This past week, we had another outlet post an article about the humble beginnings of our company Alumnify. While the fact that we started with nothing is motivational, I used to worry that customers would view it as a bad thing. As we've started to grow, I've realized how wrong I was. Being in a startup that doesn't have much money is tough. Every day is a battle, and you lose countless hours of sleep worrying. That's the negative.
The positive is what that adversity does for you. You develop a mentality where you do things you would've never done before. Moves that seemed too radical are now the norm. You know time is ticking closer and closer to your startup running out of business, so out of desperation you do whatever it takes.
Even as your startup goes on to be successful, the feeling will stick with you. You never want to go back to where you were, and a by-product of that is developing paranoia about failure. While this attitude can drive your team internally, it also is something that customers will love. I never realized this until more and more of our clients found out about our company's origin. The fact that we built our company out of a car attracted business more than we ever could've expected.
If you're starting a company out of your garage instead of an office, you need to get your story out to your customers. Starting a company with nothing is only a disadvantage in the beginning. In due time, it'll be one of the best ways to get business and build your brand. Here are a couple reasons why:
1. You'll get away with making bold moves
When your buyers see you overly pursuing their business, often they'll be annoyed or offended. They have a million things on their mind, and the last thing they want is to have to be chased down by a sales person. A big exception to this rule is when the purchaser knows you're building your startup from scratch.
While some customers will be weary because they don't want to be an early client of a startup, other buyers will love it. I've gotten away with overly pursuing business because the prospect knew how I started out. She understood that having that mentality is what pushed me forward, so she actually appreciated it. You'll have clients say no to you, but then add in the note that they appreciate your "hustle." If this starts being your reputation, run with it don't fight it. Being a customer of a hot new company that started in a garage is cool. Working with another boring corporation isn't something worth talking about.
2. You'll get plenty of new opinions
One of the best parts about being a new company is that you can ask your prospects for their advice on what you've done so far. Customers love being able to give their opinion on a new company, and having their buy in makes it much easier to get their business. Buyers also appreciate it when you can be honest and admit you don't know all the answers. The advantage you give yourself is that you let your purchasers know you care about them and the problem they are facing.
Also, everyone always cheers for the underdog. If you're going up against big competitors, your prospects will help you because they want the underdog to win. They also know that their voices will have more of an effect on a new company.
3. You'll develop a great stereotype
When you are willing to start a company with nothing, it says a lot of your character. First, you're not scared to take risks. People who change the world are the ones who are crazy enough to believe they can. Second, if you're still in business you must be hardworking. If you don't have angel funding to get you going, it takes a lot of sweat equity and sacrifice to push through. Finally, you must be creative. True innovation comes when we are presented with constraints.
All these qualities are things that people want to see as a customer of yours. Being an established organization has its advantages, but they don't have all the advantages. No matter if you land the sale or not, clients will always respect a founder who's trying to get a company off the ground. It takes a lot of guts and confidence, which only a few crazy minds have. Don't hide from the stereotype-- instead, you should embrace it. Your competition will hate you, and your customers will love you for it.