Not your startup, of course. Your startup will do just fine, we’re sure. But on the off-chance that it does fail miserably, one of the following reasons may well be to blame.
We all know that starting a business isn’t an easy thing to do, but there are probably even more failed startups every year than you think. The up side is that if you identify the reasons that they fail, you stand a much better chance of avoiding the same mistakes. So what are some of the things that could lead your startup to destruction?
We hate to break it to you, but if your business hinges on bringing back the calculator watch, it’s probably going to fail. There is no place for calculator watches in today’s market. So what is there a market for? Chocolate fudge cake that is good for you. Get on that. Identifying your product or service’s place in the market is one of the first things you should be doing, and if you can find such a place then you’re off to a good start.
It should go without saying that your product will bring about failure if it’s bad. No doubt you have not set out to create a bad product, but it happens. You may have put in too much work to allow yourself to see its negative aspects, or you may have simply spent too much time with it and become blind to its problems. Make every effort to look at your product with fresh eyes and use, but don’t rely entirely on, beta testers.
Spending too much in the wrong place and/or at the wrong time could mean the end. Don’t spend money on marketing early on that you should be spending on development. Equally, don’t spend money on the product further down the line that should be going towards marketing. In short, allocate your money wisely. Remember that not only do you (probably) have limited resources, but investors will want to see that you have used the capital that you do have in the most impactful way possible.
Following on from resource management is marketing. Although you don’t want to spend too much money too soon on marketing, without good marketing…you guessed it: failure. A core base of engaged customers will be of more value to you than multitudes of people being reached by a huge marketing campaign but not taking interest; however, it’s important that you be able to expand your reach and customer base, so you need to be clever about your marketing. Of course, good marketing doesn’t have to cost money – just time. Social media is one of the most powerful methods of marketing these days; you just need to invest the time.
This is in the same vein as resource management. Your time and energy are resources and you have to manage their allocation in the same way. As an entrepreneur, your focus could be on a hundred different things, but you need to ensure that said focus is on the right things – the things that are most important and will ensure success. With the daunting freedom of mind that having your own business brings, it’s easy to get carried away or overwhelmed with the sheer amount of things to think about, so don’t let your focus slip.
Waiting for perfection
There is no such thing as perfect. If you keep delaying your launch or investor pitches or this and that because your product or service just needs a little more tweaking, you will never get there. That’s not to say you should launch too early, but if you’re waiting for perfection, it’s going to be a long wait. And an expensive one. With feedback from customers and your watchful eye on their use of your product, you will continue to improve it over time – this is how it is meant to be!
This can mean not making your product too complex, too. Some of the most popular products and services are where they are not because they are the only ones of their kind, but because they are the most accessible. Simplicity and ease of use will win you customers.