7 reasons why you MUST shift to the digital marketing world

Today digital marketing is not a unique way of marketing, it has become a basic need for marketers in order to be able to connect with its existing and prospect customers. Digital marketing is an umbrella under which it covers –

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Campaign Marketing
  • Content Automation
  • E-commerce Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Social Media Optimization
  • E-mail Marketing

According to information on Wikipedia – The term digital marketing was first used in the 1990s, but digital marketing has roots in the mid-1980s when the SoftAd Group, now ChannelNet, developed advertising campaigns for automobile companies, wherein people would send in reader reply cards found in magazines and receive in return floppy disks that contained multimedia content promoting various cars and offering free test drives.

Though this world had its roots back in the 1900s, this form of marketing became more sophisticated and took proper shape only in the 2000s. It was only 2000s that things like proliferation of devices, and capability access. Digital media today, has led to great growth of digital advertising. Statistics produced in 2012 and 2013 showed that digital marketing is still a growing field.

If you have still not adopted this fast growing industry’s advantages into your regular marketing, these here are 5 reasons that will motivate you to become a part of the digital marketing industry –

  1. This industry is cost- effective. It requires no extra equipments nor does it require lot of funding. It just requires use of latest technology and someone who knows how to use it. Digital marketing is the future of marketing, and the sooner you adopt it, the better for your business
  2. You do not need to go on site to use this type of marketing. Digital marketing can be done from anywhere, by anybody and at any time. The best thing is, it reaches out large audience at once, with minimum investments.
  3. As you all know, digital marketing is a type of marketing which uses internet. The advantage here is that you get a global client list and can reach out to anyone and everyone. Geographic boundaries do not apply to this industry, and that’s the best part! The whole world is your market and there is a better possibility of getting more clients
  4. Online marketing is easily measurable. You get details analysis of all your marketing strategy’s metrics immediately – how successful it is, how many customers viewed it. You can also get graphs of how your online strategy has been working all this while
  5. The digital marketing industry is bound to expand. It is the new age Yellow Pages. It is the medium that puts the marketer in the middle of the consumer’s purchase psychology funnel
  6. It allows you to get immediate customer feedback and eliminates the need for sales person or middle men in your business
  7. Digital marketing is never a waste of time or money. It enables you to reach. It will enable companies to reach out to only those who are genuinely interested in your product or service. This will accelerate the trend toward use of behavioral targeting and retargeting in online ad placement

So move out of the traditional marketing and spend your time on the new age marketing. Digital marketing is the in thing. You can delay its acceptance, but cannot ignore it. So adopt it soon so that you learn its trend sooner. You can also hire freelance digital marketers to help you understand this industry. Once you get a hang of it, you are free to use it to your discretion!

Making the best out of mentor meeting time

In evolving startup ecosystems, access to mentors that can add value to a startups journey is extremely limited. Even more so in the early stages of a startup. When a startup does get access to a mentors time, one has to ensure the best value. Value maybe just validation of the overall idea, throw some color on the opportunity, review the market segments and the go-to-markets, review the near term plans and priorities, or one of many other.  Three aspects are important. Who is the mentor. What is the relevant background. Why do you want to meet. And what do you expect to realize.

WHO.  Now a mentor maybe a successful entrepreneur, a domain expert, an investor, an incubator, a potential customer or any other. And value from each is very different. The first thing the startup must be very conscious of is why is that mentors time needed. What relevant perspective is the mentor bringing in. What do you expect to get from that time. This is very important given that often the first meeting with a mentor is very short and unless the startup interests and excites the mentor there are definitely no further meetings coming by.

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WHY. WHAT. When asking for time need to make sure exactly what you want from the mentor. Establish the relevant perspective or background of the mentor clearly. Need to clearly state what you would like realized in the meeting. And of course, briefly talk about what you are doing and present state or challenges you are dealing with.

HOW. In any mentor interaction, startup MUST understand that the value is in letting the mentor speak and listen. So other than explain what you are doing and maybe share some of the challenges you are needing advise on, most of the time you must let the mentor speak. And startup must  just listen. As much as possible.

