? So you are not running a profit… but could you?  If you would cut all development and investment related costs  and  would coast with whatever you have right now…  Would there be enough money for you to sustain this operation? If so: you are already investing in making more profit in the future, make sure though that the extra investments really contribute to your goals.

3. Can we make it? If your revenue is not high enough right now, you are walking a thin line. Is there enough money expected to bridge the gap?  Find out when you can get to #2 and sum all losses you expect to make in between.  Do you have that kind of money or can you get it?  This may be the time to adjust your plans,  either cut some costs or get some extra money.

4. Does it matter? What if you would sell everything right now? Would it be enough to cover debts and the income you missed?  If so, maybe it’s good to stop bootstrapping and get some money to prevent this value you’ve created to be wasted.   Keep in mind that you don’t want to wait till the last minute, because if you’re out of options… you are going to be a bargain.

5. Do you love it? Maybe your business isn’t that dependent on money, still, you are investing a lot of time in it, right?  If it’s not worth the money, at least make it worth for yourself.  Is this really the thing you love most to spend all your time on?    If you feel committed to a project you don’t really love anymore,  find someone who can take over,  or change it so that you can love it again.