Starting a business is one of the most exciting things you'll ever do. It can also be one of the scariest, because start-up mistakes are common.
How will you know what to do first? How will you know if you're on the right track? And what types of things should you be looking out for?
Well, I thought it would be helpful to share three of the most common start-up mistakes that new business owners make—so you can look out for them, work around them and "get down to business" in a more direct fashion.
Start-Up Mistakes to Avoid
Let's get something straight before we start: You're going to have blunders and missteps as you build your business. You're going to feel, at times, that you're moving backwards instead of forwards. You're going to fail—that's an inevitable part of the journey.
However, you can avoid some of the most common pitfalls simply by looking out for them.
Here are the three start-up mistakes I've been seeing the most:
- Targeting a General Audience. You can create a general product or service, and attempt to market it to a general audience. Notice I used the word attempt. I make no apologies for this statement: You will fail. For any business to be successful, it must relieve a specific pain for a specific type of person. Dilute that formula, and it will flow like water off the backs of anyone who should care. Getting specific with your brand positioning will result in a niche audience that is passionate about what your brand is offering, rather than a throng of people who really couldn't care less.
- Focussing Strictly on Passion. I know, I know. I'm always telling you to follow your passion, or else you won't be in business for long. There's more to it than that, though. You can't simply turn your hobby into your job. You must make sure there's a market for the product of that hobby, or find a way to turn the thing that brings you joy into a product or service that people actually need and want. Study the market to see what's already out there and where gaps exist. Talk to the people you believe would be your ideal customers and ask them what's missing and what they think of some of the products you're proposing. If you find that there's a demand for what you're creating, find a way to differentiate your brand from any others that may be doing something similar. And finally, if you find that there's little or no demand for what you want to do, get creative. Maybe there's an existing product or service that could be perfected with the addition of your passion, or maybe you can use your passion to create something seemingly unrelated (but highly relevant and useful).
- Striving for Perfection. I guess this is more of a condition than a mistake; however, I highly suggest that you check this tendency at the door, or else you'll make some pretty catastrophic errors because of it. Too many aspiring business owners think that everything has to be perfect before they start marketing and serving their customers. Others are simply using it as a stall tactic. They're worried about clients and competitors finding something wrong with their strategy. Well, I can tell you this for certain: If you wait until everything is perfect, you will never own your own business. I recommend getting things in order with the intention of serving your ideal customers and then hitting the streets with it. You must have all the elements of your branding strategy in-place; however, they don't have to be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, and they don't have to be bullet-proof. They only have to be born from a desire to serve your target audience as thoroughly as possible. Adjustments will come. And believe me: even if you think everything is perfect, the system is going to prove you wrong, leaving you devastated. Flexibility is something that contributes to the longevity of the strongest brands—and that mindset starts before you open your doors for business.
I would venture to say that at least one of these common start-up mistakes has spoken to you—either because you've already been through it or because you can see the tendency in yourself.
There are so may pitfalls involved with starting a business, and most (or all) of them can be avoided by completing the right steps, in the right order. Not sure how to accomplish that? Well, How to Build a Brand has you covered with the Entrepreneur's Essential Brand Building Kit, a series of 33 videos that walk you through converting complete strangers into loyal customers in just four weeks. Divided into three different stages, these videos will virtually hold your hand as you walk through the steps to help you avoid common start-up mistakes whilst building a brilliant brand!