Big Brand vs Smaller, Focused brands

So last weekend I had what I honestly believe is my biggest, best and simplest startup idea yet.

We’re going to do it.

It’s definitely in the stock market.

It definitely appeals to younger people.

It definitely is mobile first if not mobile only.

Now what I’m struggling with (prematurely, I admit)… is whether or not this is a separate effort/brand/company, or if it should fall under the existing (and growing!  and awesome!) LikeFolio brand?

Easier to market and build one big brand with multiple functions and larger scope, or separate functions = separate brand?

I’d really enjoy some comments from you guys… or if you prefer to keep your 2 cents private, you can email me at andy@andyswan.com

Any resources, experience or opinions on this sort of thing.

Is it better to keep brands narrow and focused?  Or better to go for the big brand?  

Let me know what you think.

p.s.  The only reasons I’m considering the “big brand” route is because 1) LikeFolio has great traction and distribution already and 2) the new idea is focused on the same demographic and industry as LikeFolio… but it would be a substantial expansion in scope.

I’ve always loved October.  Big month.
It’s the month where you just get things done.  Set yourself up for victory the following year.
This October I’m concentrating on content and distribution for LikeFolio, while the rest of the team concentrates on technology and design that levers the AMAZING engine we have built and data that is streaming in.
That’s it…. one focus, one opportunity…each day building on the one before it.  
Win. 

I’ve always loved October.  Big month.

It’s the month where you just get things done.  Set yourself up for victory the following year.

This October I’m concentrating on content and distribution for LikeFolio, while the rest of the team concentrates on technology and design that levers the AMAZING engine we have built and data that is streaming in.

That’s it…. one focus, one opportunity…each day building on the one before it.  

Win. 

Google abandoning reader was NOT an opportunity

I really cannot understand how Google abandoning reader made people think that an RSS reader was an opportunity.  Obviously, the market there is shit.  

Google dominated that market and still didn’t want it.  Just walked away!

Not only is getting into the reader business “Red Ocean”…it’s a bloody red ocean where the only thing left are scraps that the big fish didn’t want to bother with.  Leave it to the vultures to clean up that carcass.  

I’m late to this but it’s a lesson we should have all learned from it.  When the best don’t want the market, you shouldn’t either.  Instead, invent or expand a market that they will want in the future.

 

 

Champagne problems.

The rules:

1)  If the decision is difficult, there likely is no wrong choice.  Both choices seem so equal in validity, the likelihood of one being far superior to the other is nil.

2)  You’re not allowed to complain about opportunities.  You’re just not.  There is SO much that can go wrong in a startup environment, and so many situations where you have no good choice, that the rest of the time should be savored.

3)  You must own your decision completely and embrace whatever the result of it is.  I can’t tell you how little patience I have for bad-beat stories.

Decide quickly.

Move forward.
Win.

Champagne problems.

The rules:

1)  If the decision is difficult, there likely is no wrong choice.  Both choices seem so equal in validity, the likelihood of one being far superior to the other is nil.

2)  You’re not allowed to complain about opportunities.  You’re just not.  There is SO much that can go wrong in a startup environment, and so many situations where you have no good choice, that the rest of the time should be savored.

3)  You must own your decision completely and embrace whatever the result of it is.  I can’t tell you how little patience I have for bad-beat stories.

Decide quickly.

Move forward.


Win.

In the spring of 2002 we were 18 months into our first business and things were NOT going well.  7 or 8 paying customers, no momentum.  Nothing.  We lived in fear that 2 of those customers would quit the next day.
It was a sad state of affairs.
It wasn’t really for lack of trying…we were moving and doing all the time.  But we had no focus.  We were pinballs inside of our own miserable company.
I can distinctly remember one afternoon.  The trades we sent to our clients were going badly.  I was sure that half of them were going to quit.  I wanted to quit.
So I started looking at other options.
"What would I do if I didn’t do this?"
It took a few hours of going through all the scenarios (work for someone else, off to business school, etc) and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I don’t want to do anything else.  This is what I want to do.
This is worth fighting for.
I can’t really describe how liberating this was.  Worry turned to determination.  Fear to strength.  I know it sounds cliche’ but it’s true.
THe energy was palpable.  Confidence completely reversed.  I didn’t know how or when DaytradeTeam would be successful…but at that moment I knew that it would be eventually…and that’s all it took.
Focus came into the picture…what to accomplish next, what to experiment on, what THIS WEEK’s goals were.  I finally knew exactly where I was going and that failure (or treading water) was not an option.
Imagine your business, right now, on the brink of failure.  IS it worth fighting for?
If not—-how do you make it worth fighting for?
Fight.
Win.

In the spring of 2002 we were 18 months into our first business and things were NOT going well.  7 or 8 paying customers, no momentum.  Nothing.  We lived in fear that 2 of those customers would quit the next day.

It was a sad state of affairs.

It wasn’t really for lack of trying…we were moving and doing all the time.  But we had no focus.  We were pinballs inside of our own miserable company.

I can distinctly remember one afternoon.  The trades we sent to our clients were going badly.  I was sure that half of them were going to quit.  I wanted to quit.

So I started looking at other options.

"What would I do if I didn’t do this?"

It took a few hours of going through all the scenarios (work for someone else, off to business school, etc) and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I don’t want to do anything else.  This is what I want to do.

This is worth fighting for.


I can’t really describe how liberating this was.  Worry turned to determination.  Fear to strength.  I know it sounds cliche’ but it’s true.

THe energy was palpable.  Confidence completely reversed.  I didn’t know how or when DaytradeTeam would be successful…but at that moment I knew that it would be eventually…and that’s all it took.

Focus came into the picture…what to accomplish next, what to experiment on, what THIS WEEK’s goals were.  I finally knew exactly where I was going and that failure (or treading water) was not an option.

Imagine your business, right now, on the brink of failure.  IS it worth fighting for?

If not—-how do you make it worth fighting for?

Fight.

Win.

Make some noise
When the facts are on your side, pound the facts.  When the facts are against you, pound the table.
Some ideas don’t work.  The market isn’t ready for them or doesn’t want them.  You can tell when every “sale” is a grind.  The plow is just too heavy.
Admit it:  You’re already dead.
That’s when you get a little crazy.
Radical shift.  Not to the product (if you think it’s good)…but to the process.  Break the rules. Complete change of target, price or distribution system.
Make some noise.  Get loud.  Every piece of momentum gets a touchdown dance.  See who dances with you.
Lever up.  Put everything into the one thing that works.  Everything. 
There is no excuse for a startup dying quietly.  
That’s pride.  Newsflash— she isn’t gonna dance with the guy slinking off in the corner.
Put it all out there.
Die loudly.
Win.

Make some noise

When the facts are on your side, pound the facts.  When the facts are against you, pound the table.

Some ideas don’t work.  The market isn’t ready for them or doesn’t want them.  You can tell when every “sale” is a grind.  The plow is just too heavy.

Admit it:  You’re already dead.

That’s when you get a little crazy.

  1. Radical shift.  Not to the product (if you think it’s good)…but to the process.  Break the rules. Complete change of target, price or distribution system.

  2. Make some noise.  Get loud.  Every piece of momentum gets a touchdown dance.  See who dances with you.

  3. Lever up.  Put everything into the one thing that works.  Everything. 

There is no excuse for a startup dying quietly.  

That’s pride.  Newsflash— she isn’t gonna dance with the guy slinking off in the corner.

Put it all out there.

Die loudly.

Win.