This article applies to any small or big business owner who has invested everything on his entrepreneurial journey. These mistakes could cost you your business and it really does not matter whether you are an old player or a new.
Common Mistakes are :
- Mistake #1: People will buy just because I made the product
- Mistake #2: Not having the “Why” of your business figured out
- Mistake #3: Unclear focus on your own brand Image
- Mistake #4: Keeping Huge Overheads
- Mistake #5: Not asking do you need it? Can you afford it?
- Mistake #6: Time your tasks
- Mistake #7: Reuse content that is working
- Mistake #8: Incorrect identification of your niche
Your business is like a locomotive that runs on passion. During the course of business you face a few known and a lot of unknown challenges. An entrepreneur must rely on his/her intuition, expertise and confidence to survive the everyday battle.
Moreover you are required to multitask on various verticals, you may be CEO making strategic decisions one day and Sales manager convincing client of the benefits of your product or service at the same time, some days you may even be running errands like an office boy. The point being that business initially can be quite demanding. This helps you keep your overheads low and keep your business process efficient.
Mistake #1: People will buy just because I made the product
Just because you created a fantastic product or service and created a new website people are not going to visit it. As they say “Best place to hide a dead body is the second page of Google.”
It takes time for Google to index your website and even after that it takes months before you can correctly figure out how to rank on the first page of Google.
It is important to carry out a proper market research before you invest your time and money on a product. If you are taking out a loan, the EMI will probably start immediately, so it is important to delay taking loan as long as you can and closer to the point that you start making money off your investment.
Initially it will be up to you to use your networking skill to develop relation with people in your industry in order to promote your product or service. The Best strategy is to start promoting your product or service even before you launch it officially. This will help you polish any rough edges in the product using live feedback of people.
Promoting your site takes great amount of social media, email marketing, paid ads etc. At beyond360 digital, we offer such integrated digital marketing services to promote your company to know more Click Here
You can use following below mentioned techniques to pre-promoting your product.
- Face-to-face networking – Even in the age of internet marketing you cannot discount the importance meeting someone. Talk about the problems you have identified and how you will solve these problems. This can help you make a lasting impact on the person and he will remember you when he faces this problem.
- Identifying prospective buyer – Using your website, existing network, and social media platform your should try to create a marketing funnel. This will help in creating an email list to target these buyers.
- Using Social Media – It has become an indispensible part of any marketing plan, along with PPC campaign social media marketing provides the fastest result for promotion of a brand, product or some specific schemes. Nevertheless these social media platform have stopped promoting the organic reach of your content, hence it makes promoting on these mediums quite expensive. So use social media sparingly and focus on other marketing solutions as well.
- Finding like-minded people – Using Facebook group, social media post and bloggers find your niche or preferred. It is important to engage with people on common subjects. The conversation should not be focusing on saying me this, me that, it should be genuine and with empathy. Once you have developed a meaningful relationship then you should promote your product.
All this work will amount to naught if your value proposition is not profitable. It is very important to fine tune your product/service so that once a clients start coming in you make money over every deal. Otherwise you will eventually start losing money.
Mistake #2: Not having the “Why” of your business figured out
Why does you business exist. Does it exist because it solves a customer problem, does it fulfill the customer need or does it simply exist because you wanted to get out of the routine corporate job?
Mind you there is not nothing wrong with wanting more freedom and wishing to have right work-life balance, but that cannot be the sole reason for your business to exist. I have spoken to people who speak passionately about their entrepreneurial aspiration and their first ‘WHY’ is that they want to become billionaire and be able to afford all the luxuries of life. Customer don’t buy your product because they want another billionaire in the world, they buy it because it solves their problem.
The first step in figuring the WHY of your business is to identify the Customer Pain, Need, Want and Challenge
The purpose of your business is to solve the pain that the customer is experiencing, to help other people or other businesses. Keep the customer at the center of the business universe instead of yourself and then think about the purpose of your business. The WHY that you figure out then is the why that will spread rapidly amongst your customers.
Mistake #3: Unclear focus on your own brand Image
Initially small businesses sometime do not focus on their brand. They feel that they are too small or too new to think about branding, but you create a brand image even if you are consciously not trying to do so. Every interaction that a customer or prospective customer has with your company, leaves him with some emotional understanding of your company, this is your brand. It helps the customer determine your company’s personality, validity and trustworthiness. It also creates a decision of how likely he is to do business with you again. Customer acquisition cost at the start of your business is huge, losing a customer because of incorrect brand image hurts you considerably even without you realizing.
Some believe branding to be a complex process that is very expensive and labourious. They have different set of colors for company identity and totally different set for website. This can give very confusing and unclear signal of your brand. Sometime they can talk about customer service as the number one priority in the marketing communication and then have untrained staffs answered the complaints.
