What is a sleeper? I think it is most commonly associated with cars. At least that is how I know of it. Imagine pulling up at a red light in your fancy sports car next to an unassuming car that looks like it took one too many trips to the local school PTA meetings, and when the light turns; the car leaves you in a cloud of blue smoke and screeching tires.
The same concept can be applied to a new web startup.. one that slowly does its thing under the radar.
Our startup BestPartyEver.com is sort of like that. We are bootstrapped up to this point and have leveraged our other talents to slowly build our presence. We are opening a seed round to procure that first little bit of outside capital that can help us move things along a bit faster, and in doing so I really started to look at the strategy of some of our neighbors in the space are using to launch their own product/service.
Here is the most fascinating takeaway. If you look at their media “buzz”: all the nifty mentions on the important tech blogs, the articles in the webzines, even the mentions on TV, etc.. They do not have much more of a presence than we do.
Looking at alexa.com and compete.com and comparing our 2 sites, I find that yes they have a slight advantage on us in traffic, reach, and a few other metrics, but here is the difference: we have done it without spending more than $500, vs. they are clearly dropping hard $ on getting the word out.
I think their play is more about getting on the radar of the investment crowd, then building their business. Which makes sense cause they just pulled down some cash.
Maybe it is 2 ways to the same end.
I am also likely consoling myself right now, knowing that without spending any real money, on a razor thin budget, we have built a platform/system that can hang with the “cool kids with money”
And here we are now looking for money ourselves. Yet with an injection of cash, I still think I will play the role of the sleeper. Let the other guy spend money saying how good his service is, I will spend the money on making my service better., and so far it seems to be working. All stats are trending positive, more first time traffic, more repeat traffic, more pageviews, more time on site; week after week after week, and still my only cost is servers and labor.