Survivalism: An Early Stage Virtue

Definition of “survivalism”: an attitude, policy, or practice based on the primacy of survival as a value (according to Merriam Webster).

The early stage startup is a difficult environment to be working in because there’s so much passion and hope for making revolutionary products/services but there’s no way to achieve those dreams unless the firm survives past the first few years. So in my own opinion from my own early stage experience, a startup should embrace the virtue of “survivalism”. Thinking about the future is worthwhile and gives hope to many entrepreneurs because it helps make the current situation seem worth all the troubles. However, thinking long-term and trying to act on it is a different activity—an undertaking that should be avoided.

For my company, we need to generate leads which requires us to first reach our target market. Under the five key abilities framework, this means making sure our company has the ability of Marketability. Before we can create conversions, we absolutely must reach our target online and get their attention so that we can present them with our value proposition.

Our first foray into online marketing has been through Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. So, we currently are in a mode of survivalism in which we feverishly create a multitude of online ads to test which ones work best and won’t cost too much. The trick in selling a product or service is always to make sure that the cost of reaching your customers is less than the revenue you can bring in. In our situation, we cannot reach our target consumers except via online marketing, so getting the advertising campaigns to bring in enough leads at the right price is our current focus. A focus necessary for us to survive.

By the way, during this mode of survivalism I’ve been devouring Hubspot’s free online resources related to inbound marketing as another strategy for reaching our target market. If you’re a startup entrepreneur these resources may be valuable to you as well.


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