Launching a startup? Take time to consider these five major mistakes that entrepreneurs commit so easily when setting up a business. These are just a few things to remember before finding yourself holding head above water and realizing you’re operating in the red. If you want to grow your startup into the next Costa Coffee or Virgin, consider these mistakes seriously.
- Lacking Market Research
Too often, entrepreneurs are giddy to start a venture without undertaking a fundamental strategy that any successful startup should do: market research. There’s a gold mine in every feedback that you hear: What current trends in the industry are taking the market by storm? What do customers like to purchase together with their favourite products? Where is the best venue to promote your services? These are just some of the questions that can put your startup on the right course. If you don’t invest your time in market research in the early stages of your business (and maybe just a few pounds for printing questionnaires or travelling to meet potential clients), then you’ll be locking your door permanently in a few months.
- Becoming a Copycat
Some entrepreneurs are easily tempted to follow the lead of a successful enterprise. If a local coffee shop has grown into a popular coffee chain, it’s too easy for copycats to do the same. While there’s nothing really wrong with being inspired by someone’s success, it won’t necessarily translate well into your product or service. Failing to differentiate what you offer will abruptly drown you in a sea of fierce competitors wanting to get a piece of the market pie. As Jack Welch perfectly puts it, “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.”
- Being Impulsive
If you’re raring to go at blazing speed to the path of success because your impulse tells your feet to hit the pedal, better turn off the engine first. There’s no fast and easy way to success but a careful, well-planned business strategy. If you like your startup to be positioned for profitability, lay out each step with patience. Do your market research, hire the right people, network with the right business people, monitor your finances. These are some of the ways that you just can’t accomplish in a short time.
- Spending Too Much for Overhead Cost
Another common mistake is footing the bill on expensive, unnecessary overheads. Should you really move your manufacturing area to another location, or can it stay in your garage to save you rent? Do you really need additional staff to hand out flyers, or can you just do it by yourself to minimise your expenses? Your business plan should guide you in anticipating your sales and profits. Be aware that too many overhead costs will keep your business from growing. Always start with a conservative approach.
- Resisting Technological Change
As your business grows, it is inevitable that changes in your operations, management and even customer acquisition will take place. Top Nigerian entrepreneur Ajaero Tony Martins once said, “Your greatest and most powerful business survival strategy is going to be the speed at which you handle the speed of change.” And what a better way to illustrate this through technology. It used to be that businesses spent heavily on ads online without taking their marketing analytics seriously. As a result, they’d continue spending on weak performing ads because they believe that a big chunk of their leads comes from advertising on a specific platform. Today, companies are harnessing the value of Call Tracking to measure their marketing performance. Call Tracking helps them identify which marketing campaigns, ads and even keywords generate inbound phone calls successfully and provide a better all-around experience. They just log into their online dashboard at any time and instantly see how many calls they’ve received on any of their tracking numbers
If you want your startup to succeed, take heed of these startup mistakes and be serious about it. After all, it’s nothing personal… just purely business.