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The truth is many entrepreneurs skip over essential aspects of their business in the beginning, thinking they aren’t important. Here’s where the scary part exists! When you skip important aspects of your business in the beginning…you don’t always see the damage that you’re doing.
You just think you’re being efficient, right?
In reality, you could be leaving detrimental holes in the foundation of your business that can affect your future success.
Let's dive into 6 critical mistakes to avoid while starting your own business.
1. Not validating their idea
So many entrepreneurs go full speed into launching a business idea that they never even tested. My phrase is, you must TEST before you INVEST. Not only should this include some market research to understand where your opportunities lie, but also getting real feedback from people that you ultimately want to reach.
The goal is to answer all the questions you can, so that you fully know your industry before ever putting money into this business idea. Even if you’re already in the building process, it’s never too late to go back and test some things with your market.
Ideally, you want to get customers to commit to signing up, pre-purchasing or any other form of validation. Gaining answers and feedback is extremely important. But nothing with validate your idea like actually getting someone to sign on board with what you’re offering. Do whatever you can to get people to commit, even WAY before ever launching and you will ensure that your business will have customers when the doors are ready to open.
2. No formal business strategy and structure
This is a really popular thing for entrepreneurs to skip over. Why? Perhaps it doesn’t seem like much fun. OR perhaps because you have it all in your head, so why the need to formalize it?
But that’s just it. Not formalizing your business strategy and structure means nothing will be aligned. No one (even you) will truly know why you’re doing what you’re doing every day and what your ultimate goals are and who you are trying to reach.
It’s all just a figment in your mind. It’s this type of hole that doesn’t show its effects right away. But the truth is without proper strategy and structure, you will likely experience challenges down the road because you have nothing formal that is guiding you. So I really encourage to make sure to take the time nail down what you’re building and why.
3. Failure to meet the customers’ needs
For most new businesses, it can be hard to really stand out from the pack when you launch a business. We all tend to think that our product or service is SO special…and it likely is!
But conveying the value of your offering in the right way to the customer can be extremely difficult. This is one of the biggest struggles that I see entrepreneurs face. Truly connecting to the needs, desires, motivations or challenges of their ideal customer.
We have to remember that purchases are mostly an emotional experience for consumers. Tapping into their psyche is what is going to allow you to truly connect. You need to dig deep and understand their pain points in order to properly position your product or service in a way that serves them what they are looking for.
4. Inconsistent or unprofessional branding
Many entrepreneurs get stuck in the position of trying to cut corners and save money in places where they shouldn’t. Your brand is one of them. One of my favorite phrases is perception is reality!
Meaning, people that came across your brand and how it’s displayed are going to make an impression based on what they see. If you have a scrappy logo that looks like it was designed in Word, or graphics that always aren't cohesive, then people might not take you seriously.
You need to look as big as you truly are inside! When you are expecting customers to trust you, your image is everything. Make sure your brand materials are professional and consistent, so that your audience can remember you for who you really are.
5. Lack of online presence
Most new businesses these days know that they need a website, but where many fail is grasping the entire online presence, which entails WAY more than just a website.
A successful online presence syncs every aspect on the web to form a powerful system that works together in unity to create awareness, connect with customers and convert more sales. Unfortunately a lot of business owners think that having a website and a few social profiles makes them visible online.
That’s a HUGE mistake. A few things to avoid this. Make sure to develop a keyword strategy early on, and use this in every web page, social profile, online listing, etc. You also want every piece of your online presence link to each of the other pieces. The internet is called the "web" for a reason so make sure you create one for your own business!
6. Ineffective marketing
This is the BIGGIE. The area where I see most businesses fail is how to market themselves. The trouble is entrepreneurs can’t usually afford an expensive marketing agency or consultant, yet they don’t have the knowledge or expertise to know what they’re doing.
So instead they spend a little time here and a little there (in between all of the other roles they are playing) which can end up simply just being a waste of time as a whole.
It's important to do whatever possible to ensure your marketing is both effective and efficient. Whether that’s hiring someone or taking classes, this is one of the most important steps to your success.
And remember that marketing is all about TESTING. You need to constantly try different messages to reach your market and the adjust and optimize things along the way. You never know what people are going to respond to, so don’t get discouraged…just TEST TEST TEST!