The Startup Journey - powered by Precursa

EPISODE 7

What’s in a (Brand) Name?

Branding, naming, content strategy, marketing, advertising… What’s a start-upper to do? In this episode, we discuss how Precursa got its’ (rather wonderful) name, how the brand was designed, and how we are building a plan to get that name and brand out to the masses.

In today’s episode, Cynthia shares about the exciting things happening with Precursa, along with what strategies they have held on to in order to bootstrap and weather the storms. 

Today’s episode is all about the name. Cynthia will cover how you brand and name your business, where the name Precursa came from, and much more! In the early days of Precursa, a branding expert was hired who heard from the company about the vision and values of the start-up. Then she did a lot of research into trademarks, marketability, and availability, coming back to them with a list of 7-10 names that each had domains available. Names should be easy to spell, easy to remember and have available domains. 

The naming and branding should come well after you understand what your MVP will look like and after your customer validation interviews. You should understand the problem you’re solving and who it’s for before the name is chosen, so the name reflects the values of your company. Cynthia encourages entrepreneurs to resist the urge to name their company too early and get attached to names. Instead, she recommends letting others give you feedback on the name and allow it to develop naturally.

Once you have a name, the next step is to create a logo that gives your customer visual cues about your business. Most logos can and should be fairly simple. Being true to the values and intention of the company while creating your logo is important as well. Then you can begin working on your marketing strategy and communicating with customers via email and social media. This is about establishing value outside of your paid service or product. You can’t plan on going viral, you have to plan on spending money and reaching people from multiple angles.

Cynthia explains that while she knows enough about marketing and branding to be “dangerous,” she also knows she doesn’t know enough for what she wants to do with Precursa. Precursa is looking for a marketing professional to consult and help create a strategy. They’ll also be looking for content experts to help build out their social media accounts. 

Be sure to like, share, and subscribe to Precursa on your favorite podcasting platform and tune in for the next episode! 

Email us (startup@precursa.com) with any questions or comments. Check out our website (https://www.precursa.com) for more information on getting your startup rolling.

Straight to you from Denver, Colorado, this is Precursa: The Startup Journey. We share the ins and outs of building a tech startup from inception to launch to revenue and beyond. If you’ve ever wondered what building a startup from scratch really looks like, you’re in the right place. With full transparency and honesty, we reveal it all about Precursa on our ride from idea to exit: the wins, the lessons learned, and the unexpected twists and turns.

Hello, everybody, welcome back. This is Precursa: The Startup Journey, where we are telling you everything about the building of our startup, which is a startup designed for people who want to build startups. Today, I promised it way back in the beginning and then realized that it was far too premature to talk about way back in the beginning. So we’re finally getting to it. Branding naming. How did we come up with the name Precursa? What does it mean? At what point do you do branding and naming? How important is it really when you’re talking about a startup, and then I also want to talk a little bit about content marketing strategies, what channels do you go into our media and public relations stuff. Are you national? Are you local? What markets should you be in, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So I want to dig into all of this and I’m going to be completely transparent. As is true for most people who are building a startup, there are areas where I am definitely have more expertise. I’m definitely more of an expert and others where I’m not. And for the most part, when you’re building a startup, when you’re building a new business, you may or may not have the luxury of hiring all the people who would actually be better at all the things than you are. Sometimes budgets, timeframes, timelines, just the situation that you’re in dictates, okay, I got to learn something about this. I got to do enough to get us to a position where we have a strategy where we’re doing a thing, whatever that thing is. And once I get that traction, and once I get something started, then I can figure out how to bring in people who are better at it than me. So to be fair, when it comes to branding, naming, marketing, content strategies, I know enough to be dangerous. Meaning I know enough to get us to a point where we need somebody who actually knows what they’re doing. So just full transparency on that, and know if you are a first-time entrepreneur, or if you’re thinking about being a first-time entrepreneur, the reality is you will spend time learning new skills simply to forward your business until you get to the point where you can hire people to do those things. Now I’ve talked quite a bit about our funding activities that we have going on. We’re in the process of, you know, finalizing the term sheet on this money that we’re going to borrow, essentially doing debt financing, I’m not going to rehash that. Once that money closes, we’re going to be hiring someone. And we’ll probably talk more about this as I learn more from this person. And as we develop a more elegant, mature strategy, but we have done a bunch of work leading up to now, and we have some plans in the works for things that we can do until we can hire someone who can build us a more mature, more permanent strategy that doesn’t depend on Cynthia and the things that she does or does not know. So first let’s talk about branding and naming. So our company is called Precursa, right? I mean, it’s right there in the name of the podcast. If you know anything about us at all, you’ve heard the name a gazillion times by now. Where did it come from? So we hired a really amazing branding and naming specialist. And what she did was we started with this process where we knew what we were building. We knew what our goals were. We knew what our values were. We knew how we wanted to interact with people and what outcome we wanted to get for them. And so she did a bunch of exercises with us that were designed to bring out those things, get her up to speed on all of those things in a way that allowed her to say, okay, if we were to distill down the values, what is Precursa? What is not Precursa? And of course you weren’t using the term Precursa, we were calling it the startup program, the startup platform still then. But if we were to distill down what we’d call the values and the mission of the startup platform, these are those values. What is it? What is it not like? We wanted to make sure that we were approachable, but knowledgeable and expert, right? But we didn’t want to be stuffy. We didn’t want to be lecturing. So she took all of that data and all that information. And she did a ton of research and she came back to us with a list of probably seven to 10 potential names. Now understand she didn’t just research the name itself in terms of this would be a really cool word or this, you know, the origin of this thing matches what you’re trying to do.