  1. One Non goal which many startups don’t fully appreciate is that in a mentoring meeting you don’t have to convince the mentor. You don’t have to get the mentor to agree with anything you say. You have to share your idea an d any related information, only so far as needed to help the mentor understand what you are doing. When mentor disagrees, that is extremely useful input. Don’t scuttle it by arguing and completely missing the point. Just need to listen to what the mentor is saying. Make a note and then figure out remedial action later. Maybe your understanding was incomplete. Maybe articulation was poor. Maybe there were gaps in your thinking. Maybe you did miss some market assumptions or made incorrect assumptions. Just look for these signals. This is much more important than trying to “convince” the mentor.

In this whole process a clear pitch is extremely important. That highlights the idea crux, the market opportunity, the gap, how compelling, how the startup is filling the gap, size of the unserved gap, the present status and the projections.

Happy Mentoring.

4 tips to streamline your online content marketing

captureSocial Media – the new rage for effective communication for companies. This platform has the power to either build or break a brand. With positive spread of word on social media platforms, companies can get free marketing and increased brand recognition. Vice versa, negative comments can break the already established brand.

With this technology platform being so important, it is important for us to leverage and exploit it to its best advantage. With just 24 hours in a day, we have to make sure that we are able to take ‘some’ time out to work on ‘what’ we are posting online – because once uploaded, it reaches out to a large audience all at once. When you try to bring out some really nice content for your online marketing, you must concentrate on –

  • Collecting content
  • Automating posts
  • Sharing material
  • Analyzing your metrics

 

#1: Hire an expert

Today there are people who expertise in the field of online content marketing. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to them. You can hire them full time or part time depending on your need and leave the work to them. Just explain them your requirement and allow them sometime to handle the task by themselves. However, it is recommended not to give them complete liberty in the beginning. Keep a check until you know that they are good to go all by themselves on behalf of you.

#2: Believe the fact that, old posts shouldn’t be forgotten

Heard of refurbished phones right? Similarly, old content and posts can also be refurbished. Yes, you have read it right – You may not know, but some of your old posts might still be relevant to your current need for marketing. You just need to update the information and make a couple of edits. Sorted!

#3: Let your sales team and content writers collaborate

Your sales team are the ones who interact with your customers directly. So, it is quite obvious that they know the most frequently asked questions, and the major concerns of your customers. Using this to your advantage, why don’t you allow your sales team and content writers collaborate? By doing so, you will be able to come up with lot of do’s and don’ts to include in your article. Plus, guess what? You will have a ready list of topics with you – as to what to cover and at what priority. It is like shooting two stars at one go!

#4: Research and keep reading relevant article

Building content for your post is the toughest step of your online marketing. It is always recommended to collect content and information from various baskets, collate them and then use it in the best way possible. The best way to do this is set aside some time everyday to search for relevant content. While doing so, it is important for you to set time-limits – If you’re not monitoring how much time you’re spending on social networks, you’re in a trap because social media is the easiest way to get distracted. Try limiting your efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to 10 minutes for each site. Open interesting links and save them for later. Then spend 10 more minutes looking through your top niche blogs/websites. Have a list of these blogs already prepared so you can go right to them and look for relevant content for your audience.

It is not necessary that you have to limit your search to online websites. Old school books and popular novels can also act as important resources to build content for your web. You can also talk to your employees – you never know the hidden knowledge that they have can also be an important aspect in your content.

The key to streamlining effective content is networking and research. The more you do these two things, the more knowledge you will be able to collect and the more easy it will be for you to create your own content.

Top 5 mistakes startups make when planning their marketing strategy

The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.

—Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

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When in a startup, there are several things on your plate while growing your company. You have a service/product to develop, a team to manage, and deals to seal. You may not even have the budget to hire a marketing manager, but know that marketing is important for your company’s overall growth. While you’re strategizing what you would hope is a highly effective marketing strategy, here are five foundational elements you should not ignore:

Diving in without sufficient research

Lack of in-depth research just might render all your marketing efforts futile. And when we say research we are including the following:

  • Buyer personas: They are abstract idea of who your potential consumers or decision makers will be. It should include the buyer’s behaviors, occupation, age, gender, interests, etc. You should create as many specific personas as your business needs in order to include all of your varied audience. For example, if you’ve built a photo-editing site, the features and marketing messages may resonate better with the GenX as compared to the older generation.
    What this means is that once you’ve better defined and understood your ideal customer, it is easier for you to market to and sell to them.
  • Competitors: Competitor research will provide you insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your current and potential competitors. Understanding the positioning of your competitors with respect to the overall market trends gives you a brief about how you can formulate your own business tactics.
  • Present market stance/environment: While conducting your market research, segregate your data into two fields: primary and secondary. Primary research is data that comes directly from the source(potential customers). Secondary research can include studies, statistics, reports, and other data from organizations.

Ignoring the sales hurdles

marketing-stragegy

Sales and marketing teams should both have a common understanding of the organization’s buyer personas as well as shared business goals. Not all engagement made by the sales team with a potential prospect delivers the best outcome– some people are not interested, some do not need the product/service at that particular time, and a few others may just never want to do business with you period. When creating a “marketing” strategy, do not overlook mapping of the sales process. This is where marketing and sales alignment can effectively help in reducing the time and effort it takes to close a sale.

By ensuring that your strategy involves your marketing team nurturing leads through the awareness and consideration stages of marketing, and then transferring the qualified leads to the sales team. This saves you time, energy, and resources as it expedites the process of lead conversion.

Leaving no room for changes in strategy

Facebook had started focussing on advertisement-based marketing in 2012. And while Facebook is still used to get updates on what’s happening around the world and consume content, communication has been slowly shifting to other platforms(example, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.). This is because of the flexibility of sharing things in a better way. Look at the stat below, which shows a decline in the Facebook engagement from the first quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016.

facebook-app-stats

So, it’s safe to say that what worked yesterday may not work today. So, it is indispensable to be open to tweaking or revamping your strategies from time to time, to accommodate latest market environments.

Now this does not mean that you shouldn’t commit to the current strategy you choose. You can try A/B testing your strategy for a period of time (say, for three months) to see what works best for your company. Resort to various social media channel marketing to see which platform gives you better traction.

Ignoring analytics

Instead of looking at only the big picture of monthly leads/opportunities/traffic, drill down and measure your efforts regularly. Figure out which post got the most engagement, and which particular piece of content drove the most volume of traffic, etc. Even if your efforts do not pay off, evaluating the quality of traffic will help you modify your methods by knowing what does or does not work well for your company. Every business is different, and there is no universal list of metrics to be checked off. The good news is that it has become increasingly easy to find free tools(or almost free tools) that can help you track and measure your results.

The most important things to measure when tailoring your marketing strategy are:

  • Traffic: where is it coming from, what is the amount of traffic, which content/post has drawn the traffic
  • Leads: which campaign, source, program, or offers are driving in leads
  • Conversions: traffic → leads, leads → prospects, prospects → sales, and expense per customer acquisition
  • Competitors: how do your key rivals sum up in terms of reach, traffic, inbound links, rankings based on keywords, etc.

Google Analytics provides a wide range of detailed information which can help you track your progress in a very effective way. You can also check out HubSpot, which offers integrated analytics to examine your visitor’s behaviors, web video metrics, etc.

Relying entirely on outsourcing the company’s digital requirements

Outsourcing sales and marketing campaigns might work wonders for your company. But expecting a third party to handle everything and achieve first-rate results might typically end in disappointment.Even if you plan on outsourcing your marketing strategies, it is highly essential that you put in effort and educate your team about what digital marketing can do for your company’s overall growth.

Before launching any digital campaign, always ensure that you meet with the agency and understanding the ongoings to stay on the same page. Invest time in finding out which methodologies will be utilized and how will the success be measured. Continual communication is also crucial to guarantee an optimal campaign.

The advantage of any startup is making a product/service, culture, and business that is all your own. Don’t inhibit the growth of it by implementing a flawed marketing strategy. Creating a business plan is arduous, but the harder part is developing a coherent picture of marketing strategy that makes sense and is appealing to others along with providing a rational roadmap to the future.

Obtain as much as feedback as possible, to gain more perspectives about your business plans. If you’re still baffled about how your plan should/should not be like, find a professional you trust, to guide you through the entire process and fill in the knowledge gaps.

About the author:

Priya Karan is an Inbound Marketer at The Smarketers.
As an inbound marketer and a creative content writing enthusiast, she is passionate about all things marketing, and has a strong preference for the digital side of it.

3 myths to let go off to be successful

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“Success comes from within. You can’t give it to someone and then expect it to come to you!”

Success is a word that holds different meaning to different people. Yet one thing that remains same for everyone is the zeal that has to come from within. There are lot of stories and beliefs that people tend to grab on with the intention that once the person has imbibed these thoughts, they will be successful.

