It is natural to commit mistakes when you start with a new venture. No startup founder knows exactly what to do, and we all learn while working on the job.
I have worked for several startups and I have seen them make some common mistakes. If these mistakes are not avoided, they can lead to failures further down the line.
Here is a list of some of the mistakes which should be avoided by startups.
Fear of failure
When you start with a new idea, the biggest fear is the fear of business failure. The pressure of failure can lead you to make mistakes. Do not allow fear to take over — you can overcome it by talking with friends and other startup founders.
“The success rate can only be estimated when you start implementing on your business idea.”, says Piyush Jain, founder of Simplam, a top mobile app development agency in DC.
Not doing proper planning
A proper business plan provides you with a path to guide your business. You need to plan by keeping in mind the vision, mission, goals, and objectives of the business and the risk associated with them.
The plan should be flexible, means it should be continuously updated. You should create a business plan update it as you progress — this is what drives success.
A good plan defines goals for short term and long term. The predefined goals and time-barred targets of an organization are helpful in its long-term survival. You need to differentiate between the long- and short-term goals of your organization.
Many entrepreneurs make mistakes by setting time-barred goals, ultimately meaning they lack the resources to meet their goal. Thus, your pre-defined targets should be in SMART format i.e. Simple, Marketable, Achievable, Reliable and Time-bound.
Not doing detail market research
Your idea can be unique and you might create a benchmark for small businesses and startups. But when you start with a new venture, it is beneficial to have complete knowledge which can be gathered with detailed market research.
When you conduct market research, you learn about current market trends, customer likes and dislikes, and the expectations of your target consumer. Through these, you can adopt possible changes in your business idea to make it more effective.
Not looking at competitors
Startups and small businesses always have competitors, and you should always look at what they are doing. Search for companies who provide similar products/services to yours and consider their pricing structures, customers and activities. By studying your competitors’ drawbacks and flaws, you can address or avoid those in your own product.
Customers tend to buy products with new features and designs, elements that are missing from your competitors’ offering. Looking at competitors can help you design the right product/services for your customers.
Not taking feedback from customers
An entrepreneur should not only focus on selling the product/services in the market. They should also focus on collecting feedback from customers. When you sell your product, you should reach out personally to customers to get the feedback.
Even if customers are not very happy with the product, they would appreciate the fact that you reached out to them to get the feedback. This can help you to retain even unsatisfied customers.
The most successful startups have focused on changing the product based upon the feedback gathered in the initial stages. It becomes an ongoing process in your company. While adopting the changes, you should ensure that the core objective of your product is not sacrificed.
Failing to conduct sufficient financial planning is the biggest mistake in the beginning stages of a startup. Most startups are launched with limited funds and it becomes difficult when costs stack up and you exceed the budgeted amount.
Consequently, do not spend more than your allotted budget just because you have the funds. Be cautious with your spending and try to get tasks done at the minimum cost possible. When you are looking for vendors or services providers for your startup, negotiate to keep your cost down.
It is a fact that businesses do not start making profits from the starting phase and it takes them time to break even. Consequently, you should plan your day-to-day expenses and check on unwanted expenses of the organization.
Not working with experts
When you start on your venture, you should reach out to experts in the domain. It is easy to find and connect them. Linkedin is a great network for finding experts who have done similar things.
Always try to find experts who are local, who you can meet in person. Try to take them out for lunch, dinner or other activities to gain from them. Sometime you may want to hire an expert and they may be very expensive. Instead of hiring them full time, you can hire them part-time to avoid the cost.
You can find several sites and listing which provide experts you need for your startup. For example, one of my friends was looking for app developers in Chicago and they found this Chicago based app developer listing very helpful.
Not adopting new technologies
Adopting to new technologies helps entrepreneurs to conduct business activities faster and better. These days everything is moving into the cloud, including file sharing, data sharing, emails, and other related activities.
Adopting new technologies reduces the burden of work on your startup’s employees and its founders.
Not balancing marketing and sales
Many of the founders do not focus on synthesizing marketing and sales. Putting tons of money in marketing is of no use when your product is not having a sufficient demand in the market. Both the activities should be carried on simultaneously.
Many entrepreneurs think that they can easily put a truckload of money in marketing and reach success. Most of the time this has been a big reason for the failure of startups. You should spend some money on marketing and see how it converts into real sales.
These are just a few of the most common mistakes that startups make. Follow the tips above and put your startup on the path to success.
Author bio: Piyush Jain is the founder of Simpalm, a US mobile app and development company.