Win the Startup Race

By June 14, 2016 Industry 2 Comments

Want to grow your company? Start another one.


In running, they call it “hitting the wall.”

It’s the moment in a race where maximum effort meets minimal energy and down you go, face-forward onto the pavement (or maybe more forgivingly, a patch of grass).

About a year ago, our company was running at a pretty nice clip: We were enjoying a healthy influx of business and working intensely to complete some of our biggest projects yet. Our energy reserves were as high as our spirits.

But we were, as they say, “at capacity.” And it seemed as if one additional project, another client, or one more new initiative would begin to deplete our essential energy reserves, setting us down a path that would lead to hitting the proverbial wall.

In a race (if you’re smart), this is the moment where you slow your pace. You get some Gatorade. You pop gummy bears and Twizzlers and caffeine goo, and rethink your plan. You might even stop.

In business development, however, the course of action is less clear. So at this pivotal moment in our company’s history, our CEO decided to do the opposite. He sped up.

He started another company.

A year later, our family of companies is enjoying a great amount of momentum as a result. What seemed like a counterintuitive choice was the right one for us. Here’s why it worked:

1 We gained the confidence of the crowd.

First coined by Edward Thorndike, the Halo Effect has long been recognized as the phenomenon where one assumes that because people are doing well at A, they will also be doing well at B, C, and D.

RUHM (company 1) was already building a great reputation at the time we created Dohr (company 2). As such, were able to leverage that reputation to build confidence among new clients and potential investors. Our trusted contacts liked what they saw in RUHM and were excited to support Dohr. We were able to leverage the Halo Effect and as such, had a running start.  

2 Second Business = Rocket Boost

There’s a reason why many runners swear by a shot of Gu mid-race: An extra dose of powerful carbs and caffeine can propel an already hard-working body straight to the finish line.

Dohr acted a lot like that Gu shot: With RUHM, we were already creating beautiful marketing for our clients. But, nothing existed in the market (yet) that would distribute that content exponentially and quickly to interested readers and buyers worldwide — and provide new avenues for profit for our clients.

Traditional email marketing wasn’t enough, so we created a platform that would go beyond it. We gave Dohr its name because of its capability to open doors to new revenue streams that traditional marketing platforms just wouldn’t be able to touch.

Today, thousands more individuals stand to experience RUHM’s content through Dohr (and prosper as a result) than they would have if we’d decided not to create it. In this way, our second business became a catalyst for the first, helping it achieve success beyond what we’d originally projected.

3 Our second business keeps us “out front.”

People say this all the time; yet, in this case, it bears repeating: We live in a digital age when life cycles and client needs change more quickly than ever. That means, it’s important to see straight down the road, even as you sprint, right to where your industry is headed.

With Dohr, we saw an opportunity to create a technology platform that met the needs of “early adopters.” Those who see the promise in the technology now stand to reap large benefits when the rest of our target market catches on. In a race, these early supporters are like pacers, keeping us moving forward and helping us distance ourselves from slower competitors. And they’re crucial to helping both businesses stay at the front of the pack.

Did you make an unorthodox business decision that paid off? We want to hear about it. Drop us a line in the comments or email sabra@ruhm.com.

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