You may have already heard the news: in 2015, 2 out of 3 new businesses will fail. So what is going wrong with brand development for start-ups? How can new business owners and entrepreneurs mitigate damages and increase their chances of success?

They can take valuable branding advice to heart, for getting it right. AND, they can avoid common start-up pitfalls, to greatly decrease their chances of getting it wrong.


The Most Common Brand Development Mistakes by Start-Ups

As you embark upon your start-up journey, it would make sense to learn from those of us who did it wrong, learnt from it, and are now willing to pass along that wisdom. Here are the biggest mistakes we’ve made—and seen made. Avoid these, and you’ll be on your way to start-up success:

  1. Failure to Research: Market research is the element that makes the difference between a cool idea and a profitable business. An innovative concept is not necessarily a marketable one. So how can you know the difference? You can enter your target audience’s environment—get into the heads of your ideal clients—with an open, unbiased mind. Look at the concept as a critical outsider. Be honest about results. If people are telling you (either directly or indirectly) that they’re not interested, listen to them. Brand development will not change this. It will only make the discovery more expensive. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to abandon your idea entirely. Adjust it, mould it, get creative with it…and repeat your market studies with the same critical eye.
  2. Valuing Positive Feedback over Negative Feedback: Great testimonials are good for business; however, the intent listening and action resulting from negative feedback is what really shapes a brand people want. People can say lots of nice things about your brand and never buy one thing. When they say negative things, they may never buy again—unless you address the feedback and correct the problem. Fix problems before they arise, treating negative feedback as the gift that it is.
  3. Reliance on Trends: If you’re approaching your start-up with a “What’s everyone else doing?” approach, your start-up will be more like a slow-down. A saturated market is rarely good for any business involved—particularly a start-up. Launching a start-up requires creative thinking that goes where others have not yet gone. This doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel; however, it does mean finding a new way to design or use the wheel.
  4. Disregard for Delivery Preferences: You might have a brilliant business model…a cutting-edge product. However, if you’re not delivering it in the manner that your ideal client wishes to receive it, he or she will not engage with your brand. This goes for home delivery vs. pick-up, as well as video vs. email vs. social media vs. text message delivery. Every touchpoint matters, so take the time to find out what will please your customers, make their lives easier, and keep them coming back.
  5. Imprudent Hiring: Your employees will be your start-up brand’s most valuable ambassadors of brand development, and therefore, should be chosen based on their passion for your brand. Often, start-ups are tempted to hire cheap. After all, funds are tight. However, this always proves to be more expensive in the end.
  6. Uncontrolled Growth Vision: Growth can be a tricky subject, particularly when taken on without the help of a brand development professional. Every start-up needs a realistic growth timeline, with different goals and forecasts for one year, five years, and ten years. Too-slow growth will hamper a brand’s potential. Too-fast growth will suffocate a brand. Knowing the ideal growth rate (and what’s required to facilitate it) will greatly increase your start-up’s chances of success.

Brand development is a complex undertaking that is, nonetheless, achievable with all the right branding advice. Are you taking all the right measures to safeguard your start-up’s health and wellbeing? Are you curious about proper execution, and how these 6 points relate to your brand, in particular?

Then you’re ready to learn more. We recommend that your next step be enrolling in our FREE B.R.A.N.D. Kickstarter Online Masterclass at In just 60 minutes, you will learn how to safeguard your start-up against common pitfalls, as well as outpace your competitors and earn the money you’re worth. Don’t wait another minute!

About The Author



We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


©2021 How to Build a Brand Limited. All Rights Reserved. Developed by How To Build A Brand Limited.

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?