04:54

She also presented us with options that actually had domains available that would make sense for our business. So she wasn’t going to come back to us with, you know, startups.com as a name, because obviously that’s already taken, that’s not available, right. Or entrepreneur.com. What she came back with were options that fit what our values and our targets and our goals and our outcomes and how we relate to our clients and what we do for them. But that also have a domain name available and that don’t already have a patent or a trademark on them for something else. Right? So in naming a business, you have to make sure that you’re digging into all of those areas and pieces, because if someone else is operating in a tech space and using the name that you want to use, you’re going to have challenges and you’re gonna potentially be sued. So it will either cost you a lot of money to reserve the right, to use that name later, or you end up having to rebrand and rename your business, which is like, it’s heartbreaking, it’s expensive. So when you’re at the point where you’re ready to take this on, and you’re ready to start doing this work, make sure you do your research. Look at what is out in the market, do searching on the US Patent and Trademark Office website. Look for other logos that look like yours in Google images or a web search based on the properties of the logo that you’re looking at with your name. You can never do enough research to make sure that you’re protected. Okay. So she, so she did a bunch of that research and came back to us and presented us with seven to 10 options. I don’t remember how many there were. I couldn’t even tell you what any of them were because we settled on this one so quickly. It just felt so right. But we considered all of them and we looked at them and we said, how would we feel talking about it? Can it be shortened to something else? What would that short name be? What do we think about the domain? How easy is it to say, how easy is it to spell? To be fair, my company Raika Technologies has a number of trademarks on various pieces that we have trademarked over time for services that we offer. So we actually own the trademark on shatter the glass ceiling because I do a lot of coaching and mentoring and online community work with women in technology. So we actually own shatter the glass ceiling as a trademark. And then, you know, we have domains associated with that and whatever. We also own the trademark for startup therapy couch, that’s one, that’s actually part of the IP that’s going to get transferred into Precursa here fairly shortly, along with all the technology and all the background, intellectual property for, um, all the other pieces that make up Precursa and the AI driven platform, right? One of the trademarks that we own, which the irony of this, it just kills me, but, um, is app apptrepreneur. So it’s, it’s a combination of app like mobile app and entrepreneur. So we originally, our startup program was called the apptrepreneur program because it was designed for people who wanted to be a mobile app entrepreneur. What’s funny is it’s hard to say; it’s even more impossible for people to spell. They almost never actually remember it. And it was the only one of our trademarks that we’ve ever had to spend more money on because there was an objection to it, which literally the group of people that have a trademark is actually entrepreneur.com, they have a trademark on the word entrepreneur as used in media as a media company, right. They came after us because apparently everyone who tries to trademark, anything that ends in trepreneur, newer. So mompreneur, solopreneur, like there’s a lot of these other trademarks out there. And apparently all of them have been approached and objected to by the people who own the trademark for entrepreneur. Now we won that because they don’t have a leg to stand on with it. But it’s ironic because it’s probably the one we use the least because it’s hard to spell and people don’t really understand what it means. So I’m telling you this story because you want to make sure that whenever you’re choosing a name, it’s easy to spell. You’re not infringing on anybody else’s rights. The domain names are available. So maybe if precursa.com hadn’t been available, but getprecursa.com was available, that might still have been a valid name for us. Right? But the more you can claim ownership over a thing by proving that no one else is doing what you’re doing, and no one else is using that name in commerce or for other purposes before you get really attached to it, the better off you’re going to be in the last heartbreak there’s going to be in the long run. So the word Precursa is actually like a Latin spelling of the word precursor. We all know what a precursor is, a precursor, something that comes before something else. So this is sort of like a Latin root of that fairly modern English word. And it literally talks about the dividing of cells, like the creation of something from something else through the division of cells. That’s where the logo comes from. You’ll notice it’s kind of, it’s sort of looks like two things that are either coming together to make one, or actually they’re being pulled apart to make two, it’s actually the dividing of cells.

