I chose the case study Airbnb, Etsy, Uber: Acquiring the First Thousand Customers by Thales S. Teixeira and Morgan Brown because I wanted to learn how each of these three businesses were able to successfully build and grow their startup to the names as we know them today. It resonated with me also because I worked for a division of a company where we were treated as a startup and the hardest part was going from zero customers to one…and so on.
As I found in the case, no road to success is clear cut and straight. Not only do you need to grow on the demand side of business but you need to be sure you are supplying as well to maintain a two-sided marketplace.
At first, we had the supply but needed to figure out how to capture the demand for our solution. It was tough and after a few years of doing the best we could with our marketing budget, we began to see a bit of a pull towards our product line.
After reading about these three company’s beginnings, you realize that there are other businesses out there going through the same struggles and hurdles to find themselves the marketplace leader.
As we also found out, the startup does not always do well and after a certain period of time, it is essential to evaluate whether or not it is on target for success. In my case, there were some changes that needed to be made and we had to pin-point problem areas for our consumers.
Like Airbnb, Etsy and Uber, my company needed to be sure to segment their audience correctly, a problem area for us right now as the division was acquired by its parent company, new business challenges arose and we are rebuilding our strategy to segment and target consumers for each size of business – small, medium and large.
My questions for the group: If you were part of a startup company, what was most challenging for you in your role? Did you find yourself wearing multiple hats and filling multiple job roles? Did you learn by doing on your own as opposed to someone outsourcing the job to someone outside of the company (something I find larger company’s do because they have the budget.)