Who is Your Royal Baby?

Posted by Alana Kadden Ballon on Jul 24, 2013

In the world of start-ups, we have all had a Royal Baby.

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You haven’t been able to escape it. The reporters camped out weeks in advance. Your twitter feed has been drenched in hashtags: #royalbaby, #royalbabywatch, #royalbabyboy. The Royal Baby is everywhere.

Some people followed it closely and overwhelmed all of our social media feeds with congratulations, commentary and criticisms. Others loudly proclaimed their disdain for the media hullabaloo, asking, “Why is this baby different from any other baby?”

I wonder about the 370,000 other babies who were born on July 22 this year. Or, more to the point: I wonder about their mothers. How do they feel about sharing their special day?

Your Royal Baby is the touted, flush-with-cash startup next-door, backed by big names. It’s the firm hosting a splashy, eye-grabbing launch while your hard-working team grumbles about vaporware and incomplete vision.

The Royal Baby in your space seems to constantly be in the blogs, generates thousands of tweets and is always asked to be on the conference panel. You ask yourself, “Why is that start-up different from my start-up?”

The reasons are similar to the Royal Baby:

Lineage

What did the founders start before their current firm? If they have cultivated relationships with investors who have seen their past work and have been impressed, those investors will often back anything that individual or team does in the future.

Looks

Do they have a sexy UI? Are they entering a glamorous space or marketing their tool in a novel way? Are they skilled at making themselves look larger than they are?

Storyline

What’s their story? Are they delivering their message in a compelling way? People love a good story of triumph over evil, hardship or pain.

What can you do to chase away the Royal Start-up Blues?

Just like all those other kids born July 22, 2013, you’re going to have to prove yourself.

Focus.

Make a great product, make sure it looks good, tell people about it in a compelling way.

Don’t forget: the small stuff is really big stuff.

In Cloud or Software-as-a-service, renewal rate is the fountain of youth. If you can’t keep customers happy, none of the other stuff matters.

Grow.

Put your money where your mouth is, and if you don’t have money, put your sweat equity where your mouth is. Invest in developing your people who are in turn driving your product, brand and sales. These days, Growth > Splash.