Innovators and startups take many different paths on their journey from idea to execution. As a founder of SparkLabKC, an accelerator program in Kansas City, MO, I was privileged to witness many of the ways in which scrappy startup founders pursued funding. These entrepreneurs, driven by their unique vision for the future, work tirelessly to share that vision with the rest of us.
Of course, they can’t do it without funding. While the current investment climate makes it possible for many young companies to achieve the dream of landing venture capital or other major investments, not all startups are in a position to avail themselves of traditional methods. Where can they turn? Continue Reading
In movies, television shows and magazines, entrepreneurs are idolized and presented as individuals with laser-focused plans who are willing to work through obstacle after obstacle to make their big vision a reality. While most entrepreneurial success arises from an understanding of where you are and where you want to be (i.e. the big vision), this emphasis on stubborn determination is a bit overblown and, frankly, bad for business.
The truth is: great entrepreneurs must be willing to change. The really good ones understand that new businesses and products are unreliable, and they will likely need to change their idea at some point in the future. In the startup world, we refer to these changes or strategic shifts as “pivots.”
In my experience mentoring startup founders, I've interacted with many entrepreneurs who have put together fantastic products and services, but have little awareness about the proper branding strategies to give them a boost as they go to market. Many of them assume that they can emulate the strategies of similar products to gain their share of customers.
It’s no secret that there is a link between powerful branding and success in business. However, in an attempt to attach themselves to the success of established corporations, many entrepreneurs employ similar branding techniques as the organizations that have been in the marketplace for decades. More often than not, these entrepreneurs are left confused and frustrated. They wonder why their own campaigns failed while these older brands continue to succeed, even though their products might be more innovative and of superior quality.
Kick-Starting Your Brand
Building a brand is different than maintaining one. Most new businesses don't have the resources to burn through marketing budgets with expensive TV ads and experiential marketing events. So how can new products compete?