Aircart’s journey has a lot of familiar beginnings to a lot of startups. We planned for another hustle a creative marketplace. We never launched.
We then pivoted to a music streaming platform, spotify came along, we never launched. We then decided to step back and build something simpler but more powerful, simple links to sell digital products in seconds.
No account creation, just a simple two step process and you get a link that gets you paid automatically.
This finally worked, we launched and got users.
This was about a year ago, since then we have learnt a lot of things we can share with other startups on a similar journey. Here are 5 important things we have learnt so far.
1. Start Marketing Early
Marketing is more important than it seems, especially to technical founders. Like many startups we thought a great product was enough to get the ball rolling. Like many startups we were wrong, invest in marketing at the earliest opportunity, ideally, start working on the marketing at the same time as the product.
2. Competition doesn’t matter as much as you think
A lot of startups obsess and think about the competition. As far as we can tell, competition doesn’t matter as much as your relationship with your customers. Most of the time new customers will give you as much a chance as the next startup provided you check all the right boxes in terms of what they want from your product. So its a much better ROI to figure out what the customer wants better faster and earlier than the next startup doing the same idea. This requires more introspection as a startup rather than playing against the competition.
3. There is only three ways to win
There are only three ways to win as a startup. One. You have to be first. Most people only remember number one. To capture the maximum mindshare possible just be first to do what you are trying to do. Two you have to be faster. Speed is important and speed cuts across every aspect of your startup. From your product, to speed of shipping new features to speed of support.
Third, you have to be different. People respond better to novel and new approaches to familiar concepts. Pick your fighter.
4. Fail Faster
As a startup you are going to try out new things. Most of the things won’t work, the idea is to try so many things as fast as possible to figure out what works and double down on it as fast as possible. This is how we think about product market fit at aircart.
Be okay with failing, and try many things, one or more will work and that’s all you need to get your snowball effect going.
5. Diverse teams build better products
Promote diversity in your team early on. Diverse perspectives result in better teams and diversity brings with it different perspectives. Just having someone from another part of the world on your team can often bring beneficial perspectives on your product.
The most important aspect we can end with is consistency and persistence. With these two traits any startup can work. As long as the founders don’t give up, the startup is never dead.