Improving Your Lean Start-Up Marketing Strategy

crowd around a campfire on the beach

What is your small business marketing strategy?

Constant testing versus consistency? Or perhaps you use a “stone soup” business model? Curious?

Always be testing — of course!

That’s a basic paw-print of marketing our lean start-up models. If a method doesn’t work quickly, throw it out.

Then try a new strategy. Start-ups are like a batch of newborn puppies. You must constantly be feeding them. You need a flowing gusher of marketing ideas.

That’s why you’ll find entrepreneurs hanging out online in Facebook groups,TikTok, Instagram, and now Clubhouse to tap into the hivemind.

 “The only way to learn is to learn faster than anyone else,”

— Eric Ries, best-selling author of The Lean Start-Up.

Your method of testing and pivoting is important

According to The Lean Start-Up, though, one KEY to a successful business is this: “We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.” 

However, you can’t learn what your clients really want without talking to them.

Nurturing your start-up will require open communication with your target market.

That’s where the old folktale of stone soup might help. Here’s the gist.

A stranger enters a starving village during a time of famine in search of food and shelter. He doesn’t know anyone and has no money.The villagers are hungry and not in a sharing mood. 

So the stranger innovates. He takes a plain gray stone out of his pocket, asks to borrow a large pot, builds a fire, and fills the pot with water and the stone — and a sprinkle of salt from his mostly empty pockets. 

The stranger arouses local curiosity. Soon a villager asks what he is making.“Stone soup,” he replies, “but it would taste better with a bit of cabbage.” So the villager brings him a cabbage he has been hoarding. 

By talking to inquisitive villagers one by one, he gradually obtains all the ingredients for a flavorful pot of stew. The smell lures the entire village. 

The stranger then shares the stew with all of the hungry villagers. Such a feast for villagers tired of living off the one resource they were hoarding! 

The result? Success and celebration! In the middle of famine, a superhero stranger brings a village together to celebrate with a simple gray stone.  

If he had stopped with cabbage, the stew would have been bland, boring, and inadequate. What the village really needed was to learn how to pool their resources. They were all secretly longing for flavorful food.

Innovation and consistent communication add flavor to your lean business model.

What are some ways to arouse curiosity and create those connections? 

Make people feel important. Start by polling your online neighborhood (network). That’s the upside of social media. Ask for opinions. You know you’ll get them! Wink, wink! Crowdsource your product-building process. With enough cheering and positivity, you’ll encourage your clients to improve your product with you as you grow.

Consistency leads to more contribution. If the stranger had stopped with one ingredient, the end result would have been far less successful. Content marketing engagement requires you to consistently show up and provide value. Spend some time around that village fire.

Mix up the flavors. These days you can add variety to your marketing in so many ways. While you need to show up consistently in print, try video interviews of complementary businesses. Or brave going live in your own small online community.   

At HelloWoofy, Inc, we’re even exploring a TikTok strategy. We’ve provided helpful TikTok marketing tips for you, too. We’re always happy to share what we’re learning as we innovate.

Join us! Share ideas. Sit around our village “fire” in our FREE online Facebook community, Content Masters by HelloWoofy.com.


Arjun Rai

Founder & CEO