Based on 40 applications to the start-up competition I recently ran at the MLOVE confestival, 20 didn’t have a clear contact us page with email, 6 had no contact information at all and 4 had no web presence or even holding page.
I was astonished.
Admittedly, it is a small sample size and focused on very early-stage start-ups; but it I still find the fact baffling.
When you’re running a start-up, there is lot’s to do – I know I’ve done a few – but one key ingredient is to make yourself accessible:
- to investors (who you may need later even if not today)
- to future team members (who you want to begin enticing from day one)
- to press
- to potential partners
- and to customers or users!
Having no website at all looks even worse (and yes even if you are in “stealth mode”). Have a holding page simply giving a project name and team; or be sensible and use something like LaunchRock or a simple google form to start collecting emails of your future users.
If you don’t want anyone to know you’re doing a new start-up, then perhaps don’t enter a competition!
All these factors such as ease of contacting them, the website, the apps, contributed to our choice of the five finalists (and would no doubt contribute to the choice of a journalist to write about you or an investor to take an interest or reach out).
It simply doesn’t bode well for your attention to detail, your ability to design good product or your understanding of user psychology.
(Incidentally, the reason I needed to contact them all was I myself had made an error and neglected to add an email field to the application form…but at least this was a temporary competition!)
Even Some Launched Start-ups Don’t Have One
There was even a service (I’ll leave unnamed) I tried this week which was live and trying to garner users but which had no team page, no contact us page and not even a terms and conditions of use. This is just sloppy, lazy or naive. I’m not sure which of those is worse.
In summary then…
If you have a start-up and have no holding page or contact us form or page with email address that I can find in under 8 seconds or preferably faster, then ADD ONE RIGHT NOW TODAY!
This is certainly one of those blog posts I never, ever expected to be writing.