It is not easy to start a successful business, but founders can gain an edge by building in public.
Instead of keeping everything behind closed doors until you have a polished product to launch, this approach involves sharing your start-up’s progress and challenges with the world.
But what exactly does “building in public” mean?
In essence, it just involves sharing your journey as a founder – simple as that.
It could be sharing your progress on social media, blogging about your start-up’s challenges and successes, or even live-streaming your coding sessions.
If you do this, you will be able to not only build an audience, but also get feedback on your content from the community, which is something that can be very helpful.
Social media management tool, Buffer, is an example of an organization that has been transparent about its journey right from the beginning.
On their blog and social media channels, they’ve shared everything from their company culture to revenue and customer acquisition strategies.
They even publish their salary calculation algorithm (along with the calculated salaries of employees, most of whom opt into the salary-publishing culture).
Using this approach, they’ve developed loyal followings and established themselves as thought leaders.
But why does building in public work so well?
To begin with, implementing the ‘build in public’ approach can be advantageous for start-ups as it enables you to develop an audience and obtain early feedback – as mentioned.
Early feedback helps refine products and identify potential issues, all while cultivating a supportive community of backers.
In addition, this approach can establish you or your company as industry thought leaders.
Another great example is Groove, a company that provides customer support software. They shared their journey to attaining $100,000 in monthly recurring revenue on their blog – including their successes AND failures.
This level of transparency helped them to foster a robust community and build trust with their audience. Failure is a part of every business venture, and sharing the process can help you overcome them.
Check out the Groove blog here: https://www.groovehq.com/blog/100k
Cubbo is another excellent illustration of the power of building in public. Cubbo is a technology company based in Latin America that specialises in fulfilling e-commerce orders.
Founder Brian York went from 125 TikTok followers to raising 7.5 million dollars in a year from INBOUND contacts. who were ready to invest even before he pitched to them. They knew him, knew his journey, because he had shared it.
He documented everything on TikTok. The good, the bad AND the ugly. He posted daily. He posted real information, and he was transparent about his experiences.
Check out his TikTok here: https://www.tiktok.com/@yupyork
There are, of course, drawbacks to building in public as well. For example, sharing too much information can leave you vulnerable to competitors who may copy your ideas.
Nevertheless, you can mitigate these risks while still reaping the benefits of building in public by being strategic about what you share and when you share it.
So, how can founders get started with building in public?
Your first step should be to identify your audience and where they are most active online.
To share your journey, consider creating a blog, a social media account, or even a YouTube channel.
Share both your successes and failures with your audience, and be authentic, engaging, and responsive.
Ultimately, building in public can be an effective approach for founders looking to build a successful start-up.
By sharing your journey with the world, you can build an audience, gather feedback, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
So why not give it a try?
Who knows – your start-up’s success story might just inspire others to take the leap as well.
Vusi Thembekwayo is an award winning Impact and Tech investor. He discusses the intersection of future of the world and leadership. Follow his regular LinkedIn newsletter by clicking here.