Swiss Money?

by Roger Pynn

I’m a fan of Fast Company.  It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, there’s always something to learn from FastCo whether on design, technology, marketing, workplace issues, leadership or dozens of other topics they cover so smartly.

But this piece on how to get the press to cover your startup company fails to deal with a gut-level issue that every startup exec needs to understand:  that before you start pitching your company to the media, you have to have done something that makes an impact.

The Q&A format item by Gannett CMO Maryam Banikarim, and Maxine Bédat, co-founder of the fashion site Zady, has some great practical advice.  But this preface is, I’m afraid, apt to make startups focus on the wrong objective:

“It’s not enough to have a great business if no one knows your company exists, but getting the media to pay attention to your startup can be tricky.”

In our experience, too many startup leaders want that exposure before they are ready for primetime.  To the authors’ point, our question is often, “What have you done to make sure you’re ready?”

The point is that many of them forget market research that confirms there is pent-up demand, that their product or service provides the features the target audience wants and that they’ve actually developed an answer the market will buy.

We’ve been working for a couple of weeks to develop a relationship with a startup that appears to have done everything right.  They’re anxious to get to market, but patient like what savvy real estate folks often call “Swiss money” … investors who know when it is finally time to sell.

So, long before they take the tactical advice Ms. Banikarim and Ms. Bédat prescribe, they are doing the due diligence necessary to make sure their pitch is based on a market-ready concept.  Swiss money.

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