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Why all startup founders should embrace transparency

By Guest Author on Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

This IPitch guest article was kindly supplied by Paul Towers.  Paul is a 3x Entrepreneur and Founder of Task Pigeon, a web app that makes it simple to create, assign and manage the tasks you and your team work on each day. Paul also founded Startup Soda to help source and promote interesting and insightful content from the startup community.

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Over the past five years, there has been an increase in the number of startups looking to share their story.

No, not the story prepared by their PR agency. Or the one written after the fact. But the story of the company, its founders and the success (or failure) they faced along the way.

This concept has taken hold because these founders realise that “people buy from people”.

In today’s age, where there is increasing competition and new startups launching daily it is not enough to merely say you have a great product. Or a great marketing campaign for that matter.

To create lasting value and relationships with your customers they have to feel like they are part of the journey. That is to say, they have to feel like they are “invested” in the brand.

As one would expect its innovative companies and startups like Buffer, Groove HQ and Baremetrics that have led this charge towards transparency.

And while some will admit to doing it as part of their content marketing strategy, you cannot argue that their blog posts and insights have provided immense value to the community (and in turn their customers).

As the Founder of Task Pigeon, a task management solution that makes it easy to create, assign and manage the tasks you and your team work on each day, I knew I had to do something different to stand out and looked to the above mentioned companies as examples of success.

What I saw was that if I could build a community around me and get people to engage with my brand for more than just the product, then I had a chance and creating lasting value with my customers.

Over the past six months I put this concept into practice. I have shared everything from what scares me as a founder, to how I failed in my attempt to pre-sell some licences for our SaaS solution.

This experiment showed me once and for all that there is real value in this approach. If you share your story and provide valuable lessons along the way, people do care. In fact, I have lost count of the number of people who have written in to thank me for my honesty or provided their feedback on what we are doing because they know I will value their input.

Over time I believe this will lead to a level of defensibility around the business. While this should never be the “be all and end all” of your product market strategy the past six months of my life has shown me that every startup should look to the concept of transparency as a key way of building value and relationships with their customers.

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