The fact is that limiting your beliefs will also limit your brain functionality. A human brain is a wonderful tool and the best way to use it, is to allow it to function on its own. So, let the brain do its own research while you ditch these three myths today –

Myth #1: Another person’s success mantra will work for you

It is a BIG NO for this thought! Maybe for a person having a pocket satisfying job is the meaning of successful but it is not necessary that the same applies to you! Every person is different, every person’s goals are different and hence their success meaning are different. So, when the definition differ, how can the way to reach there be the same? Do not follow tested and tried ways of succeeding and life. The best way to achieve success with your startup is to create your own formula!

Myth #2: I need to build a full proof plan on how to success

The truth is that, you can never have a full proof plan to reach the end of the success ladder. Every day is new, and change is the only constant. With changing times, changing demands and a dynamic business market, it is very difficult to create a success plan. In case you are successful in creating one, the difficulty is when you have to sustain and follow the plan in the ever changing environment. So, skip the myth that you have to have a full proof plan in place. Instead, create short term plans and goals and keep altering your plans with changing needs of consumers. Ensure you have backup plans in place as well.

Myth #3: I am not afraid of falling

Really? Actually speaking all of us are always in the fear of failing. The fear could be in different forms – it could be in the thought of ‘what will people think’ to big fears including loss of money and goodwill. But the truth is that somewhere down the lane, all of us are afraid of failure but put front that we are actually not scared of falling! So, let’s come out of this myth and accept the fact that falling and failure does impact us. The sooner we accept this, it will be better as we will be able to plan for contingencies and failure. Having a backup in place will help us plan for downfalls.

Coming out of these false beliefs will help us plan our success in a much better and truthful way. We can fool others but can never fool ourselves. So, don’t force your brain to believe something that it doesn’t want to. Follow your heart and brain and your success is not very far!

How investment-ready are you?

While clearly an important caveat if and when a startup needs money, assuming there is a compelling case for investment, when is a startup “ready” for an investment. What are the parameters that investors look for, and that startups should prepare for?

The most significant readiness factor is if the infusion can accelerate the startup’s journey. Accelerate the process of building and taking the product to market. Accelerate the adoption of the product in the markets. Enable a significant amplification of value to customer. Eventually, increase revenue opportunities. And this value varies as startup moves across stages of evolution of startup.

In seed stage, the primary readiness factor is if the product is built and some basic validation is in place. Technical feasibility is established with atleast a market prototype built that can be tried out by customers. At least few customers have used the product and communicated useful utility and potential commercial interest. Actual sales need not have transacted. The investment is to take this to next level and demonstrate actual market traction and revenue.

In angel stage, investment readiness is when the product has been successfully taken to the initial market. Customers have bought and used the product. In a small segment, the customer adoption has been scaled. The investment in this stage is primarily to now show that the sales can be scaled. The first stage of serious scaling. To tweak and pivot the organization, product, and market readiness to a much higher level of capability to address much larger scale of business. In this process, the startup will get ready for subsequent rounds of investment in the growth stage, when startups look for VC fund infusion.

Most fundamental tenet of readiness is that at each stage, the previous stage has been successfully crossed. Along with readiness, time is key.  Should be clear that the infusion of money at that stage, will significantly amplify the pace of growth compared to continuing without the funds infusion. Growth coming in an economically viable way. Sustainable growth is key at all stages!

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Good Mentors can supercharge your Startup. Here’s why.

stay hungry stay foolish

Being a startup founder is hard as is. Building a sustainable product, hire, manage & motivate a team, retain customers, raise capital, manage social media & PR; the list is endless. Should you take time to find an awesome mentor and share your startup journey with them? Is it really worth it? This article answers just that.

Do I need a Mentor?

A recent survey conducted in the New York Tech sector, the second largest tech hub in the world; revealed that 33% of all the startups who had a mentor went on to become highly successful, top performing startups. On an average startups who are guided by a good mentor are seeing a growth rate of over 60% every year.

Successful entrepreneurs / founders such as Chad Dickerson of Etsy and Nat Turner of Flatiron Health have been mentored by other successful entrepreneurs like Caterina Fake from Flickr and Brian O’Kelley of AppNexus. When Steve Jobs passed away, Mark Zuckerburg said that the Steve had been an invaluable mentor. The founders of Dropbox, Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, are mentored by Ali and Hadi Partovi, two successful serial entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley.

Quoting a few examples from home, Phanindra Sama, founder and chief executive of redBus attributes much of the company’s success to the visionary insight he received from mentor Sanjay Anandram.

