Earning Startup Street Cred: 3 Essentials For The Sales Road Trip

Fortune 500 companies weren’t always Fortune 500 companies. You’ve got to start somewhere. Every time I speak to successful founders or the first couple of salespeople at a startup there’s one topic that pulls everyone together: the epic startup road trip. Ah, the nostalgia.

Although less glamorous, the trips made to get those first customers to sign the purchase order come with some fond memories. After years of research (ok, mostly my experience), here are the 3 essential elements of a startup sales road trip.

1. The Startup Motel

Let’s be honest, you’re a startup – you’re not staying at the Four Seasons. Not sure if your motel is authentic startup-grade? These are the signs to look for. Number one, can you park your rental car right outside your room? Startup motel. Are you cramming at least two people to a room? That’s right, big companies actually don’t allow that. Can you ask for a monthly or weekly rate? Yup, you’ve got it. Check all three boxes and you’re on your way to real startup street cred.

Budget tip: WiFi is almost always free at the cheaper motels!

2. Startup Transportation


One day you’ll have a private jet. Today you’re in a Kia Rio with 4 other people. Rental car companies always have tiers, the funny thing is that most car upgrades are literally dollars apart from each other. Looking back, we would still find ourselves picking the cheapest car possible and of course, declining all extra insurance (not recommended).

Need to go further than 500 miles (800km)? Looks like you’re flying. If your flight is taking you 2-3x as long as the direct flight, congrats, you’re taking the startup flight!

Budget tip: That extra $8 rental car upgrade may sound a lot better after 14hrs of driving.  


3. Startup Grub


You’re at the startup motel, remember? There aren’t any omelette stations here. Breakfast you’ll be pouring cereal from a cereal dispenser (good for your cred). Lunch and dinner? A toss-up. If you’re taking potential customers out you can’t take the cheap route. However, when you find yourself eating El Pollo Loco, you’re experiencing the startup meal.

Budget tip: Find yourself in Texas? 3 words – Lone Star Beer.



So it may not be the most scenic road trip and it definitely won’t be your classiest, but I can guarantee, when you get that first signed PO, it’s worth it. 


Sound familiar? Any tips to share? Have you found a motel better than the Red Roof Inn? Let’s hear how you earned your startup street cred.

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Somen Mondal

CEO at Ideal
Somen is the Co-Founder & CEO of Ideal. Prior to Ideal, Somen served as Co-Founder & CEO of Field ID until it was successfully acquired by Master Lock LLC (a subsidiary of NYSE:FBHS) in December 2012. Somen’s leadership has helped earn Field ID a spot on the Profit Hot 50 and Deloitte Fast 50 Companies-to-Watch lists. In 2012, Somen was named winner of the Ontario Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the “Emerging Entrepreneur” category.