You’re starting up, you’re really excited, and admittedly you don’t know what you’re doing. Well, you know some things… but not everything. Do we ever know everything anyway? Either way, we learn through experiences, and the best way to learn is from our mistakes. Throughout my time at various startup companies, I’ve narrowed down 5 of the mistakes I’ve seen people make over the years. So, just this once, maybe you can learn from someone else’s mistakes instead of your own. Here we go.
1. Trying to Get Funding too Fast
You have to be ready. That means a business plan, projections, data. We’re all about data and analytics here at Firon Marketing, because it’s important not only to the future success of your business, but to your investors. If you don’t know what you’ve got or where you’re going in terms of CAC, ROI, etc., you not only can’t improve where necessary, but you can’t even start the conversation. Investors need to be able to trust you before they help you. You gain their confidence by being a responsible person who’s paying attention to the details. Until you’re ready to show that your company is worthy of investments, don’t run into the group asking for it.
2. Not Getting Outside Feedback
In order to be successful in any field, you need to know what you’re walking into. Have you gotten outside feedback from prospective users or clients? Have you researched everything available in your particular niche? How are you going to bring something different or unique to the table? These are all questions you need to ask yourself. But, these questions cannot be answered unless you’ve done your research. Research often involves a process of reaching out to those who would potentially be your customers. What do they want? Some startups will have an idea and go full force ahead without taking a second to look around and see what’s actually most useful.
3. Being too Rigid
As I mentioned in the beginning, when we adapt to changes and perceived failures, we grow as people, as entrepreneurs, and business owners. When one is too rigid, as in not being able to get over their idea of what their product, service, or overall company should look like, it shuts out opportunities. This could be an opportunity to do something entirely new and different with your product than you thought, but then ultimately that being the more useful and profitable option. Or, taking a perceived risk with a hire and learning what you want or don’t want in an employee, whether that person helps or hurts your company. You can’t be too afraid of risk, because starting a company is all about risk. And, you can’t be too set in your ways, especially when the world is constantly changing. Take the COVID-19 pandemic for example. In a situation like that, albeit extreme, you need to be able to adapt to the changing environment in order to survive as a company. A situation like that has effects both immediately and lasting. It’s important to be able to move around a little bit, because that could be the difference between staying afloat and going bust.
4. Going too Broad
After my thoughts on being too rigid, I think it’s pertinent to address the dangers of going too broad. I don’t want anyone to take my suggestion of being flexible to mean you should advertise your product or service as available to a massive amount of people. It’s always better to be specific. In terms of your product or service, the more broad you go, the more you’ll actually exclude customers. They may disqualify themselves because you also offer y and z, and that doesn’t fit their needs. If you only offer x, then you’re sure to include everyone in that target audience, gain their trust, and ultimately have loyal customers. Would you rather do one thing really well, or ten things really poorly? Also, if you don’t decide who your primary customer is, you can’t really create the best product or service for anyone. This is a decision that needs to be made before even outlining what it is you’re making.
5. Learn How to Talk About What You Sell
If you don’t have a story in place, you won’t convince anyone to invest in or purchase your product or service. It may seem self-explanatory to you what it is you are offering, but having a narrative is comforting to everyone. Plus, you want to be viewed as knowledgeable. You should be an expert on what you’re selling. That means not only being able to discuss all of your ideas, but also having a short summary of what it is. If it’s too complicated, you’ll lose trust. If it’s not well-thought out, you’ll lose credibility. Some of the most important elements of a product or service are trust and credibility of a brand. Don’t underestimate the power of narrative when it comes to business. But a true narrative. Don’t just make it up! And, just a hint: this is where marketing comes in too.
Firon Marketing helps companies in all stages of development, whether you have a website yet or not. From there, we take over your marketing using the entire suite of digital tools available. Need help as a startup or a full-fledged business? Reach out to us.