Story & Survival: Beat the Startup Death Rate with a Clear Message

How important is a good story, really? When you’re growing an early stage startup, there are a million things to worry about – from fundraising to finding a new tech lead to getting your beta launched to simply keeping your hosting bill paid. Should story be at the top of your list? According to data directly from failed startups – missing a good story and a strong, clear brand is one of the top reasons for not making it.

In February, I represented Uncommon Bold at an event for the tech sector at the Ministry of Awesome in Christchurch, New Zealand. I spoke about the power of storytelling in helping startups survive. It’s true that only 1 in 4 VC-backed startups will make it – but a closer look at the reasons why founders said their company failed show the true impact of a solid brand story. According to research from CB Insights, founders blamed 63% of startup failure on breakdowns in the categories of marketing and people.

For founders, crafting a clear story about your company’s passion, market fit, differentiation, culture and value is more than a “nice to have” – it’s a necessity for survival. Your story can create market demand, reduce marketing spend, and help you stand out from competition on the marketing side. Your story can help you recruit the right team, stay focused and align on passion on the people side.

This kind of advantage only gets more important in a slowing VC investment climate. Having a buzzworthy brand that balances stable revenue growth with a big picture mission helps your startup stand out when the market contracts. It’s no coincidence that some of the most successful and compelling tech brands today (Airbnb, Uber and Dropbox) launched during the 2008-2009 down periods.

Get your story straight, and help your startup survive any market. Read more in my slides from New Zealand, or feel free to get in touch anytime.

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