I talk to a lot of founders about their companies. Often, when talking to them, I reference my experiences at some of the largest companies in the world. Companies like IBM, Siemens, Coca-Cola and others. Despite including anecdotes and lessons learned from my work in and with startups, I frequently am asked by founders to talk about smaller brands, since they seem more relatable. While I understand their point of view, I always remind them: All Brands Start Small.
All Brands Start Small
There has never been a giant company that started big. They all started small. For example:
- Starbucks started in the 1970’s with a single coffee shop in downtown Seattle. By all accounts, it was objectively, just another coffee shop.
- Apple started in a garage. The original Apple-1 had a wooden case and the motherboards were hand soldered by Steve Wozniak.
- Facebook started in a dorm room – as did Dell Computer
What made all of these companies so successful when others failed, or remained small businesses?
- Did they have great products? Not necessarily. Good products, yes, but not the best.
- Did they have first-mover advantage. Definitely not! Coffee shops had been around for centuries. IBM owned the personal computer space and everyone who was anyone had a MySpace page.
- Experienced leadership? No. None were started by serial entrepreneurs with multiple exits. For most this was their first business.
- Luck? Maybe a bit. As Edna Mode from The Incredibles says “Luck favors the prepared!” and all of them were ready to take advantage of opportunities that arose.
What all of them did have, however, was a solid, consistent story to tell. Each had a new or unique point of view that set them apart from their competitors and made an emotional connection with their customers. Essentially, all of them had a well defined brand story from day one. It was about more than their product, it was the story they told, the experience they created, and the perceptions they drove.
So what’s your story? Are you struggling to differentiate yourself in a crowded market? Or do you have a truly unique product idea that no one seems to understand. If you want to set yourself up for a better chance of success, you need to know your story.
This is what I do.
I help startups understand who they are, what markets they are selling to, and which people are their actual customers. Once you know all of this, you can tell your story in an interesting, compelling and meaningful way. You can become your brand. And remember: All Brands Start Small.
To find out more about how I help startups tell their story please visit my website, andrewhayden.com and schedule a free discovery session.