Co-work spaces may be the best way to keep costs and risks under control, but how much do co-working founders collaborate and work together on projects? The startup community is generally a mutually supportive one, but sometimes it’s about knowing how best to utilize that support. Chris Michael, co-founder of Swytch, an app allowing use of multiple numbers on one mobile phone, took advantage of a chance to co-market with other startups at an industry event recently. The results were better than he expected, with high engagement from participants and great networking between founders. We spoke about how to get the most out of collaborating with other startups.
Group marketing can be more effective than solo marketing
Co-marketing with other startups is a great (and cost-effective) way to interact and support each other, drive creativity, and advertise your own business. During Apps World, Swytch organized a joint-startup treasure hunt to collaborate on a single marketing activity.
Michael says the startups found it a fun and interactive way to network with like-minded entrepreneurs, but more importantly,” it hugely expanded the ‘reach’ each company would have gained by working alone.”
The treasure hunt and other concepts lend themselves perfectly to group marketing and allowed each company to gamify the experience at their individual stands. Michael says the effort “dramatically increased visitor traffic for all of the companies, as participants needed to visit each company’s stand to complete the hunt. It made for a very exciting ‘mini event;’ everyone wanted to get involved.”
Share pitches and decks
Only by sharing their ideas, problems, and solutions, can startups benefit from others’ experience. Michael suggests sharing pitches and decks with successful startups to improve your own. “Successful startups will have led a number of pitches and presentations and received feedback from investors, users and stakeholders from every corner of the ecosystem. This feedback can be extremely valuable and will strengthen your own skills. It’s also likely that any problems you are experiencing, countless other start-ups have experienced too.”
Collaborate on a daily basis
Cash-strapped startups can find opportunities to collaborate on their home turf, not just at industry events. Shared office space is a great way to interact and collaborate with other companies. Michael recommends treating every day as a networking event. “You never know who you might be co-working with. Sharing ideas and opinions with people outside of your industry, and outside of the startup community in general, can be just as helpful.”
Share sensitive figures in broad terms
Never say anything you don’t want to make public. Where possible, Michael cautions using brackets instead of actual figures to blur confidential information. For example, you could say between 100k and 500k, instead of 125,669.
Don’t limit who you seek advice from
Michael and his co-founder spoke to lots of people, insiders and outsiders to gather as much advice as they could about their customer. From these insights, Michael says, they were able to understand where the product would fit. “This stopped us expanding our focus too wide; speaking to people about the product helped us identify exactly where we should be aiming our market research.”