OnStartups

Failure To Launch: Why Every Startup Should Have A Blog

Posted by admin_onstartups.com admin_onstartups.com on September 18, 2006 in startup blogging blog advice 36 Comments


I wrote an article about blogging for small businesses this weekend (posted to the other blog I write for Small Business Hub internet marketing blog). 
 
Shameless plug:  I’m trying to get this new blog off the ground.  If you’re interested in small business innovation and technology, please visit.  

In any case, the article on small business blogging sparked some thoughts.  Though it’s important for many types of small businesses to have a blog, I think it’s even more important for a startup to have a blog.

The hard part is that startup founders already have a ton to do (building a product, plotting strategy, recruiting co-conspirators, etc.) so finding time to blog is really hard to do.  Besides, of all the things you could be doing as a startup founder, is writing a blog really all that useful?  

As the old cliché goes, “you have to dig a well before your house is on fire…”.  Well, you have to start attracting clients before you have a product, you have to start talking to investors before you actually need capital and you have to start communicating your vision before you actually launch.  A blog helps do this.

Reasons Why Startups Should Have A Blog
 
  1. Find Co-Founders:  One of the biggest challenges for many entrepreneurs, particularly first-time ones, is finding appropriate co-founders.  There’s evidence that the probability of startup success goes up with the number of founders.  The reasons are mostly obvious [Note to self:  Write future article about this so called “evidence”].  Most of the people that you would deem “worthy” to join you in your startup are likely going to want to learn a ton about you.  A blog is a great way to communicate your passion and vision and find like minded people.  Though you could go to networking events, have speaking engagements or do other promotional things, a blog is much more efficient.

  1. Find Employees:  Similar to the motivation above.  If I were an employee looking to join a startup, I’d want to read about how the founders were thinking about the business before I’d join.  We’re entering another tight labor market and it’s getting harder and harder to find and recruit the right kind of people.  A blog can help you make sure the right people find you (and select you).

  1. Find Early Customers:  Though success in the blogosphere is often fleeting, and only attracts the “early adopter” types, getting these early customers is still important.  A lot of these people read blogs because they’re passionate about the area that they work in.  

  1. Get Early Feedback:  A blog is a great way to start getting feedback (some good, some great, and some crap) about your product idea and strategy.  I’m not a big believer in “stealth mode” (for most startups), and lean towards getting some type of external market validation early.  A blog provides a vehicle for those that are passionate about the area you are working in to let you know what they think about your offering.  If they think your product sucks (and it actually may), at least you have a chance at finding out why.

  1. Find Investors:  Not all startups need to raise capital, but some do.  If you’re thinking about raising funding, a blog is a great way to communicate the “larger vision” of what you are out to do.  Investors also look at what kind of “street cred” you have in the blogosphere.  At the core, investors are looking to properly assess the “risk” associated with your startup.  Any evidence you can show that you have a clue about what it takes to succeed in today’s competitive landscape helps.  Show me a startup that has 20,000+ visitors a week coming to its blog and I’ll show you a startup that has a higher chance than average of raising funding.


Lest you think I’m not heeding my own advice, my co-founder and I have committed to writing an article a week for our new blog (http://www.smallbusiness20.com).  This blog is basically associated with our current startup, HubSpot  and seeks to become a resource for the types of clients we want to attract some day.  (Right now, HubSpot is still pre-launch – somewhere between alpha and beta).

What are your thoughts?  Do you have a blog for your startup?  Are you thinking of starting one?  What’s holding you back?