09:56

So we sort of latched onto this idea very early, because everything we do is about setting up new entrepreneurs to be successful early and often. So we are all about before you hire a developer, before you go and spend a whole bunch of money in time, before you do anything else, do the Precursa process. And you have a much greater chance at actually honing in on and spending your time and money on the business, the idea that has the best shot at viability for you. So the more we looked at all the options Precursa stood out to everyone that we talk to as, that makes sense to me, based on what you’re trying to communicate. I really like that idea. It’s easy to say. It’s easy to remember. It’s easy to spell. And after a while I would put Precursa, you know, in the beginning, I would say like all seven or eight or nine or however many of them there were to people, and we’d kind of like narrow them down.  Then I started moving Precursa up in the list where I’d put it like second or third and it got to the point where I would be naming them. And people I’d say the first one people like, okay, I kinda like that. And named the second one. Oh, that one’s okay. And then I’d say Precursa and they’d go, oh, that’s it. That’s totally it. Like, yeah, hands down. I don’t even need to hear the rest. That’s, that’s the name. That’s what you’re looking for. And resist the urge to have it be a pet for you, what you want again, just like with all of your, all of your validation and all the, all the people that you’re talking to to understand your problem, that you’re solving really well to understand the person and the people that you’re solving it for really well. If they resonate with the name, that means way more to the potential success of your brand and your business than if you really like it. Now, it just so happens that I really love the name now. And to be honest in the beginning, I wasn’t sure. I mean, everybody else seems so clear about it. And I was kind of like, I don’t know. I mean, I, I guess it’s cool. I don’t know if that’s how you pick a business name though. Right. But it was more important to me that other people got it and other people were responding to it, particularly some of the people who were part of our customer validation. So I would highly, highly encourage you to consider talking to some of the people that you talk to in your customer validation or your, you know, your solution validation. Talk to some of them when you’re doing the branding and naming work and see what resonates for them. Because again, everything we do is about our customers and that’s how we build successful businesses. So that’s how we came up with the name. That’s what it means. We did this process way after understanding what our MVP really was, long after we had done- I mean, we did the naming and branding in October of 2019. We started this process in like September, October of 2018. And by the time we hit October of 2019, we had done a lot of user validation interviews, like problem validation, customer validation. We knew a lot about our end customer. We knew a lot about our MVP. We knew a lot about what worked and what didn’t work with our competitors. So I would recommend if it were me, I wouldn’t even think about branding and naming until I’m through that process. And I understand the problem I’m solving. I understand who I’m solving it for. And I have a really good handle on what is my MVP actually going to look like, because I think those are the things that actually matter to understanding your values and what you are and what you’re not to your customer. And the name should reflect that. Now does Precursa the name itself, give us some flexibility to extend. I do. Of course it does, because you can always say all of the work that we do is always a precursor to whatever the next phase of your startup or your business, whether you’re in the ideation and idea validation and product-market fit phase, like the first version of it, or you’re heading towards your launch and your MVP release, or you’re in growth and scale. All along the way you’re doing product-market fit. You never stopped doing product-market fit to listen, to and understand and hear what your customers need and what they want from you and even into exit. And then, okay, now what do I do? I’ve exited my company. I have some money now. What do I do? All of those phases are things that we are targeting for post MVP launch phases. All of those are always about what do you do before  you really ramp up your scaling growth. Okay. Now you’ve ramped up scale and growth. What do you do before in order to prep to go sell your company? What do you do before you exit? Okay, now you’ve exited. Maybe you want to invest in some other, in some other entrepreneurs or maybe you want to invest in some other startups. What are the things you need to know? How do you do that effectively? How do you maximize the amount of return that you get for that money? All of that is about: here’s all the things that you need to do in order to be the success, the most successful at the thing that is next. So the name works no matter how far into our business plan and our, and our roadmap, our product roadmap we get. But we had to understand what we’re really doing, why we’re doing it, who are doing it for, we had to understand all of that before we could ever articulate to someone asking us, what are you, are you doing? And who are you doing it for? So I really think that this process comes later than most people think. Most people are like, Ooh, I had this idea for an app, or I had this idea for a SaaS and I’m going to call it BoomTown or what? There’s actually an incubator called BoomTown. So it’s kind of funny, but I don’t know why that came to me, but I’m going to call it XYZ thing. That is probably the worst time to name a thing, because you never know where it’s actually going to end up. You may have stumbled onto something where a two degree pivot one way or another is actually the thing that opens up your market, but the product could be really different than what you thought. And so now the name doesn’t make sense anymore, but you’ve been calling it that for six months.

