And more advice from Bonnie Halper, Founder of Startup One Stop.
StartupOneStop is a community of startups, by startups, for startups. If you are someone who has a startup or has something to offer one, simply register on the site, and you can post what you need or what you have to offer.
1. Social media talent ≠ marketing talent.
Your marketing director should be old enough to vote. We’ve seen many startups with a young marketing person who is adept at social media. Meaning, they post across all platforms and may have something of a following. However, Instagram/Snap/Facebook/Twitter followings do not make a marketing person. A true marketer is someone who has developed and executed a complete marketing plan. We know that marketers are redline hires, or so you’d think. Without a go-to market strategy, it is much harder for your company to get into the black.
2. Don't think you can write your own copy.
It’s not simply about writing – it’s about communicating effectively. Because Founders believe that anyone can write, that skill is devalued. The concept needs to be rethought. Try this: you pay your tech developers, right? The writer is developing the concepts that will effectively get your message to your prospective audience/customers. Think of it as a front-end coding skill. Anyone can learn to code. Not everyone can code well. Content writers are front-end developers who use a specialized coding language. Words instead of zeros, ones, symbols, etc. And remember, the first thing your customers see are the words, not the code.
3. A growth hacker is not a marketer.
Nor is it a new term for a marketer. It was Sean Ellis who created the category, and he wrote, “A growth hacker is not a replacement for a marketer. A growth hacker is not better than a marketer. A growth hacker is just different than a marketer. A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.” One is not a replacement for the other.
4. Sales and marketing are not the same skill sets.
Nice to believe that you can bring on someone who does sales and marketing. Truth is, that person will be good at one of the disciplines or the other. It’s like asking your developer to write the copy for the website.
5. A developer is not a designer.
Don’t expect the developer to have front-end design skills. It’s not in their wheelhouse. Trust us. We know that startup employees/acolytes tend to wear several hats, and that’s fine, to a point. But, there’s someone who looks a hell of a lot better in that fedora than you do. Stick with the baseball cap.
6. Don't think you do not need a business model.
Contrary to popular industry misconception, you do need a business model. One that has a pathway to revenue and profitability. Eyeballs as "online currency" are not what it used to be – and never should have been the model in the first place. Case in point: Facebook harvesting user data and putting your privacy up for sale. It did make Mark Zuckerberg one of the most powerful men in the world, especially when you consider Zuckerberg holds sway over almost as large a population as Russia, the US, the EU, and China, combined. Facebook is also one of the companies that sucked the oxygen out of innovation. If your focus is on Social and you are equating mere eyeballs/traction with success without having a revenue-generating model, you may well be doing product development for Facebook.