prepare your startup's website pre-launch. But your online presence doesn't solely exist on and shouldn't solely rely on your company website. And it's incredibly valuable that just as you work on it, that you work to develop an online presence for you, the entrepreneur.Yesterday, I wrote about the things you can do to
Case in point: the relaunch this past week of SpeakerText, whose CEO Matt Mireles I had a chance to talk to. Looking back at the first mention of SpeakerText on ReadWriteWeb in January, that story begins, "You've probably never heard of Matt Mireles." But now, despite a back-to-the-drawing-board period for SpeakerText where the company itself was pretty quiet, if you're active in entrepreneurial circles online, you're much more likely to have heard of Mireles. He blogs and comments. He's active on Twitter and on Hacker News.
Mireles stressed the importance of "building your personal brand as a CEO." And while this brand, much like your blog, can help establish your domain expertise, your leadership skills, your vision, it also has numerous other benefits. In a world where we are all imminently Google-able, having a strong online presence builds your history. It builds your network, and as many entrepreneurs are quick to note, having a network helps expand your access to mentors, customers, partners, journalists, and investors.
It's the latter that's most frequently cited as the best reason to develop a name for yourself online - so that investors, who often point out the importance of "the team" in their investment decisions, can get a solid glimpse of who you are. Even better, they might know who are you are.
But Mireles argues that establishing a solid reputation as a startup CEO has an even more important benefit: it helps with recruitment and hiring. "The best people can work anywhere," says Mireles. You want to be able to give potential employees a good sense of who you are and why they'd want to join your startup team. And while investors give you money, says Mireles, "your team gives you value."
Establishing an online reputation early - via social media tools and in entrepreneurial communities like Hacker News and Quora - gives your startup a strong headstart. And while the introductory sentence of your launch-day press coverage might still read "You've probably never heard of..." it might instead read "the long-awaited launch from the entrepreneur we all know."
Photo credits: GBA