15:45

So resist the urge to name too early, and don’t get too attached to names. Let your customers tell you what they resonate with and what they get attached to. Cause that’s going to make so much more difference for your company. So now you have a name. Now you need to build a brand. And again, the brand kind of comes back to not only what is the name? How do you like visualize the name? But it also comes back again to brand values. So again, for our brand values, we are knowledgeable. We want to, we want you to, to know that we’re experts and that we have the information you need, but we also want to be approachable. We don’t want to be stuffy. We don’t want to be lecturing. We don’t want to be traditional education. We want you to be part of the process. Actionable is a huge brand value for us. It’s a huge company value. It’s great that you can give a lot of, oh, you, you, you just have to be open to change or that’s great. Like we all need to be working on our mindset. And we do a lot of mindset work with you through the course of Precursa, because being an entrepreneur is not an easy thing and it does take mental preparedness, but the reality is most people are like, okay, great. I’m mentally prepared, now what do I do with that? How do I execute? What is next for me? And remember that our whole brand, our whole value proposition is solving the question, answering the question: what’s next. Now what, what do I do now? Okay. So in order to do that, a very key component of our brand is actionable. Take action. What action can I take? What action do I need to take? So knowing all of that contributed to, okay, now that we have a name, remember we said, precursor, Precursa, dividing cells, creating something that is leading to something else. That’s where the logo was born from. But also where there’s some flexibility in some of the colors. Like sometimes you’ll see a logo that’s all our Precursa green. Sometimes you’ll see a logo that has a gradient from the Precursa pink to the Precursa green. There’s a why we have so much flexibility, and that’s because what we’re going to be doing on the platform is giving you visual cues. Is this something that is for my knowledge, so that I understand context for what’s next? Is this something that’s going to ask me to think about and do some work on something? Is this something that’s going to ask me to talk to people? Right, so everything we do is about giving you visual in addition to verbal cues about how you need to engage and interact with whatever it is that you’re seeing on the platform. So in our case, having multiple different kinds of ways that we use our colors in conjunction with the two cells dividing and our name Precursa, gives us the ability to do different background colors and have overlays with those background colors in our videos, right? These are all the things that we need to be able to think about when creating a brand. Now can a brand to be pretty simple. Yeah. Some of the best brands are very simple. Twitter, literally that little bird in Twitter blue, there’s no question what you’re looking at when you see it. It’s very simple. There’s nothing difficult about it. And that completely aligns with the brand of 140 characters or less media. Right? I was about to say news, I’m not sure that’s the right word to describe most social media it’s media, right? But that their platform is all about. It’s simple, it’s short, it’s easy. It’s to the point. And so their logo and their brand reflect that. So when you’re going through this process, be true to the brand, be true to the values of the company, be true to the purpose and the intention of the company, the problem that it solves, and who you’re solving it for. Using a bunch of very corporate looking fonts and logos if you’re trying to target teens and I’m going to use the term millennials in terms of an age group, probably not going to work, that’s going to feel stodgy and staid and old and corporate to them, right? You want to use something fun with bright colors and fun fonts. Pro tip: never used Comic Sans. I mean, it’s too bad because it’s actually a really cool kind of fun font when you look at it, but there’s just a lot of stigma around it. So save that for posters of your family gatherings or whatever. So you get the point of what I’m saying, branding and naming comes when you understand what you’re really doing with your company. And when you understanding and can talk to your customers about what resonates with them.

