Robbie Maltby

July 3, 2021


Startups are totally different kettles of fish compared with businesses with an established customer base.

They need to be treated like children, tending to their every waking need vs. grandparents, happily turning the pages of their paper - day after day.

Each one is different, so requires a slightly different approach, but there is a single repeatable activity that runs through them all.

Startups (without venture backing) must run lean.

Running lean means only spending time on activities that will create clear signals and measurable growth.

So forget tv ads and billboards, you need frameworks you can use to test, iterate, test, iterate, test.

Digital is your friend here: Google Ads, Bing Ads (which people often forget about), Facebook / Instagram Ads, and (for B2B) LinkedIn.

You could go wider but in the beginning, while you’re still finding your sweet spot, these will more than suffice.

It’s tempting to go for big press releases and fan fair but when you do that you run the risk of attracting the wrong type of customer.

Customers who’s attention you haven’t truly earned, but instead have coopted using some fancy social proof, can often become your greatest bug bearers.

They can more easily become transactional customers who see you as a means to an end vs. a partner, a confidante, a trusted advisor on their journey.

Running lean also means you’ll need people who don’t mind getting their hands dirty. In the early stages, all rounders are far more effective than specialists, so hire people who can think outside the box.

Finally, make sure everyone is aligned by planning in 6 week sprints. Things can change, get held up, run faster than you can often predict, so this keeps you focussed while allowing you plenty opportunities to course correct if need be.

Building startups, like how I imagine raising children would be, won’t ever be easy but the rewards are priceless.

About Robbie Maltby

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