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Five Easy Ways to Help a Startup
As a first-time startup founder, I’ve been surprised how random acts of support can build momentum and create serendipitous opportunities for the business. Going out on your own provides a unique perspective on your existing online and offline networks, both and professional and personal. While it’s hard to know who to reach out to and whois willing to help, inbound support can really make a difference for time-strapped (and boot-strapped) founding teams. I imagine most founders will never forget those who helped in the earliest stages; I wanted to share a few examples of simple ways to help a friend or colleague who is starting a new venture.
Shares - Worth 1000 Likes
Social channels like Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook are easy ways for startups to get the word out. However, it’s up to friends and fans to help share this content,to really spread awareness. Likes and Hearts are helpful, but these are silent,passive methods of support and validation. By clicking the ‘share’ button, you both affirm and spread this content to first degree connections, which creates virality and generates a much bigger impact.
If you see a friend working on a FinTech, EdTech, AdTech or HRTech startup and you know friends who work in Finance, Education, Advertising or Human Resources - a one-sentence introduction to forward thinking friends is pure gold. New founders need to speak with unbiased industry professionals to get early product feedback and to determine product-market fit. It is often these early informal conversations that turn into pilots and paying customers.
If you work at a company with some empty desks and good wi-fi, invite an early founder to share some space or work a couple of days per week out of the office. Even with co-working spaces and free wi-fi at Starbucks, startups are looking to cut unnecessary fixed costs whenever possible.
Many founders build companies to solve problems they have personally experienced.Opportunities to speak at events, meet ups or industry associations are effective ways for founders to get the word out that they have created a solution.
Event Participation and Sponsorship
Since many early startups don’t have the cash to be gold or platinum sponsors, the ability to get company logos and back-links (great for SEO) on industry-facing websites, blogs or landing pages, goes a long way. This is especially useful for business to business (B2B) startups with specific industry or customer segments. If you host or plan events, consider adding a ‘startup pavilion’ and invite a few relevant startups to share what they’re working on.
Nick Livingston is co-founder and CEO of HoneIt, an audio interview platform that optimizes phone screening through an online collaboration system--which results in a more efficient process, higher quality hires, and a better interview experience for everyone.