Succeeding as a Startup? Make Them Love You!
Last month I attended a session at Bits & Pretzels. Lars Jankowfsky, General Partner at NFQ and founding CTO of various big companies, was talking about how to succeed as a startup with a Minimum Viable Product – an MVP. One thing that really resonated with me, was that your product and your company should be ‘lovable’. But how do you make that happen..?
This idea of your company and product being lovable was actually not his but came from ‘A Smart Bear‘ blog by Jason Cohen. He claims that consumers often dislike MVPs because usually they are not ‘viable’ at all. Instead, he introduced the idea of ‘SCL’. Simple. Complete. Lovable. The first speaks for itself: no need for countless options and varieties, just one simple version. Complete also makes sense: make it simple, but make it complete enough so that it works. But what about lovable…? According to Lars, there are 3 ways to make your customers fall in love with you. In my opinion, you’ll need a bit of all.
Elegant UX with Delightful UI
A beautiful design that just works goes a long way. Think about it; when you download a new app out of curiosity, but you don’t intuitively understand how it works, how long will you keep trying before you dismiss it and delete it from your phone? Not very long, I bet. On the other hand, when you see a product for the first time, it looks nice and you instantly understand how to use it, chances are that you’ll use it many more times to come.
People are getting busier (or lazier?) and we don’t have the patience anymore to just figure things out if there’s not a big need for it. If a new holiday-app isn’t intuitive, we’ll keep using the old one. If a new social network doesn’t make sense, we’ll go back to Facebook. So you have to make sure that with one look, people understand what they need to do in order to get the results they are looking for and that the experience is flawless.
Fulfilling a Need
Another way to get people to love your product is by giving them something they really need. When you provide a solution to some of their challenges, it matters a lot less how slick it looks, how fast it works or when they need to spend more time to figure things out. If it solves a serious problem, they’ll love it no matter what.
Your Company’s Attitude & Culture
But what else matters..? You matter! Together with the rest of your team and everything you do and stand for, you show your company’s attitude and it can make all the difference. A good example of this are crowdfunding projects on websites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. It is quite common that new projects on there may have months and months of delay. People have already pre-ordered the product and paid for it. The companies that barely maintain a relationship with their backers are the ones that will get lots of complaints and money-back requests. However, the companies that are being very transparent, that show the people behind the team, including their personalities, are the ones that get all the good-will and even with 8 months of delay, they still have a group of raving fans behind them.
A couple of tips on how to show your company’s attitude and culture:
- Share videos; not only of your product but also behind-the-scenes, team activities and other more personal things. Bonus points if you try a live video!
- A company blog; use it to share updates and be very transparent in them.
- Take the time to reply to everything; with every nice thing that is being said about you or to you, take your time to show your appreciation. Especially in your early stage, these early fans are your most important ambassadors.
Now ask yourself: will people easily fall in love with your product and company..?