20:23

So now let’s talk a little bit about the next most logical thing. When we’re talking about how you present your face, which is a branding and naming is it’s how you’re presenting your face of your company to the world, which is a marketing strategy, a content strategy. How do you do all this stuff? How do you know what to do? What is an overarching strategy really look like? And like I said, at the beginning, I know what I’m good at, and I know what I’m not good at. And I know just enough about building a content strategy or a marketing strategy to be dangerous. Okay. So I know that automated emails like auto-responder emails when people sign up, that flow makes a difference to how people engage with your emails in the future. Sending regular emails, but not so many to be annoying, like once or twice a month maximum. And making sure that whatever you’re saying in those emails gives me a tidbit, a couple of bullet points that that points me to what I’m going to be most interested in about what’s going on in your company this month, right? That matters. I know that you have to be active on social media. Most strategies include at least two or three social media platforms, depending on who your user personas are and where they live and that you have to be posting pretty regularly. Like once a day, maybe not so much on weekends, or maybe there’s like one day a week when your people just really aren’t that active, so it doesn’t matter. But for the most part, you need to have stuff going out every day on all of your social media channels, at least once. So that you’re in your people’s feeds and they’re seeing you, and they’re starting to recognize what are you good at? What are you an expert at? Understand that everything about a content strategy is usually about establishing your expertise or establishing value outside of what you offer for people to pay for, meaning you’re establishing your value and that the free content is so good, and the free knowledge that you give away is so good, they know that they’re going to get really great stuff when they buy. That’s a content strategy. And that involves writing regular blog content. Preferably like at least once a week, you should be putting out relevant SEO-ed, like, you know, relevant to your keywords, your target keywords, it’s SEO-ed content, at least once a week on your blog, on your website somewhere. That stuff should be going out as part of your social media strategy. Some people, some companies find it very useful to do podcast content as part of their content strategy, right? So again, podcasting people can listen for free. Whatever you give away for free only gives them the sense that, wow, there must be really great stuff behind what I’m paying for with this company and a podcast, blog content, stuff that’s in social media, tells me if it’s relevant to me or not. There was really two reasons behind us starting the podcast. And I talked about this a little bit in the very first episode, but the driver really was about, this is what Precursa is about is this startup journey. If we can tell the story and show how in real life we do the things that we tell you to do, and we know that they lead to success. And if we can show you what that looks like along the way, that is proof that what we are selling, which is the roadmap for entrepreneurs, the knowledge and the way to take action on that knowledge, and then the feedback on the action and the way that you’re taking action, we know that the insight that we give you through this podcast actually helps create the value and tell the story of the platform in a way that we really can’t do any other way, as well as we can, by telling you, this is what we do. And this is what we’ve always done. This is how we’ve built all of our companies and why we’ve been successful. The second piece of the podcast was after we had this idea, I realized that it actually creates another channel, another outlet for driving traffic, which drives users, which builds our list, which contributes to our launch success. And when you look at all of the podcasts out there in the world, a lot of the ones that are really successful deal with opening or starting or running a small business, entrepreneurship, tech startups, I mean, this is a medium, that’s almost designed for people who are startups and entrepreneurs at their soul, right? Because we’re busy. We don’t really listen to traditional radio and media. We don’t really watch TV like our parents did. We listen to podcasts, we get our content online from a wide variety of sources. And typically from people who are boots on the ground, doing the thing that we’re interested in, or the thing that we’re interested in learning about. So this not only was a great idea from a value proposition, but it also gave us a channel that gives us access to the people that we are trying to reach, who are our ideal customers. So whether or not any of these pieces is right for your content strategy, the way that it is for ours, really, again, comes down to your brand, who are your ideal end customers? Where are they and how do they get their news? That’s why there’s a whole section about the demographic questions that I encourage you to ask at the end of your user validation interviews, your customer validation interviews, that ask common questions like what’s your household income and how old are you and blah, blah, blah, blah, because you’re validating your user persona. But there’s also some questions in there about what social media platforms are you on because we may make assumptions based on general demographic, but find that actually our demographic of our target end user isn’t on Twitter like we thought they were they’re actually on Instagram, they’ve made the jump to Instagram because they enjoy short video content or imagery or whatever that is. Right. You know, we also usually ask, where do you typically learn about new products and services? Are you watching traditional media, radio stations, internet news sites, TV stations, and what are they? We want to understand this stuff because it helps us know where to go to find more people who look like our ideal customer. That speaks to a marketing strategy. So marketing and content strategies are very difficult to like separate from one another. It’s sort of like all of the content that you’re creating in your content strategy gives your marketing strategy ammo. But the two go hand in hand, because you have to make sure that you’re making the right kind of content at the right time for the right groups so that the marketing is effective.

