Blog Friday Q&A

Friday Q & A: Do You Need to Own the .com for Your Startup’s Name, Should a Remote Team Hire Full-time Employees or Contractors, and Should You Pitch Guest Posts to Big General Publications or Smaller, More Targeted Ones?

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Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.

Happy Friday!

In our new Groove Friday Q & A segment, we’re answering any questions that you have about, well, anything.

A huge thank you to Mike Laha, Lincoln Parks and Yakov Karda for this week’s questions.

Check out this week’s answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts in the comments!

Do You Need to Own the .Com for Your Startup’s Name?

In my experience, this matters a lot less than people think.

Companies that didn’t own the .com for their name for quite some time after they launched include Dropbox, Grasshopper, Buffer, Basecamp and Bitly.

The litmus test used to be that someone should be able to remember your URL when they hear it so that they can remember it and visit your site later. But for many markets now, URL’s are shared less and less through actual conversations and more and more via email, social media, SMS and other channels where there’s nothing to remember.

So being a .co or a .net (or appending an HQ at the end of your URL) isn’t nearly as much of a handicap as it once was.

If you have a name that works fine with a URL that isn’t too clunky, I’d forget about renaming and focus on building a sticky, shareable product, and then buying the .com when you can afford it.

In the Beginning, Should a Remote Team Hire Full-time Employees or Contractors?

I actually did neither when I first started Groove. I hired an agency to build the first iteration of the product.

After that, I began building out our own team. First with part-time contractors, and then I hired those that fit best as full-time employees.

The answer to this question isn’t really one-size-fits-all; it’s more about what you can afford, and who you can find.

If, at the very beginning, you find an amazing developer who’s only willing to work on a project basis, you might consider hiring them to build your product.

If you can’t swing a full-time salary just yet, then obviously you only have the contractor option available to you.

If you have the luxury of being able to choose one or the other, I’ll say that I prefer the trial-to-full-time model, where a new employee does a trial project with us for a couple of weeks (or a bit longer if they’re already employed and need to do the trial project on nights and weekends), and if they’re a fit, we bring them on full-time.

Ultimately, I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong answer here in the beginning. Once your business is validated and you begin to build your team, then culture begins to play an important role in your team structure, and I think full-time is the way to go. You can’t grow a successful and sustainable long-term business with a team of mercenaries. Not that I’ve seen, anyway.

Should You Pitch Guest Posts to Big General Publications or Smaller, More Targeted Ones?

I’d encourage you to narrow down your target market from “SMB’s and startups,” of which there are 76 million around the world.

Rather than thinking about the entire market of companies that could get value from your product, think about who, specifically, will your product be the most amazing solution ever for? For whom will it be a complete no-brainer to buy?

Get as specific as you can with the challenges they have, the experience they have, their backgrounds, ages, genders, etc…

That’s your target market.

A lot of this insight comes from doing customer development and seeing trends in who your most rabid fans are.

Once you have that, it’s a lot easier to target the exact publications those people read.

So, to answer the question, especially in the early days of your content strategy, I’d target much smaller publications with more active, engaged readers who will be a better fit for your product.

You may have to do a lot more posting to find the perfect audience, but it’s worth it; you’ll learn a lot about which messages work on which people, and what your real audience actually wants.

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Your Turn: Ask Groove Anything

I’d love for this new weekly segment to be successful, and provide a valuable repository of answers from our entire community for entrepreneurs everywhere.

To do that, I need your help.

Here’s what you can do to get involved:

  1. Ask questions. Post them in the comments of this post, or Tweet them to us at @Groove.
  2. Answer questions. Every Friday, we’ll post a new Q&A segment. If you have anything to add or share regarding any of the questions asked, jump in! Many of you are far more qualified than I to speak on some of the topics that people ask me about.
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From “aha” to “oh shit”, we’re sharing everything on our journey to $10M in annual revenue. We’re learning a lot and so will you.

About the Author

Alex Turnbull is the CEO & Founder of Groove (simple helpdesk software for small businesses) who loves to build startups and surf.

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