The socially active co-founder, Varun, had this habit of making a blog post out of every thing they did and thanking every stranger who helped in the process. Strangers would include bloggers, users, critics and everyone who saw their product. People loved to see their name on the small company’s blog and would often share it with their friends. Slowly there was a small community built around the company’s blog. With time some stayed and followed every movement of the startup while others moved on. Some would help them generate leads and some would just be early adapters. One guy even solved a major tech problem for them, who they later hired.
The community was a solid bouncing pad for all their ideas. While Varun got insightful feedback from the community, the other partner, Sanjeev, made sure everything is executed well. Though Sanjeev was not involved in nurturing the community, the community still knew him well and few of them even met him at local events.
Together they managed to pull in a good business and later got acquired at a healthy valuation. Everyone was called in and they threw a big party.
The founders were now mulling on another venture but Varun had to move to another the city. They believed it would be challenging to work together over long distance and decided to split path and start on their own.
The new journey was very challenging. Although this was their second venture but first without a co-founder. The new solepreneurs were actively in touch with the old community and with each other as well. Varun had a disadvantage of new city so depended highly on this community for bouncing every idea. Like earlier he used to thank everybody who was of even little help. Slowly through local events he started meeting new people who would help him out with more connections. Varun made everyone have this ownership feeling about the venture. There was always somebody he could ping for anything. He never really felt alone.
Meanwhile, Sanjeev was also going good. He would get a couple feedback from people when he met them offline. He would implement few things out of those and forget about the more noisy ones. People sometimes noticed the changes they suggested and felt good. Sanjeev always felt it to be very challenging and kept telling how he was trying to pull it alone, even to people who thought they were a part of the team, even if loosely. Slowly they met less often and the community stopped tracking the progress. He would sometimes announce new features over blog or though email but got a dull response. This discouraged him even more and with time he stopped reaching out for feedback. He would analyse every feature himself. As expected he would realise some obvious loopholes only at a later stage. He was really alone now.
Whether pulling it alone or otherwise you need to learn to communicate with the society. It is important to be thankful and very modest about your achievements. Remember, Business is Social.
[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He is the founder of FindYogi]