Beginning a startup is an exciting time. There’s so much to do and you’re already looking ahead to your business becoming an established market leader in the future.
However there are a lot of areas to navigate through and mistake to avoid before you get there. The most common reasons for a startup’s failure can be easily avoided with careful planning and staying focussed.
It’s also essential to know what habits or common pitfalls you need to steer well clear of in order to give your startup the best chance of making it.
Here are 6 things startups should avoid.
Being Too Busy
Being too busy is a sign that you’re not focussing on what’s important and may be getting overwhelmed by all of the small-inconsequential tasks that aren’t adding any benefit to you or your business.
Scheduling is essential as well as the ability to ‘work smarter’. Identify the tasks that are most essential to your business and spend your time on them – the 80/20 model. Allocate the other tasks that take loads of time but don’t make any money to smaller portions of the day. If you’re not getting through them then consider outsourcing to a virtual assistant.
You might only see the expense but at a relatively small cost you’re freeing up your own valuable time to focus on the tasks that really make you money.
Only Focussing on Your Passion
You have to love what you’re doing, particularly when you have a startup that’s going to suck up an inordinate amount of your time. However you can’t start a business that’s based solely on your passion that provides no benefit to customers, or doesn’t solve a problem.
This is where compromise comes in. Within the niche of your passion, you should find an area that people are really interested in and solves a problem that a lot of people have.
In this way your startup is not only based on something you love doing, but is a viable business as well.
Copying the Competition
If your startup model is based on replicating someone else’s success, it’s doomed to fail.
This doesnt mean that you have to be completely original. What is does mean is you’ve found a shortfall in an existing product or service that you’re aiming to fix. You need to differentiate yourself from the competition and establish your own presence.
By replicating everything a competitor does, your giving no reason for customers to do business with you.
Saying Yes to Everything
One of the most important aspects to being productive is the ability to say no. Many startups are terrified they’ll miss out on an opportunity and say yes to everything.
This consumes a huge amount of time, spreads you thin and stops you from being able to grow your business.
Be clever with the opportunities that come your way. Really think them through and see what benefit they’ll be to you and the business. Then think is it feasible’ do you have the resources, time and manpower?
Opportunities can be pitfalls in disguise and your job as an entrepreneur is knowing how to say no and identifying the few opportunities to go for.
Making the Wrong Initial Hires
One of the main reasons for a startup’s failure is making the wrong hires early on. Here it’s more important than ever to get the right people on board.
Startups have a very different mentality to established businesses and your hires should have that same mentality.
Positivity is a must due to the stressful demands of a new company. Resourcefulness is essential for a business that has to watch everything it spends money on. Going above and beyond is essential for the growth of the company.
You cannot make hires who look at this as just a job, or a paycheque. They have to buy into your vision.
There is a reason that analytics are the main aspect of growth hacking and why they’re incredibly important for startups. Knowing how to set up reports and delve deep into exactly what customers are doing, allows you to react quickly to pending mistakes or hidden opportunities.
With a startup you’re not only trying to grow your business, you’re testing at the same time. This is a time of knowing exactly how customers are reacting to you and your products. Some of the most successful startups have analysed early on that people weren’t as into their products as they thought they’d be, but adapted quickly to meet their needs.
One such example is Instagram who initially started out as a kind of ‘Check-in’ app similar to foursquare. However, through analysing their customers behaviour they were able to see that the people on the app were pretty much ignoring most of the features, apart from the ability to edit and upload photo’s.
A focus on this, a redesign and a name change, and Instagram was born.