As a business you are occupied with various challenges that you may face on a daily basis, hence it makes sense to hire a professional to keep your branding in sync across various platforms. They can help you create an image of your brand for potential customer that is legitimate and credible.
If you want to do it on your own, there are many tools available in market which can help you like Canva, unsplash, Adobe photo-stock etc.
Mistake #4: Keeping Huge Overheads
One of the biggest costs that business incurs at the very beginning is in form of fixed cost of having an office and permanent staff. There is a saying that “First 1000 days make or break a business”. It means that it takes 1000 days to make your business profitable. But before you hit that profitability figure you may have to put in a lot of investment of your own. In today’s world where e-commerce and digital products are ruling the market many companies are keeping their businesses lean. Working from home or at co-working space help you keep the initial cost to a minimum. This means that you can hit your profitability figure early as you keep your fixed cost to a minimum. E-commerce businesses have removed many entry barriers that were associated with starting a business. One of the biggest entry barrier is the requirement of huge investment very early in business, but still business needs capital to get off the ground.
This bootstrapping way of business reduces debt, reduces risk of starting business and has been successfully adopted by many successful start-ups that later became unicorn.
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Mistake #5: Not asking do you need it? Can you afford it?
Even if you major in Business Administration (MBA) there are something’s you find out about starting a business only after few years into it. These are things that cannot be understood when someone explains them. New entrepreneurs are so pumped up about the freedom to decide and give their venture the resources that are best for their company. It takes a while for them to understand that ‘best’ comes with ‘cost’. Even things like getting company identity kits made, can cost from a few thousand to a few lakhs depending on where you get it done. It is important to consider the return on investment every time to make a major cost decision. Although company identity does go a long way in creating a company’s brand image and helps you in the long-run. However, you can always upgrade it after your start making sizable profit. Sign up for free trials wherever it is available, check for lesser cost options and look for alternatives to keep your expenses in check.
Mistake #6: Time your tasks
There are many jobs that need to be done in a company. These jobs can be categorized as Making a product and selling a product. These are the tasks that bring in the money. These are the tasks that pay your bills. Spending time on task other than these two categories of job is support work. You should try to keep the time and money invested in such work to a minimum. Many a time’s entrepreneurs waste time to doing work that they have nothing to show for once it is completed. They call such works as “researching online” or “checking email” “Checking accounts”. These unproductive jobs can take your attention away from your core business and give you a false sense of job satisfaction.
To avoid this pitfall you must categories the tasks into Productive and Unproductive.
Time devoted to unproductive task should be limited by giving in a designated day and time of the day.
Eg. Accounting can be done once a week for 1 hr
Online researching can be reduced to post working hour and not first thing in the morning.
Creating a well-oiled system helps you eliminate unnecessary time spent on unproductive task, helps you cut out the fat and lean up the process over time, and keeps you ultra focused on productive tasks.
Mistake #7: Reuse content that is working
There are various strategies, tactics, communication that you apply at various times in your business. Sometimes these strategies work, other times not so much. But at all these times it is important to document your business learning, so that you can re-apply the learning that you gained from it. If your strategy has worked on one client the probability of it working on similar client become high.
Eg: you created a blog that got a huge response from SME business. You can now convert this into a YouTube video. Also, you can create facebook ads specifically targeting the client based on the response to your blog. Identifying the trends and prospects for your business from your own learning will help to multiply the results of your efforts.
Mistake #8: Incorrect identification of your niche
Some businesses have small engaging following, while other social media accounts have a large, unresponsive following.
It is crucial to know the difference. It is important for businesses to have a purpose behind posting, engaging, and keeping a social media presence. Further, understanding how to target the right people is essential for a company’s brand. In essence, be online where your target market is and don’t spend time elsewhere.
It’s great to have engagement and great to know who is reading and interacting with your posts, but the point of doing social media marketing is conversion, and if your mom, friends, or employees are the only ones engaging with your content, then changes your strategy now. The reality is my ‘like’ is only as valuable as my network, and my propensity to patronize your company.
Without conversion, social media engagement is futile. You should focus on researching about your industry and target market in detail. Find 2-3 social media platforms that best resonate with your target market. Here the idea is to gain conversion and not being present everywhere. Consistent and engaging presence helps in conversion. Do not sell your product or services in all your interactions. Do it occasionally.
Find online “communities” whose purpose relates to your niche and thoughtfully interact and engage. Provide real value to that community of influence. Put forth effort to interact and understand people and their needs, wants, and interests and response. Organically invite people to learn about your brand.
To conclude, this blog post won’t entirely prevent you from making these 8 business mistakes, but hopefully it will make you aware of them and able to recognize how to make your business more efficient, effective, and profitable.
If you find this article interesting, then please do share this post with others because there’s a good chance it might help them with their business.