26:32

So then what goes into a marketing strategy? How do you know what channels to be in? When I say channels, I mean, social media, podcasting, internet news sites, traditional media, you know, which typically comes from public relations or earned media campaigns, right? All of these different channels feed into a marketing strategy that’s designed to do something that I talked about in the very, very first episode, which is- remember, we talked about the myth of the overnight success and how overnight success isn’t actually a thing, but it seems like a thing because here’s what happens. We are doing a whole bunch of work on putting out the right stuff on our blog, publishing all of that into our social media, making sure that the emails that go out once or twice a month to our subscribers actually reflect that content and what we’re teaching or what we’re working on for that month or whatever. And we’re talking about it on the podcast. Then we have all of our marketing strategy geared towards pushing that out through other media and other channels. So maybe a local news organization does a story on us that gets picked up nationally. So now there’s a bunch of cities. You know, this has happened a few times with my consulting company Raika Technologies where Denver7 local to Denver will do a story, but then it gets picked up by 56 affiliates around the country. And now all of a sudden people in Atlanta and people, uh, in Houston and people in Dallas and people in Chicago and people in a couple of the like Sacramento and suburban areas of LA and San Francisco and New York are now hearing our story because it’s interesting because it gets picked up because there’s a piece of it that got pitched in a way that is newsworthy, that’s interesting to people in other markets. Now, what happens is it seems like overnight, you’ve heard about Raika several different ways in several different capacities. And so all of a sudden it seems like overnight success. What’s really happening is if all people see is your name and social media and they never hear about you any other way, they will only ever think about you or only ever associate you with, oh yeah. They’re somewhere in my Instagram feed when you hear it in a different medium. So let’s say I see it in my Instagram feed a lot. And then I hear it on the radio. And I go, I know Precursa, they’re in my Instagram feed all the time. That’s really cool. And the messaging that I’m hearing is just slightly different. So I’m hearing a different take on Precursa, but it’s all consistent with what I know, which is that they serve entrepreneurs who are building tech startups. Now I start to associate it with a different part of the world, which is I’m in my car, listening to the radio. This is how you create brand awareness that goes beyond one channel or one piece or one strategy. And that’s how it actually becomes viral.

