When launching your own startup, you may feel like you’ve thought of everything. In fact, there are a number of mistakes which startups regularly make, many of which can prove to be their downfall. Therefore it is a good idea to learn what these mistakes are and what you can do to avoid them.
A business without marketing is like a person dancing in the dark. You know you are doing it but nobody else does.
Often, startups have very limited capital to work with. Once they’ve poured their money into creating and fine-tuning their products or services, there is usually very little left to allocate for a full-blown marketing campaign. Their business suffers since they are unable to attract the attention of customers and get themselves off the ground.
The cost of traditional marketing channels (TV, Print-Ads, Radio, etc.) leaves them out of the question for startups as well. For the bootstrapping startup, leveraging the power of social media is a good way to get known. Here are 4 marketing tips:
1. Share Your Startup’s Story – Everyone loves a good story. Why not tell them about the sacrifices, the pains, and the fun and small successes that you and your people overcame to create your startup?
2. Create A Social Media Strategy – Facebook and Twitter are your top platform to market your brand as everyone’s using them. A good social media strategy must outline your plans to build your online presence. You should also consider contributing or guest posting on relevant and authority websites that are related to your niche or target market.
3. Engage Your Customers – Once your startup has built a social media presence, do make sure to interact with your customers. Social media is a two-way street so if your customers have issues about your product / services then this is a good place to not only address their concerns but also show the whole world how you much you care.
4. Host Fun Games and Contests Online – Create an online buzz around your startup with a cool giveaway or a fun contest. This is one of the best ways to build your customer base and a chance to leave a positive impression.
When it comes to planning ahead, startups tend to make one of two mistakes. Some startups only focus on their short-term business plan, and have no development strategies in place once a business begins to scale. Others set their sights too high, only focusing on their long term ambitions, rather than putting time and effort into smaller and more achievable goals. Ideally, you will want to find a good balance between the two.
The Startup Pyramid is a good way to make sure you are planning well for your startup business.
1. Product / Market Fit – Know if your product / service actually has real-world potential. Survey potential customers how they would feel if they stop using your product or service. Can they live without it? Would they be very disappointed? Refine your startups operation based on your Product / Market Fit.
2. Promise – Indicate or highlight the strengths of your product.
3. Economics – Design your business model to reflect real world economic challenges while allowing you to acquire as much qualified users as possible for the least amount of cost.
4. Optimize – Refine, streamline, and test. Approach your market in different ways to find out the best strategy for your startup.
5. Scale – Prepare your business to expand. This is where you put everything you learned while climbing the startup pyramid to ensure that your startup grows into a profitable and long-term business.
Hiring the right person for the job is never more important than when launching a startup, as you will need to build a team which are as passionate and focused as the business founders. Whilst it can often be tempting to hire friends and people that you like, it is more important to employ those who know the industry and will be beneficial to your business.
Here are five tips to hire the best team for your startup:
1. Take Your Time – Don’t hire the first person that comes in the door. Allow yourself to contemplate on your candidate list.
2. Create A Pool of Candidates – Try to build a good pool of qualified candidates. You may want to create job ads with specific instructions to follow. You want to get the candidates who are really interested to work for your startup, and not just someone who needs a job, any job, asap.
3. Pre-screen with Checkpoints – You may also want to avoid one-day hiring. In fact, prolonging the hiring process and implementing checkpoints can help you better narrow down your applicants. A checkpoint can be anything like a phone interview where, if the candidate is unavailable, you take note of how long it takes for him/her to call you back. These kind of checkpoints can give crucial clues and insights on the work ethics and attitude of your candidate that may not be apparent during interviews.
4. Practical Skill Tests – Conducting interviews is one thing and many applicants are surprisingly good in making a good impression during interviews. However, the real test is when you make them do a practical test
5. Get Your Team’s Input – Once you’ve narrowed down on a list of candidates, get your team’s input (if you already have a one). Do panel interviews with your team to better gauge how well the candidate could work with your team.
LACK OF DETERMINATION
You might be holding the best business plan created by man, you might have hired rockstar employees, and your product might be touted as the next “iPhone”, but if you are not read to get down and dirty, then do not expect your startup to get too far.
If you really want to see your startup succeed, then you will need to have a great deal of motivation and determination. Many startups don’t see the results they hoped for immediately, but perseverance, more than anything, is the key to success.
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About the Author: Jimmy Wentz is a budding freelance tech writer, gadget and gaming enthusiast, and social media junkie. He writes regularly about O2 and the latest news in the tech, gaming, and social media world.