This guest column is by Anjli Jain, Managing Partner at EVC Ventures.
The startup literature gets crowded with legendary stories from valiant startup founders playing out amazing moves to bring their companies to the pinnacles of success (like the story of Marc Zuckerberg taking his own co-founder of out the company).
Ever since this has turned out to be a norm more often than not. Cheated founders, frustrated employees, unethical CEOs are often cited in the startup world alongside lack of morale when morale is needed the most, if not always.
Yet to succeed in the startup world you have to be radical, at least to think differently than everyone else. Fortunately this can be achieved by mere cognitive repositioning rather than being shot at.
Being different comes naturally as soon as we re-wire ourselves to think slightly different than the mainstream and forget the good old lessons of compliance we were all taught at schools
In other words – be bad boys and girls. Yes, me, Anjli is actually telling you this.
And here is how to be bad – in a good way.
Humour your email subscribers
When was the last time you abused your customers? Or your email subscribers? Contrary to what you are accustomed to believe, this might work in your benefit because it will show others that you care. People have funny ways to connect on the basis of sincere emotions.
I know someone who did exactly this. He sent an email to all his email subscribers, some 50,000 of them telling them to get out of his list. The email was short, containing the message and a link to an unsubscribe form and a survey.
To his surprise, this email had the highest open rate from all his campaign. Furthermore, people clicked on the link and spent the next 30 minutes filling it up. He ended up gathering treasure grove of new insights from his subscribers, he would not have gotten any other way.
Copy like crazy
I know what we all have been taught to think on this topic. Be original. Do original. If you copy you are being unethical. This is in fact overestimated and what keeps most of us back and with empty bank accounts. Which brings another invitation to be unethical.
Most of the things you see out there were created and influenced by something else. No one knows the original design of things. Even writers themselves are influenced most of the times even though they will never admit that.
No matter what you do you are practically copying something or someone because you are influenced by it. So in fact you might want to start being intentional about it. Start copying like a madman and then use good combination of marketing/PR to set yourself apart. Grow rich first, preferably like Elon Musk before you start thinking about creating new categories.
Talk about the numbers. But don’t show them
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and sales executives are guardians of a well-kept secret. They call it – Talk the numbers out but don’t show them. Do you have a healthy list of 10,000 email subscribers to your blog or your waiting list which keeps growing towards 50,000? Then say you have 50,000.
Why? Because people will talk about it. Because Word of Mouth is still the most powerful form of Marketing. People used to talk, people talk now and people will keep on talking even more. It doesn’t matter even if you really have 50,000 email subscribers because once it is confirmed that this really is the case, people will stop talking. And you are losing on a free marketing channel.
Never let the talk fade if you really want to position yourself in the race for success. Ever.
Keep them talking.