November 25, 2022

All software has a cost.

"{Successful large company} is using {trendy new product}, we need to try it."

You're working hard on your startup but still struggling to gain traction. You see that one of your large, established competitors has starting using a new marketing tool. You start thinking...  "Maybe that's what we're missing?"

Before you sign up and spend the next few hours setting up the tool, let's stop and think this through.

If your competitor has just started to use this tool then it clearly wasn't the factor that lead to their current level of growth and success. And their relatively large size and scale means they are dealing with a different set of challenges than you. There's a good chance the tool is helping them solve problems you don't even have.

I remember a few years back when chat bots were suddenly all the rage. Established B2B SaaS startups began using tools like Drift and Intercom to automate elements of their inbound sales process, and many were seeing real benefits from them. Early stage startups took note and soon followed. They spent days building complex automated response paths, only to eventually realize that they didn't have the user base to warrant the time and effort they'd invested. If anything, a primary benefit of the chat bots – saving time and money by automating the customer qualification process – was the complete opposite of what the early-stage startups should have been doing. They would have been far better off spending that time jumping on calls and talking to as many prospective customers as possible.

Use your time wisely

As the founder of an early-stage startup your time is an incredibly valuable and limited resource. You need to remember that there is a real cost that comes with trying each new software product, even if it comes with a free trial. You need to figure out how it works, decide whether it provides value, compare it to other similar tools on the market, train other users in your team...

Now, am I suggesting that you never try any new software? Absolutely not! But you need to make good use of your time. Don't use a tool simply because everyone else seems to be using it. Seek out tools as solutions to specific problems you're currently facing.

I can help

I've spent the past 8 years helping early-stage startups find creative ways to use marketing and data software tools to reach their growth goals. Through this first-hand experience I've come to understand which tools are the right choice for particular use cases, how they work, and the correct way to implement them and make sure they are being used correctly.

If you'd like help finding and implementing a modern marketing and tech stack that can help you hit your growth goals with minimal engineering and time costs, please get in touch.

David Turnbull
David is the founder of Stirred, a fractional growth marketing service that helps early-stage startups improve their key growth metrics with minimal time and engineering cost.
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