29:18

Now let me say something about viral strategies, viral campaigns. Mostly, I’m going to say 99 plus percent of the time when a marketing company or a, or a marketing strategist or, or a, you know, an advertiser or whatever is putting something together, they aren’t thinking this is going to go viral. This is going to be amazing. When it goes viral, if it goes viral, it is it. We love it. We’re so thrilled. We’re like, yes, we nailed that one. How did we do that? But it’s never designed for the whole way that this is going to be successful as it’s going to go viral. Okay. Poo-Pourri is whole campaigns. If you don’t know about Poo-Pourri, they are brilliant, brilliant at the branding and marketing, they went viral in their marketing strategy because part of their brand and their brand value is humor. They’re literally a spray that makes poop in a toilet, smell less bad, or not smell bad, right? So that your whole bathroom isn’t stunk up. And the embarrassment of that, right? Bringing humor and levity to that is the only way you’re ever going to sell a product like Poo-Pourri. The fact that they did that really well, their whole strategy wasn’t based on going viral. They had planned budget to spend on various channels, but their brand was, we’re going to be funny because it’s kind of funny. Like, people don’t really want to talk about it. We wish this problem would go away. We’re going to play on the embarrassment and the funniness of the situation in order to get people to realize this is something that you can use in your home that will make you feel better. Like all the things, right. They brought humor, which made it go viral because it was just so funny, people were sharing it all the time. You cannot, I’m going to say this. There are somewhere out there there are going to be marketing people who are like, I can make a thing, go viral. Anytime I want to. They’re lying. Okay. You cannot base a strategy on this will go viral. And therefore that’s how people are going to learn about us. You have to plan on spending money, reaching channels, reaching people in multiple ways from multiple angles. That’s the only way that a marketing strategy is ever going to work. And hey, if it ends up going viral, because you did something that was just really cool, more power to you, and you should just feel blessed by the startup gods for that gift of manna from heaven. So this is about the limit of what I know. And like I said, I know enough to be dangerous, but I also know that I don’t know enough for what I know to be enough for Precursa to be successful. So what are we doing? We are seriously looking for a marketing and PR strategist who is a pro who can be our pro. Somebody who has connections in the news media and the news outlets. Somebody who understands how all of the different content pieces that we could be creating, how do those play together into that strategy? Which ones should we focus on? Which ones should we spend money on? Which one should we not? We know that there’s channels that may not make sense for us to be on. Like, we’re not really sure if we should play up the LinkedIn angle very much. We don’t know. Right? LinkedIn advertising is typically very expensive and has very little actual return, in most cases. That’s our experience given our audiences, but we’d like someone who is an expert at strategy to help us figure that out and figure out whether the Precursa people are actually in LinkedIn, and this makes sense, right? So we are looking for a marketing pro who can be the Precursa pro, right? That person will be a consultant. We’ll probably pay them between five and $10,000 just to help us design a strategy. And then there will probably be an ongoing fee to keep them in the loop to help us keep refining and tweaking that strategy as we go. We also will have to pay content experts. The woman who SEO-ed our entire website and made sure that we’re, we’re set up to be indexed and found by the right terms over the next six to 12 months has also kicked off the first eight blog posts with the same strategy. They’re all very well SEO-ed. The subject matter is very targeted to what we’re doing and to the keywords that people are searching for. And she’s making sure that that content is really well-designed and really well set up to make sure that we get the best organic SEO traction as possible. Right? We need that on an ongoing basis. We need someone who understands social media and who can do hashtag research. I mean, these are all the things that go into a successful content and marketing strategy. And I’m telling you all of this one, because I promised I would tell you about what we’re doing and what we know and what we don’t, how we handle all of that. But also because I want it to be sort of a cautionary tale that there’s way more to building a successful content marketing strategy than probably just you as the founder can handle after a certain point. What that means is when you’re building a pro forma, when you’re building a launch plan, when you’re building your execution plan, you need to plan on spending money on content creation, social media management, marketing, uh, advertising, for sure, earned media and PR, having someone who knows how to take and find angles and build stories around those angles, and then pitch those to people who can get those out to larger markets. You need that expertise. That’s the way you actually create something that starts to get known and starts to get traction and starts to build brand value that you can then turn into paying customers. Okay. So we are, like I said, we’re looking from our strategist. We’re looking for our pro. We’re launching the podcast. The first four episodes are going to go out on the 30th of April. This is the year 2021 in case you’re starting on this journey with us year or the year after or whatever, however, you know, however, this story turns out. And we’ve kicked off our advertising company. They’re actively working on what are the terms that we need to be building our ad words, campaigns around and how do we build landing pages that convert and how do we build ad copy that gets high click through rates. So we’re already doing that, and we’re still a solid five to six months out from launch. But this is actually what it takes. And are there going to be really early people who are like champing at the bit, because they’re having to wait five months? Yeah, probably, but we’re going to nurture the crap out of them. We’re going to love the heck out of them. We’re going to make sure that they’re getting content, information and that we’re helping them as much as we can between now and then. And they’re going to be great brand ambassadors potentially for us, once we get to the point where we actually have a product and we can, you know, reward brand ambassadors and affiliates and all that kind of stuff. So I just realized somebody might ask the question, is it possible to do this too early? The answer is, yes. It’s almost never too early to be thinking about SEO and building domain authority for your domain and your webpage, because that process takes six to 12 months. For sure. Any good SEO company will tell you there’s a curve for when SEO actually starts to kick in and become useful and profitable, and actually starts to produce results. So SEO and creating good searchable content. You could never do that too early. You can spend money on advertising and marketing too early, though. If we were going to start this effort much more earlier than we are now, there’s a chance of building up frustration with early adopters. And we definitely don’t want that. So it is possible to start advertising too early. You will waste more money if you start advertising or spending too much on social media or marketing too early, but it’s never too early to start building domain authority and building up your body of expertise in your area. If that makes sense, what I’m saying. Just, I know that I’ve had that question from clients before, and I could definitely hear someone asking, well, what’s too early. I would say marketing and advertising that’s more than six months prior to when you have something that people can buy, probably too early. Now, once we get our marketing pro, I’m going to invite them to come on the show and we’ll ask them what they think about that. And then we can kind of compare so that you can see, Cynthia knows enough to be dangerous. Cynthia knows enough to be a successful startup entrepreneur, like a successful startup-er. She doesn’t know enough to actually build a marketing strategy that can become a national company.

