Wow, you’re finally climbing the Stairway to Heaven building your dream business, aren’t you? You have a brilliant idea, a wonderful team and a warm financial cushion, but is it really enough? Honestly, there are so many reasons for your startup to fail that sometimes only a miracle can help you…or wisdom. Al least, you can try to avoid the most brutal mistakes, made by enthusiastic entrepreneurs everywhere.
Mistake #1. Let you LOVE blind you
When you’re totally in love with your idea, it does not always mean that people around you feel the same about it. Alfredo Atanacio, founder of Uassist.Me was pretty sure that the concept of a virtual assistant will be very popular among busy individuals, who want to stay organized. He made this assumption based on his personal experience and the opinion of his colleagues with similar views.
It turned out no one actually wanted even to try it! Atanacio and his partner were advised to lower the initial price and turn to small businesses rather than individuals. But they didn’t want to change their business plan. However, they had to do it and it finally worked out. Now it’s a rather popular service, where 80% of customers are small businesses.
Don’t fall in love with your idea and be flexible. It’s vitally important to adopt and transform your idea before everything falls apart.
Mistake #2. Stop listening. Hey, do you hear me?
This is crucial: listen to your customers and offer them a distinct competitive advantage! A wonderful online custom shirtmaker Blank Label started its business assuming that modern hipsters would be greatly attracted by the opportunity of designing their own unique shirts. These people were the target audience. And only a small percentage was given to the customers, who just wanted a custom fit.
But the time passed and the owners figured out that their customers are mostly conservative businessmen rather than fashionable hipster guys! 82% answered that they just care about custom fit and have no any desire to create their own haute couture model.
So, please, take the trouble to learn why your customers choose your product and what they really want.
Mistake #3. Struggling for perfection. (Shhh… nothing is perfect. Go with it.)
Prioritize. When you just start your business there are so many things to do! So many truly exciting ideas to implement! But if you switch on your rational thinking you’ll see that many of your ideas, that seemed so brilliant (and they probably are!) are not really essential at a starting point.
So don’t waste your time for the decoration if the main product is not ready. It’s very easy to fall into “nice outfit” loop, thinking that customers would prefer a fancier product. The truth is you should primarily focus on the tasks that are critical for your business and give yourself some time. For example, Amasty company announced its SEO Toolkit extension in 2014 but it was released only on March, 15. These guys could have done the work faster, but at the same time, they managed to create a good product.
Putting some labels on your to-do list, such as “urgent!”, “good-to-know”, or “nice-to-have”, may help.
Mistake #4. Close your eyes and follow the “experts”
Never. Stop. Thinking. Even if you’re an absolute business newbie you shouldn’t blindly follow the advice of numerous business consultants and experts regarding your business issues. You’re your best advisor ever. Of course, you need help. Of course, you need an expert opinion, but while listening to this opinion, try not to lose your own view. And if you don’t have your own view – make a research and from it! Always remember that there is no one more interested in your success than you do.
Mistake #5. The wrong people can’t make the right team
Choosing the right business-mate is like choosing your soulmate. Sometimes you make mistakes, but that will cost you. Admit that you can’t do everything by yourself. Make sure you identify critical functions for your business and find qualified people with the right set of skills and appropriate experience for the crucial positions.
Mistake #6. Not counting profit and expenses
Numbers don’t lie. Therefore, you should clearly define your business model, establish the KPIs to be aware of how your startup is performing. Calculate the best and the worst scenario, and you’ll be ready to overcome if not all, then many difficulties on your way to success.