Our Daily Bleg: Need Some Startup Strategy, Please

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A reader named Patrick Nash needs your advice:

My friend and I have developed a cutting-edge technology for social media. There are other similar technologies out there for social media but we could never compete with their resources. Should we just point blank say we are the cheap alternative as a selling strategy? Sounds cheesy and flimsy but may be our only avenue.

What do you have to say to him? I don’t expect a lot of you to have experience specific to his product, but I know there are a lot of starter-uppers among our readership (yes, both kinds of starter-uppers), as well as what you might call “psychology of pricing” pros. So let’s see what kind of advice you have for Patrick.


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  1. Joe K Fobes says:

    Look deep inside and ask yourself

    “if I was the customer and I knew all the facts, would I buy from me?”

    If the answer is no, then do something else.

    If the answer is yes, then ask yourself “why?”. And the answer to that is what you say and sell.

    Congruency and sincerity sells.


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  2. Clancy says:

    Market to smaller companies or universities or anyone with eccentric but low volume requirements. Then emphasize customization and your ability to meet more esoteric needs. In other words: go after the customers the big players ignore because it’s not worth their time to try to please. Unfortunately, this means more work for you and your friend. Your customers will stick with you because you are “more responsive to their needs” which means they can push you around because you need their business whereas Google and Microsoft can ignore them.

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  3. Breandan Filbert says:

    Patrick, Instead of making it about you and your strategy, describe the person who would best utlize your service. If it is affordable to smaller businesses and other start-ups describe the owner who would want to work with you.
    So your statment might sound like ‘The real approach to social media a small business can actually afford to implement’
    It really is all about your customer and not about you after all. Make your marketing work as the marketplace works.
    Good Luck and Good Selling!
    Breandan Filbert

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  4. Niranjan says:

    I would be very interested in learning more about the offering. There are many strategies you could adopt : depends on a whole range of factors :

    a) B2B / B2C
    b) Who the competition is?
    c) Can you niche first and broaden?
    d) What is the response to your product from the end users?

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  5. carlosmx37 says:

    -Contact a recently graduated marketing guy with knowledge of internet development.
    -read past articles of the very good magazine “inc”.

    -ask yourselves what is the main advantage of your product that even microsoft,google,or facebook cannot match.Besides the low price,of course!

    there is a market for all products,of course,but the marketing guy or girl can help you to figure where is that market.(e.g.,..I have read recently that the chinese have bought a company in my country to make basic stoves that will sell for less than a hundred dollars in africa!)
    good luck!

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  6. Rich F says:

    My gut feeling would be to give it away !! let me explain, produce a ‘lite’ version that you can release as open source or free download with an option to upgrade to full version at a later date.

    Alternatively, produce a free demo version that be given away with any relevant IT mags / publications.

    It works for crack dealers !!

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  7. Tim says:

    If you are a very low cost base organization, that may mean that you can enter markets that would not be as profitable for the higher cost companies. you maintain a “normal for sector” profit level in a sub sector that the others find unattractive due to there fundamental cost structure. then you move up the food chain

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  8. Tim Dellinger says:

    Your only avenue isn’t selling yourself as the cheap solution. Cheap = worthless (customer perception), and the last thing you want is a price war (you’ll lose).

    Your only avenue is creating a more compelling user experience, and building up a base of passionate users to help you iterate your product, and possibly pivot. Otherwise, you have nothing of value to sell. Build things that people want, and charge what they’re worth!

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