Why Mindshare Matters More Than Time Share

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Every year, several million startups are launched. There will be well over 12,000 posts published on TechCrunch alone this year. In the U.S., approximately 1,500 startups get funded by venture capitalists every single year. Another 50,000 get angel funding. That’s 51,500 funding announcements annually. Staying top of mind isn’t easy, but it’s more essential than ever for entrepreneurs.

But there’s only so many hours in the day and only so many coffees you can buy for potential investors, potential customers, and potential employees. The good news is that mindshare matters more than time share, and mindshare has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of time you’ve spent with someone. Or how many times you’ve been featured on TechCrunch this year.

 

He Who Has the Best Story, Wins

Mindshare has everything to do with how you make someone feel. It’s how they feel long after you’ve left. You need to leave people feeling inspired, impressed by what you’ve done and what you’re going to do. The key is telling a remarkable story, a story that someone you met once for coffee will be telling her friends for the next six months.

“People don’t remember what you said, they remember how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

You don’t need to have an over the top or crazy story. No one is expecting you to have all the dramatics of Mark Zuckerberg. You just need a thoughtful story, one that hasn’t been told before – one that will resonate. Like Aliza Sherman, who founded the first woman-owned Internet company, Cybergrrl. Or Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water, who spontaneously left his life as a nightclub promoter to volunteer for a floating hospital.

Here are the four steps that will help you and your startup get more mindshare:

1. It’s all about them

Lead by asking what the person you’re talking to does. What is she working on? More importantly, how can you help her? Offer to introduce her to someone you know who can offer advice, to give some feedback on her product – whatever you can do.

“The currency of real networking is not greed, but generosity.” ~Keith Ferrazzi

2. Make your “why” remarkable

Many entrepreneurs mistake being noticed for being remarkable. In order to get someone’s mindshare, your “why” needs to be remarkable. Why are you an entrepreneur? Why are you solving this problem? Why are you solving it in this way?

If your answer to those questions isn’t somehow unique from the other several million startups in the world, all you’re getting is time share. You’re getting a few minutes of someone’s time. You’ll be forgotten the moment you pay for that cup of coffee or step off the elevator. When talking to someone, mention “something very, very hard to forget about you that separates you from the rest,” says Tim Ferris. “ It doesn’t need to have anything to do with your reason for wanting to meet them” it just has to be incredibly memorable.

 “Just so you remember, as I know you’ll meet a million people today, I’m the world record holder in the tango. Happy to give you and your wife a lesson sometime if the stars align.” – Tim Ferris

And since time is all you have to quickly grab someones mindshare, make sure you are doing the pitch right. “You only have a few seconds to establish credibility”, says Tim.

Here’s the secret to having a remarkable “why”: show how you’re the first to do it. When you’re the first to do something, you’re remarkable. The ones who come after you? They can only do what you’ve already done in a different way. When you’re the first, your “why” will inspire people.

If you can’t be the first, be the “est”. Be the fastest, the biggest, the smallest, the smartest, the toughest – whatever. To be remarkable is to be the “est”. Don’t take what someone else has already done and do it in a different way, just find a way to do it better. When you’re the “est”, your “why” will impress people.

3. Follow up with them

You’ve heard this a million times: always follow up. What no one tells you is that you should be following up about their success. Did that engineer you introduced her to help? Is her product out of beta yet? Follow up about her successes and she’s likely to ask about yours in turn.

Mindshare is best accomplished when you have the opportunity to continue the conversation in person, over the phone or via email. If your “why” was remarkable, she’s already told her network about you and your startup. But the follow up is where mindshare turns to advocacy and evangelism. It’s where long-term relationships are made.

4. Show, don’t tell

Whenever possible, show them something real.  Send them beta invites or free trials so they can touch and feel your product.  Show them a graph of your usage, your daily actives or the thought leaders interested in what you are working on.  Humans are visual. Be remarkable by giving them a visual reminder.

Staying top of mind is easier said than done. It’s more than a weekly coffee meeting, it’s more than a feature on TechCrunch, it’s more than being noticed – it’s mindshare. It’s leaving people so inspired or impressed that they’ll be talking about you long after you’ve left the room.

As you have learned, staying top of mind and making people feel good are important for mindshare. What tips do you have? How have you been remarkably memorable?

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