37:37

So now that’s the last little piece national versus local. What markets do I need to be in for Precursa, understand that what I do, helping people build their ideas and validate their ideas and build them into viable tech startups, I do it with companies all over the world. This process doesn’t change. It’s not specific to Denver. You don’t have to sit across a desk for me in order to do this work effectively. I have clients in the UK. I have clients in New Zealand. I have I’m courting some clients right now, potentially in a couple of the Asia continent countries, Southeast Asia. I do this work all over. This is definitely a national campaign for a national product, if not international at some point. Now, right now, we’re only focusing on the US because for language issues and all that kind of stuff, we really don’t want to try and focus on building out our content in multiple languages or building on our videos in multiple languages right now. So we’re focusing on the US because it’s primarily English speaking, and we know that there are over half a million new businesses, new startups that are built every month in this country alone. Okay. So there’s plenty of fertile soil for us to be playing in here, but it’s not local to Denver. If you’re building a retail space and you’re building it in San Francisco, probably not a great idea for you to be doing a lot of promotion in markets outside of San Francisco, because people can’t get to your store where you’re doing things. Now, for most of the Precursa clients, we’re focusing on tech startups, which usually means you’re going to have, uh, at least a wide regional audience, but usually like a national audience and eventually wanting to get into international spaces depending on what you’re doing and the regulations there, and blah, blah, blah, all that kind of stuff. But this is important because if you build a strategy that only ever gets you local coverage in the city that you’re in, but your people are all over the United States and more of your people are in other markets that aren’t your local market, and you’re never reaching them, you’re going to bump up against a limit in your success, in your launch and in, in your growth and your scale. It’s not going to be at the level that it should be, which is why you need to understand, are we going after a local market or are we going after a national market and making sure you get the right pros that know those pieces and know how to work a campaign and work a strategy like that to back you and assist you, not only in designing it really well, but also in executing on it.

40:00

So that is all about Precursa, the name and the brand and the marketing strategy and our content and where we are and where we are as we, we know enough that we’re trying to do all the right things. And we’re looking for someone who actually knows how to do all these things. Okay. So next week I want to talk about the vision piece. Okay. So I have had this vision, like we’ve talked about since October of 2018, by the time we launch, it will be almost three years from the time that this started to kind of be a germ of vision of potential in my brain to when it’s actually getting in the market. And there’s some really interesting mental, emotional, spiritual kind of journey that I’ve been on as the founder and the creator of this thing to get it from vision into life. And so I want to talk next week a little bit about what is it like to see something you’ve created, something that you’ve envisioned for so long come to life? What was my experience of actually seeing the wireframes for the first time and knowing that I had, I had actually been effective at communicating my vision to the point where someone else is now executing on it and creating it in a way, like, what does that feel like? Because I think as entrepreneurs, we straddle a line of holding a balance of keeping the vision, keeping the strategic, keeping the long-term, but also getting in the weeds and being able to execute. That is a skill that is very, very rare in nature. It can be learned, it can be honed, it can be nurtured. It can be learned. I want to dig into that a little bit more and talk about that a little bit more because it is a very common struggle. And I want you all as our listening audience and as potential users of Precursa to understand where we come from with the balance of vision and execution. So we’ll talk about that next time. In the meantime, happy startuping, happy entrepreneuring, go be your amazing self, and we will see you next time.

Thank you for listening to this episode of Precursa: The Startup Journey. If you have an idea for a startup and you want to explore the proven process of turning your idea into a viable business, check us out at precursa.com. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, so you never miss an episode. Until next time…

Cynthia Del'Aria

Cynthia Del'Aria is a serial entrepreneur and tech startup ninja, specializing in product-market fit and idea validation and helping new entrepreneurs reserve their time and money for the idea with the best shot at success. With two successful exits before 30, an active high-profit-margin SaaS in the commercial airline space, and two additional startups in the works, she knows what it takes to traverse the entrepreneur journey, the highs, and the challenges of turning a vision into a successful, viable business.

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Copyright © 2021 Precursa  |  All Rights Reserved  |  Site Created by Natalie Jark

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  • Denver, Colorado

  • startup@precursa.com

Copyright © 2021 Precursa  |  All Rights Reserved  |  Site Created by Natalie Jark

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