When starting up a new venture one has to be careful. Since each new venture has its own unique challenges, there are several common mistakes often repeated in the early stages of businesses that you need to watch out for; all of which could negatively affect your business further down the road.
These are some of the more common mistakes that I found commonplace in my experiences of working with startups.
Not Being Team Oriented
Bringing the right people into your venture and creating a good vibe which supports productivity and creativity is one of the most difficult tasks you will face; if it’s done right, you can create something magical. If it’s not, you will hinder your business every step of the way. Building the right team is critical and first and foremost it requires a good relationship between the team members, the right mix of skill sets, passion, devotion to the project, and the ability to overcome disagreements so that your company will always be moving forward. Investors will look at the cohesiveness of your team, because they know that it takes the right mix to take the venture from it’s current state of being ‘on the roller coaster ride’ to ‘taking off’ as a successful business.
Friction Between Founders
While it’s natural for people to have different approaches and perspectives, founders must be able to overcome disagreements between them in a way that best serve the product and the company. This is easier said than done, of course, but the alternatives are to waste time, energy and money, only to discover later on that you are too far behind on your timetable and far too short on keeping within your budget. Friction between founders also negatively influences the team dynamic and may distract your employees from achieving their goals. How to handle conflict and differences of opinion is as important to negotiate as is the problem of settling monetary issues when selecting your partners.
Not knowing your audience – and thereby not targeting them specifically with your marketing dollars – is the same as throwing money away. You are not the target audience, therefore you have to go out and find them, gather the necessary comprehensive research, quantify and compile it in order to understand it, and then be able to formulate your marketing strategy as it pertains to that specific group. Furthermore, because it may be more than one group or demographic that you will be targeting, you won’t know who your audience is until you spend the time to pinpoint exactly who these people are.
Not Planning Ahead
A product without a plan will go nowhere. While your venture offering requires a great deal of thought, work, and attention to detail, so does your plan to implement it and introduce it into the market. To build your minimal viable product, you will first need to start by researching the market, find out who your competitors are, identify your target audience, and understand the gap and/or niche that you would like your offering to fall within. Having a plan will lead to you having a list of requirements from which you will identify what priority is most important and what is less. Following these steps is essential in building the product so that whatever you make has all the right requirements.
Is the Market Big Enough
Is your target audience big enough to support this product’s success or is its target audience too small and set within a niche that is its own a problem needing to be solved? Always make sure that you have enough of an audience who share this need and that your product’s offering is a better solution than any of the other alternatives on the market.
(Continued in Part 2)