Curt CuscinoFounder of HypeLife Brands // Whole Brain Thinker
Bio

Entrepreneur. Millennial Specialist. Founder & CEO of HypeLife Brands (EST. 2001), a progressive brand development + startup marketing agency helping B2C lifestyle startups & challenger brands engage the Millennial Generation. Amazon Best-Selling Co-Author. Speaker. Writer. Technophile. Audiophile. // LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/curtcuscino // Web: https://HypeLifeBrands.com



Recent Answers


In short, absolutely not! While you may read that "finding a co-founder" is a necessary idea out on the web, this is one of the greatest fallacies of what it takes to build a successful startup from the ground up, and bring your Idea to market.

In most cases, if you didn't start with one, you will find it very difficult to find a co-founder who truly shares your Vision, and your passion, for The Idea as fully as they need to...after the fact, you will only find this frustrating and it'll cost you potentially 50% of your equity to boot.

In our work with startups of all shapes and sizes (and their founders) for nearly 20 years, those that I've seen with two partners (co-founders) are also the ones most likely to implode, whether its over money (and who's carrying the financial load), expenditures, how to move forward, disagreements on the Vision for the long-haul, and divided passions. It will also impede your decision-making ability too, especially when this is your Vision you're pursuing...you need to remain in control of that, otherwise it can get diluted rapidly.

As others have said too, you do not need a management team to secure investment capital for a startup beyond your own. Any "smart money" investor realizes the challenges of building a successful startup / new business, and many early stage startups gain funding in part due to having a lean team, a great idea, great execution so far (this is CRITICAL by the way), and a clean cap table too.

So don't be discouraged at all, and carry on as you are, without troubling yourself with these kind of "golf thoughts", it'll only negatively impact your proverbial swing :-)

What you're doing now takes the right timing, the right idea, and enough (usually internal capital) to get to market and find some initial customer traction to prove that your idea has wings.

Then, the rest can take care of itself as you move forward in your journey. Onward and upward!


I wouldn't aim for "exact" per se, but it comes down to having a solid brand positioning first and foremost, aimed at those you WANT to reach, that you feel are the best product/service-to-market fit for what you built your business for in the first place. This won't always be "clean" demographic categories, but rather they may very well overlap into what we focus on here: unique buying tribes (especially if you are trying to reach a large segment of Millennials, who are highly tribal in their nature, digital and offline).

So it may be "oldest half of Millennials who are pet owners in the midwest", or "Retired Baby Boomers who are also homeowners in Southern California", and so on.

Having this set out at the beginning of launching a new startup, or relaunching an existing business into the market with a heavy marketing push, will you help fast-track your marketing and advertising efforts immensely as you'll know more "exactly" who you're aiming at, and it'll be very helpful when picking targeting criteria on whatever marketing/advertising channels you're utilizing (Twitter, OTT, programmatic, YouTube, Google AdWords, and so on).

Of course, throughout all of this will be lots of research...you can try your hand at that on your own using solid resources like Pew Research (https://www.pewresearch.org) and/or starting with Google, which will help guide you to many other solid resources (dependent on the quality of your searches of course).

More than likely, with well (but again...they won't be "exact") defined personas and sticking to 2-3 people groups (not 10), you'll have plenty of folks you can market to, probably more than your marketing & advertising budget can stomach :-)

Happy to discuss this further with you, so feel free to reach out any time!


Having managed platform and app development teams over the past 20 years at my startup-focused brand development + marketing agency, I tell you that it can be a tough road for entrepreneurs and early-stage startup founders without an intense technical background...it can be downright frustrating, and even crippling to new startups in build mode, just trying to get off the line.

But, if you try to go it alone (I don't recommend isolating these types of teams from an overall, cohesive brand and marketing strategy), be sure that you're working with a senior team, with significant experience in the areas you're focused in. In other words, don't try to build a consumer marketplace type of business with developer(s) who have only worked in banking or finance. And don't bring on programmers with little experience in consumer brands that have only worked in biotech.

Also be sure you have a well-versed, senior lead/manager watching over the team of developers, as it's important to have someone to help keep the requirements, concept, and overall work moving forward cohesively. This will reduce your headaches and frustrations significantly.

Lastly, always be sure you have access and ownership over the code, even as it is being developed...if you don't, you get yourself into a sticky "hostage" situation if you find your work slipping grossly behind schedule and decide to pull the plug on the team entirely.

If you have any more questions on the matter, happy to discuss any time so feel free to reach out!


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