So You Want To Start A Business: Get Ready For A Long Haul, Mailchimp Says

Email marketing software vendors shouldn’t expect much from small businesses when they’re starting out.

Only 19% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) buy and pay for software prior to launch, Mailchimp reports in its new paper: Why Small Businesses Should Start Marketing on Day One. The remainder wait until after they have opened their doors.

Moreover, 42% of start-ups try to get by with a free domain at launch, versus 58% that will pay for one. 

Mailchimp worked with Hall & Partners to survey 505 new entrepreneurs. 

Of that sample, 80% had launched within the past two years, while 20% were still working on planning and research. From idea to action, the time frame was more than a year for 40%, from six months to a year for 20%, and less than six months for 40%.

One of the biggest challenges is knowing what to charge for a product or service. Also daunting is finding customers — especially the first one.  



Of those polled, 64% of pre-launch businesses had not yet acquired their first customer, and a startling 28% had not done so post-launch.

The report’s conclusion? Launching a business can be a “slow burn.” Mailchimp urges SMBs to start by building their email list.

“Even if you’re not ready to create a full website, you can buy a domain name and publish a quick ‘Coming Soon’ page to start collecting email addresses for your launch.

This news comes as Mailchimp, formerly viewed as an email marketing vendor only, adds new features to its cross-channel marketing platform. These tools, most of which are available now, include:

  • Organic social post scheduling — This allows firms to schedule posts at the best times for them and their followers
  • Marketing calendar — Users have access to an overview of their multichannel marketing campaigns. This tool, still in beta, lets users see campaign connections across all channels
  • Behavioral targeting — Brands can track in-app behavior and send emails when users perform downloads, email registrations and renewals
  • Websites — Mailchimp users can now purchase domains to extend their brand and build their own website. This will be in public beta in November

Mailchimp is also offering automatic tagging from landing pages, enhanced mobile app capabilities, automatic API tagging and postcards. 

Meanwhile, according to the report, most startups have to work their way through these ten milestones: 

  1. Choose and register your business name
  2. Develop a customer pipeline
  3. Conduct product/market fit 
  4. Obtain permitting/licensing 
  5. Acquire first customer 
  6. Set concrete business goals 
  7. Purchase technology 
  8. Design and launch a website
  9. Set up social media accounts
  10. Starting accepting payments from customer.

Here’s one more tip — from us. None but the brave should try this.


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