Several startup entrepreneurs have great ideas in mind but fail to turn them into successful businesses because of some common and avoidable mistakes known to the startup world. Were they avoided, these entrepreneurs might have been another set of names among celebrity founders like Mark Zuckerburg and Evan Spiegel. So, what has WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, Uber and AirBnb (to name a few companies) done that other businesses failed to do? And what are some of the mistakes that most of them avoided to procure success? Let’s take a look below.
- Conduct Feasibility Studies
Startup businesses usually start with an idea fueled by a deep intrinsic motivation to make it a reality. While that’s great, founders often assume their business ideas will work without adequately researching their respective industry and market. There’s a reason you’ll see this mentioned as a commonly made mistake in several entrepreneurial and startup articles – and thankfully so. Studying the industry and the market you plan to enter will provide invaluable insight and information necessary for success. Questions like “Will my business work for all age groups or will it just work for millennials?” are crucial to consider, research, and answer before doing anything else, even so much as designing a logo (no pun intended). Answering these questions can also help founders assess whether their current savings is enough or whether funding sources like angel investors, venture firms, or crowdfunding services are needed in the short term. Entrepreneurs who know their market and industry and can determine how their business fits in, will be rewarded nicely.
- Develop a Business Plan
Since the dawn of time, a promise by word of mouth is less valuable than the tangible. In this case, your business plan is the tangible word and foundation to your idea. An idea remains nothing but an idea until it has been carefully outlined and translated into planned out thoughts and action. Ask Napoleon Hill. There are no countries without borders and there is no business without a business plan. Business plans help in several ways and here are a few things to consider when developing yours:
- It should clearly state what problem your business is addressing.
- It should clearly describe how your business will address the problem.
- It should clearly explain how you plan to create a sustainable (and profitable depending on your business) company.
Successful founders avoid being naive and thinking their idea is quick and easy to execute. Rather, they are diligent and execute a critical thinking process every step of the way. Successful founders write down ideas and organize their thoughts to achieve better results.
- Create an Online Presence
It’s 2016 in the 21st century. Successful entrepreneurs use the online world to build momentum. A commonly asked question to business owners is, “Do you have a website?” or “Is there an app?” Companies without an online presence risk being seen as unprofessional, archaic, and non-friendly to the consumer. Successful startups take advantage of social media platforms to reach their audience, adapt extensive engagement strategies such as email marketing, and attempt to increase organic engagement. These strategies should help produce better results and positive earnings at the end of the fiscal year. Most successful companies have a modern and user-friendly website that’s also mobile friendly. If you can afford to, consider investing in a mobile app for all common devices. To hire a mobile app or website developer, click here. Find bloggers in your industry or niche to write about your product, submit press releases, and utilize Google Analytics to monitor various online metrics.
- Build a Strong Team
Relationships are key to successful startups despite many of the stories we’ve seen where business partners go after each other in court. People tend to ignore the fact that those “fall-outs” usually happened after the company grew. Focus on building a strong team of diverse individuals with different skills and strengths. They’ll have their weaknesses (as much as you do) and might not necessarily be passionate about your business (which is fine). Settle personal differences early on and build a coercive front. As the saying goes, “It’s not personal. It’s business.”
- Share Equity
There’s always a global economic crisis (check the news) and one thing that individuals wouldn’t mind opting for is ownership, especially in a successful or promising company. Sharing out equity to potential partners has its benefits when relationships and commitments are clearly defined. Owning equity in a company changes one’s relationship from associate/employee to “part owner”, thereby increasing that individual’s stake in the business. There’s now a greater sense of responsibility towards the startup and stronger desire for the company to succeed. Handing out equity is a nice way to keep your startup running, so avoid a take-it-all approach and share some of the pie.
- Be Smart and Financially Conservative
Fundraising can be a pain but when it goes well, you’ll be able to bring all the prospects of your startup to life; however, be smart and conservative with your finances. Avoid buying expensive services early on. Failing to do so might thwart the progress of your startup and certainly avoidable with the range of online resources available. Always remain keen on your objectives and try to cut costs and save time by outsourcing tasks and connecting with multi-talented individuals who can effectively take on one or two roles. Outsource through platforms like Giggrabbers to save money while bringing your startup to life.
Many well-established companies have been praised and dressed with a number of awards for their innovations and success, but people often ignore the challenges that stood as temporary roadblocks along the way. Startups are made to make or break and it takes extreme determination and discipline to obtain the former. Everyone won’t say yes to you the first time around and all your strategies and plans won’t work out the way you want it; but be determined and resilient. Friends and colleagues might say, “Hey, your product is great!” but never buy it, and your response to that and similar challenges will determine your success. Dr. Charles Stanley once said, “Disappointments are inevitable but discouragement is a choice.” You have the power to stop or be determined enough to startup your company even when the engine fails to start.
Adapt and/or maintain these tips while avoiding the mistakes outlined above and you’ll be well on your way to building a successful startup.