Nine Common Mistakes Startups Make and How to Avoid Them

There’s been an exponential increase in the number of people starting up their own businesses. In turn, this rise has ushered in a new age in the world of business. More people are identifying challenges in their communities and thinking up new ways to tackle them.

The internet offers a wealth of materials that are helping entrepreneurs be innovative in their approach to problem solving. It’s surprising that entrepreneurs face the same challenges, no matter what part of the world they live in and must identify and implement permanent solutions to these challenges.

Running a startup has its highs and lows; one can never be fully prepared, as every brand has its own values and uniqueness. It’s certainly not as glamorous as it’s been made to look and involves a lot of hard work, failure, perseverance and consistency.

Most people are likely to make some mistakes in the course of starting their own business. Below are listed just a few and how to avoid or deal with them: 

  1. Starting up Without a Clear-Cut Business Strategy: Before operations fully begin, there are usually a billion and one things to do, especially when you’re running your business alone.  At this point, you’ll most likely be excited about this idea and eager to share it with the world. It’s very easy to get carried away whilst trying as much as you can to manage your time and resources as effectively as possible. Your business strategy is one of the things you should have laid out before you even begin operating a startup. 

This involves identifying a problem which you want to solve, knowing those who have this problem and creating a product (goods or service) which would solve that problem. The next step involves convincing them that your product is the solution to their problem, whilst also winning their trust. Winning the trust of consumers validates your product and helps build a good brand image. Part of the plan should include how you’re going to monetise your product. Whatever price you’re fixing for your product should cover the cost of operations and product development. Having a detailed strategy will save you a lot of headaches when your startup is up and running.

  1. Lack of a Proper Structure: Proper organisational structure is one of the key contributors to the growth of your startup. Most startups fail to utilise their time and resources judiciously, due to not having a structure. Also, creating a structure or process in your startup will help your staff be more productive. 
  1. Lack of Business Values and Principles: If your startup or brand does not have a set of rules or principles guiding operations, you might find it difficult to define who your target consumers are, which is important in product development. You should know what image your brand is trying to project to consumers and always stick with it, no matter what. Knowing your core business values will also guide you in making the right decisions for your startup, as whatever decision you make must align with your values.
  1. Not Understanding Consumer Behaviour: The difference between successful and not-so-successful businesses is simply what they have to offer their consumers. The fact that clients are the backbone of your business cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, you should get to know them and learn what it is that drives them. You should try to understand what they want and what they need. Meanwhile, the product you offer should help them solve the problem it’s targeted to solve.Social media is a great way to understand consumer behaviour, as most people are more open to sharing information about themselves on social media than on any other platform. There are many analytical tools to use in evaluating consumer behaviour. With the aid of these tools, you can identify who your customers are, what they search for online, where they’re searching from and the types of devices they use. Having all this information about them will give you more insight into the best way to position your brand to meet their needs. 
  1. Not Knowing Which Clients To Turn Down: Sometimes, entrepreneurs take on clients who don’t fit into their target audience group. This occurs more with startups under a year old that are really opportunistic and sometimes desperate for new clients. This could end in a bad way, especially if the clients don’t eventually get what they want. It’s best to know who your target audience is and say ‘no’ to the clients who don’t qualify as a target consumer. It’s alright to turn down a client if what they want isn’t part of what you offer.
  1. Inadequately Trained Employees: In the initial stages, you might be able to run your business without needing any extra hands. As time progresses, this will likely change and you’ll need more hands on deck. In choosing employees, make sure that you pick the best person available to fill each role. You’ll also need to educate them as well as you can about your business and its vision; this will enhance employee productivity and make it easier for them to be good ambassadors for your brand. No expense should be spared in preparing your employees for the roles you want them to fill; they should be well trained and fully capable of discharging their duties. Notably, many businesses lose clients because of mistakes on the part of their employees.
  1. Inadequate Records Keeping: Most people who run small businesses find it hard to separate their personal finances from their business income. Many businesses have failed for this reason. While running a business, every penny spent or made should be documented. This will be of great help when trying to analyse the growth of the business; it would show you if the business is moving forward and by how much.
  1. Focusing Too Much on Competition: A lot of startups take cues from similar businesses to their own, which are already established. This gives them insights on what to do and how to do it. However, this becomes a problem when one business is a clone of another. Therefore, focus on your own  unique selling point and use it to carve out your own niche.
  1. Inadequate Preparations for Emergencies: You’re already taking a big risk if you’ve chosen to start your own business, and the truth is that you may fail along the line; accidents do happen, and the best way to handle them is by being prepared for any eventuality. If you’re operating your business in a physical location, it’s essential that you get protection for accidents that could occur on your business premises. Many startups have folded as a result of lawsuits they never expected.

 

Starting up a business is not a one-day job; it requires constant effort, consistency, hard work, research and perseverance to stay in business. However, it is one of the most rewarding career paths and more people are taking the plunge than ever before.