Sairee Chahal, founder, Sheroes.in says that she found great mentorship in awesome entrepreneurs and professionals – Vijay Shekhar Sharma (founder Paytm), Vibhor Mehra (Ex-SAIF Partners), Amit Ranjan (co-founder, Slideshare) and Rajul Garg (angel investor) – all of whom are invested in success of SHEROES and that makes all the difference.

Time and time again, the value a good mentor provides to a startup has been highlighted by surveys and by the founders themselves.

What makes a Good Mentor.. well, Good?

To find the right mentor for your startup, look for a confident mentor who has expertise in the skills you lack. Big names and titles don’t always mean someone will be a good mentor. The best mentors are those who don’t want anything in return but just want to help entrepreneurs. They are the ones that believe in giving back to the ecosystem and genuinely want to make a difference. Having said that, it is also the responsibility of the entrepreneur not to overstep and take undue advantage of someone’s time.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at what attributes make a good mentor? A good mentor is:

1. Someone having the right experience

Find someone who has expertise in the areas you lack. Are you a techie and are totally new to marketing+sales? Find a mentor who can guide you on the latter.

2. An Entrepreneur Themselves

Look for someone who has real life experiences and learnings to add. Most of the good startup mentors have their own high performing startups. This is also a good way for you to see them apply their own advice in action.

3. Patient, supportive & a good listener

Anyone can give advice, good mentors are great listeners. Find someone who is patient, is supportive and believes in the problem you are trying to address. A good mentor has to be frank and warn you if you are heading in the wrong direction. Most importantly, good mentors are always good listeners.

4. Approachable

Having a mentor and speaking to them once a year serves no good. Mentoring, more than anything is a relationship. Time, effort and work has to be put in for it to cultivate and become valuable. When looking for a mentor, see how approachable they are and the best ways you can stay in touch with them – at least once in a quarter.

Where do I find a Mentor?

Now that is a Million Dollar question!

But worry not, WE from Headstart (more on them in a bit) has got you covered. This October 2016, Hyderabad is to witness the first of its kind, a Mentoring Event for Women Founders. Click here for more details about the event – The event that can hockey-stick your startup’s growth

 

About the Author:

Jayasri Nagrale is a volunteer with Headstart. She is the founder of Yeloni and Lightious. She can be reached on Facebook. When not working on her startups, she is loves playing with her puppy Zen.

Is technology the best way to a quick startup success/exit? 

Great news this week about a 3-year old startup from Hyderabad, Tuplejump, being acquired by Apple. They were in the big data space building a product that allowed use of nosql databases. Deep tech mumbo jumbo. But, think about it. When starting up, how does one pick the idea to pursue? Sometimes, there are a lucky few, where in their immediate experiences they come across a problem that deeply resonates and then find a solution for that. How about the others?

One common path is to take something that worked elsewhere and pivot it to make it work in a different context or geo or domain. Many startups that have done phenomenally well with such ideas. Amply demonstrating, rarely is it the idea that determines success. It is always the team and execution that determines the success.

And then there are people that have knowledge and  experiences that are a bit removed from real world problems or use. Like say a hard core techie that builds solutions based on specifications given. Here the rei sno understanding of the customers domain nor empathy of the customer’s problems. Just specifications, to design and build and deliver to. Now even here there maybe a startup opportunity. To build a technology platform.  That other techies may use to build their end solution. Here no business domain or customer context needed. Just an understanding of how someone builds solutions.

This is exactly what the startup Tuplejump did. Built a technology product that other techies and developers will use. Built it to enable access to new types of data with new ways of storing data that was rapidly coming up as users got more active in the internet and enterprises went more actively to the cloud. Data was now more to mine insights into what users we redoing and less about transactions user performed. And this was a solution with a global appeal. That caught Apples interest.

Is this a way to build a product that can grow very quickly or get aquired more easily? Maybe.

Tuplejump

Startup events – a boon or a bane?

Startups are always looking for that little bit of support, feedback, advise, guidance, customer reference or investor connect all the time. And this is never easy to come by. Very elusive. And probably not always very effective!

In recent months and years, there is a deluge of events. In varying forms and hues. Broadly, always having sessions that share founder experiences, mete out advise from investors, few engaging panel discussions and the mandatory networking sessions. Every startup attending these events hope to gain some insights, some knowledge, some skills maybe, and surely some networking. Some introductions. Some connections. To investors, customers and prospective employees. All well intended. But how does a startup ensure the time spent at an event is helpful to the startup?

