Sunday, April 5, 2009
I'm fortunate in that in a relatively short period of time, I've managed to gain some great momentum for my company. And more than ever, I've been receiving emails, Twitter direct messages, Facebook messages, texts and IMs from friends and acquaintances, friends of friends, friends of acquaintances, some virtual and some IRL, all asking me how I "did it."
Naturally, it's a challenge for me to respond to everyone the way I'd like to - which is to give them my undivided attention and support - but I just can't. It's becoming more than I can handle. So I thought I would just simply put my secret recipe here. Of course, as with every recipe, the final outcome is in the hands of the chef. Nevertheless, this is my three-pronged approach for success:
Strong Product. Powerful Niche. Social Influence.
As you know from my story, I invested my life savings into SavvyAuntie.com - the product. All of our constituents (consumers, advertisers, media, etc) are human, and they all either 'get it' immediately, or they don't. I believe you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Don't blow it with a product that's not great. You may never get a second chance.
It worked for me. Twenty-three minutes after I launched, I received an email from the digital media buyers for Hasbro. They wanted in. An hour later, Sephora contacted me. And so on.
So product, product product. It can't be good. It's got to be great.
There's no point to a great product, if no one wants to experience it. You need a powerful niche. PANKs - Professional Aunts No Kids - is a segment I carved out of the population of American women that I feel are under-served, untapped, and incredibly powerful.
Know who you are talking to, or they won't listen.
Finally, there's social influence. I realized shortly after I launched that people were interested in my voice and any value I might be able to add. With close to 8000 Followers on Twitter, a regular 'gig' on Fox News, representing brands online and on TV, and introducing sponsored conversations people enjoy being a part of, my influence is a great asset to my company.
By the way, social influence was never a part of my original plan. The social media platforms that have really become invaluable to me (Twitter, Facebook, this Blog), enabled me to realize my passion for connecting with people and being part of online communities, was something that could actually help grow my brand reach. Timing is everything. I started my company as these tools we taking off. It's not too late for you. But go build your voice online. Add value. Create influence.
My advice to anyone thinking about starting a company: Make sure you invest in the development and design of your product, identify a niche that people "get" and use your own social influence to leverage greater reach.
Of course, none of this works without a lot of hard work and determination. So be prepared to work harder than you have ever worked in your life. And be prepared to be happier than you've ever been.