The startup world is a tumultuous environment, where success often relies on making the right decisions at the right time. But while many of us have been told that intuition and experience are key to being successful in this business, research has shown that there may be some mistakes you’re making without even realizing it.
Not understanding your customer
To start, it’s vital to have a good idea of who your customers are and what they want. In today’s era, where users often bounce from site to site with little patience for getting the information they need, you have an incredibly narrow window in which to impress them. You can do this by offering free trials or services upfront so that they can get a sense of your company without having to sign up for a full account. If you fail in this regard, you could find yourself losing your customers after just 30 seconds!
Another mistake is focusing on how they will use things rather than what results they will see. While it’s true that people love new gadgets and software add-ons, when it comes to the business world, they’ll often choose efficiency and benefits over features.
You should also avoid neglecting the small details. People often think that their product is so great that customers will forgive any and all defects. But if you want repeat business (and not a bunch of one-time sales), you need to make sure your company has a user-friendly interface, displays well on different browsers, and doesn’t have bugs or problems, regardless of how minor they seem. Only then can your company be considered truly professional.
Starting right but going wrong anyway
Another big mistake is incorrectly assessing your company beforehand. Many companies initially think they’re headed in the right direction, only to find that things don’t progress as planned or there are issues with their business model that need to be corrected immediately. Unfortunately, these challenges require a lot of time and financial resources most startups simply don’t have.
Building a product that is not needed or wanted
Of course, a large part of this is being confident that you have a product people will be willing to pay for. There’s an old saying about filling a need – “give the people what they want!” In other words, focus on customer service and not just features. While it may seem like adding more bells and whistles to your site or application will increase sales, if those extra items don’t address customer needs or solve their problems then you should avoid pushing them at all costs. If there isn’t much interest in what you offer, lower prices until demand goes up. Don’t make the mistake of thinking something has to cost a certain amount – great companies know to charge whatever the market will bear.
Hiring employees before you have all your ducks in a row
This mistake is more of a traditional business problem that’s common across all industries. Many people believe in their businesses and hire employees in order to make them successful. However, even if you have great hires it’s not always the right time to bring on new staff. More specifically, before adding any extra help, make sure you understand your company’s mission and goals, as well as what resources (time, money) need to be dedicated toward that end. If you don’t know where your company is headed by taking care of yourself first will only lead to the possibility of bad hires and burnout for existing staff.
Thinking it will be easy and not getting prepared for hard work and long hours
In a world where we’re taught to think big and always try to maximize our efforts, it can be difficult not to go overboard when launching a new company. Just remember, in your excitement you need to be realistic about the hard work ahead. Many people make the mistake of thinking that they don’t have to prepare or invest heavily because they’ll figure things out as they go along. This provides an easy excuse for not taking care of their health or business before launch day.
Failing to think about the future and what might happen if something changes dramatically in the marketplace
As a small business owner, you naturally have to expect the unexpected. Not only do new opportunities arise every day, but so do significant challenges and before you know it you might find yourself with staffing problems or some other major issue that requires quick attention if the company is expected to survive. While this seems simple enough on its face, many people don’t think about these big picture issues ahead of time because things are going well at first glance. You need to be thinking about your next move even when things are running smoothly in order to set yourself up for continued success.