Bang for the buck is the most important. And immediately relevant bang. Not some very generic recognition nor value in the long term. Should further the startup’s business. Should enable the need the startup has at that time. In pre-seed stage it could be to get a validation of the idea or assess opportunity. In post seed stage it could be to get references for pilot customers. If looking for funding, it could be to get access to investors. Could be to get mentors. May be get access to partners. Or help reach go-global accelerators or incubators.

Startups time is very precious. Every minute should help. And help the right way at the right time. So a fullday spent at an event should really help. Very tangibly. Before going to an event should pause for a momentto see what help is most needed at that point. And ensure the event enables that before investing time there.

Surmounting the ‘Chasms’ in Start-up lifecycle

Have been hearing about crossing the chasm forever. In a strategy discussion this week, this came up again. Now to look at assessing mature products. Not just startups. Thinking further, clearly there are chasms at all times. If not congnizant, the startup or product may quite not ‘cross’ the chasm. What are some of the key chasms that a startup must keep in view as they embark on their early stages?

These chasms pretty much occur thru the evolution of the startups idea. In the idea stage, there is the opportunity chasm. The opportunity needs to be understood well. A definitive need or gap in the market, that the startup has a way of addressing gainfully. An opportunity with customers that are well segmented and a clear path to reach-out and appeal to each segment. This is the opportunity chasm that the startup must cross without any assumptions coming undone or a key element completely overlooked.

Having identified the opportunity and defined the solution, next challenge is the product chasm. Sifting thru the gazillion requirements that all seem important all at once, to identify those few (precious few) that are most critical to appeal to the initial prospects base. Those few that will help get the initial set of users to try out the product. Not easy to resist the urge to consider every possible feature as being ultra critical for revenue. To be able to look objectively and pick those few capabilities that are most important to win prospect attention and hopefully their money.

Alongside is the bigger marketing chasm. Once one has identified the critical product functional set for winning initial customer, then comes the marketing chasm.every possible segment seems important. Every bleak possibility of closing a deal brings with it a strong temptation to go all out after that segment. Whatever it takes- travel, product capabilities, deep pricing discounts, throw more goodies. And more.. all costing money! Not realizing all thru that laser sharp focus needed in this stage,. Pick those few low hanging fruits and go all out after them, just them.  Else the chasm will outrun the limited energy and resources that the startup has.

Having successfully crossed the above three chasms, picked a validated opportunity, identified a super relevant minimal product functional set, picked a key target segment and successfully capture that segment, comes the next one. How to convert these customers into champions. Into strong ambassadors for your product and startup. The customer support chasm. Conflicting demands placed by these customers and new prospects. Not going after a new prospect is leaving money on the table.  But going after that may mean losing the opportunity to make the initial customers strong champions for your product. That will help trigger a very strong positive word of mouth. May trigger references. And trigger a more substantial prospects’ stream.

And the biggest chasm is that these chasms never end. At every stage the above repeats. As I discovered this week that even for a decades old company with a strong revenue base and deep pockets of funding, there are always chasms to crops. Conflicting priorities to balance. Carefully and objectively assess near term results when picking from these priorities. Ensure a constant eye on the scaling when picking these priorities.

Whoever said a startup was easy! But then, aren’t the rewards of entrepreneurial accomplishments, professional excitement and market results worth it?

  • Market requirements chasm.The first chasm is getting the customer requirements right, product or service, to satisfy a real need that a large number of customers will pay real money to satisfy. It takes focus to resist adding a long list of features that seem to make the opportunity larger, but dilute to focus of both you and potential customers.
  • Product development chasm.Another common chasm is never-ending product development. Focus is required to resist adding a few more neat features, made possible by the new technology, which in fact make the product more complex to use, impossible to test, and very expensive in time and cost.
  • Marketing and sales chasm. Lots of people still believe the major cost of a new product is development. These days, with all the clutter in the marketplace, the highest cost is usually marketing. Focus is required here to pick the low-hanging fruit, break through the clutter, and then move on to the next segment. Marketing costs can be a deep hole.
  • Customer support chasm. Products that have features which are unfocused, or aimed at too broad an audience, can be almost impossible to support. Customers need lots of help with installation, or can’t make the product work the way they expect. The result is that customer satisfaction in unachievable or at least very expensive.