Learning the Art of the Start – Part 4

17 04 2008

This is the fourth in a series of posts on The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki. Part one was on “why you’re starting”, Part two covered “describing what you do”, and Part three was on “getting cash and getting going.” Look for the final installment this time next week.

Proliferation: Connect with customers and start selling

Of all the sections of The Art of the Start, this one on partnering, branding, and selling seemed to connect most with where I’m at (or where I’ll be next) in the startup process. I could create a post about each chapter in this section, but I think for now I’ll stick to the art of branding, which according to Guy requires

“creating something contagious that infects people with enthusiasm, making it easy for them to try it, asking them for help in spreading the word, and building a community around it.”

I like the use of the word contagious in Guy’s description here. At this point, while ClimbPoint has been effective in infecting its users with good vibes and enthusiasm, it hasn’t been contagious: it’s hard to catch, and hard to spread.

Making a product easy to catch

So my first task in branding is making ClimbPoint easy to catch by offering a free trial and the ability to painlessly purchase the full version online. To this point I’ve gone back and forth on what to charge for the software, but I now feel more comfortable going with the lower of two numbers I’ve been kicking around. Guy contends that “a reasonable price that fosters the creation of a brand can produce large returns later.”

I’ll probably sit down one last time with the product pricing primer from Eric Sink on the Business of Software and just pick a number.

Making it easy to spread

Once people have your product, there are lots of ways to help their enthusiasm for the product spread to others. Among them:

  • Ask them for help in getting the word out, and give them tools to do it
  • Build a community around your users…if they like it they’ll invite others to join
  • Exude humanness as a company (feature customer stories, give to a cause). This helps people connect
  • Find and lower the barriers to adoption
  • Make it easy for people to leave if they choose. They’ll respect you for that and be more willing to recommend the product to others

I took a lot of notes on this section and am looking forward to putting them into action soon. The chapter on partnering with other individuals and businesses may come into play in a couple weeks when I attend the CWA Summit, and I plan to begin “rainmaking” (bringing in sales, according to Guy) after I return from the conference.

But let me end with a brief call to action for myself. I’m good at analyzing and planning, and I like to read about startups in their early days…but frankly, I haven’t found too many startups who are blogging about their experiences. I believe it’s because they decided to…

Stop talking, start doing (yeah from the IBM commercial)

So enough with the ideating already! 🙂 I’m not going to post here again until I have 1. a logo or 2. a website, or both.




One response

3 05 2008
Adventures in graphic design « Another Startup

[…] in graphic design 3 05 2008 Since I last blogged about The Art of the Start I’ve been busy starting…but I’ll get the last post in that series up in a few […]

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