Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two Startup "Musts": Marketing and Money

Occasionally I get unsolicited letters from entrepreneurs (Canadian and otherwise) asking for advice, and when I can I try to answer them.

This morning an email drifted in from "Andrew", who is running a Web startup in the Middle East. He had addressed his email not just to me, but to some of the most prominent business and entrepreneurship commentators on the Internet.

I admire that kind of pluck. So I decided to try to be the first responder.

Basically, he wanted advice on raising seed capital. Here is what I told him,

Hi Andrew
I have checked out your website, and think you have a great concept in xxxxxx. I wish you luck with it.

I suggest you immediately secure the service, or advice, of an English-language marketing professional. Your letter, and the lack of branding on the site itself, suggest you need a fresh set of eyes to help you more clearly explain your product and how it creates value for people.

As for funds, I don't know what your contacts are, or what the state of venture capital is in your country. In general, though. I think you are best to bootstrap Internet businesses. (See this recent Inc. Magazine article on "
ramen profitability".

I think your best source of funds is from family and friends. They are the ones who should believe in your dreams first. And their support can often get your business to a level of success at which point banks or other institutional lenders can get interested.

There is not a lot of information out there on asking for "love money", but here
is a link to a story I wrote on the topic last year for MoneySense Magazine.

I wish you all the best!


No comments: