“Learn to trust the process.”
It’s a saying we hear in many different walks of life, but never is a truer word spoken than with regard to fund raising.
There’s an obvious need to have a plan, but just as importantly is being disciplined enough to act on it.
Startups won’t always be glamourous and a lot of it will be boring, but by trusting the process, you will get the results that you desire.
Part of that process is avoiding the mistakes that are often made by new entrepreneurs, so here is WGP Global’s list of nine things to avoid on the pathway to starting your new business:
1. Not spending enough/spending too much money
It’s obvious that at the very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey money will be a big concern.
It’s not too far from the truth to suggest that either saving or making money is likely to be the biggest priority. Particularly given that pre-launch cash flow will be almost non-existent.
Taking a longer-term view of things, rather than falling into the trap of either “I have to spend money to make money” or “I’ll spend the bare minimum until I have some decent cash flow,” will serve you well.
Invest in quality products and good people.
2. Thinking you have no direct competitors
It’s very rare that any new startup doesn’t have direct competitors, and yet there are still far too many new entrepreneuers who believe that their product puts them in a league of their own.
Sometimes the excitement of getting a new venture off of the ground clouds judgement, and even the most rational thinking goes out of the window.
You must do your due diligence in order to find out what differentiates your startup from your competitors, in order that you can gain a commercial advantage.
Don’t think for one moment that you have invented a new product. You haven’t.
3. Making hiring decisions based on cost
Never, ever skimp on the cost of hiring new employees. They are the lifeblood of the project and will serve you well. Pay them accordingly.
Employing staff at lower cost is almost always because they are unskilled, inexperienced or unreliable.
So, in the long run, you’ll end up paying more.
Funds may be tight at the beginning, but this is one area where startups can’t afford to save money.
4. Not setting attainable goals
Plan. Plan. Plan.
It’s impossible to be a success if you don’t set attainable and realistic goals.
You may well have a great idea, but if you’ve no solid plan to back it up, frankly, your startup is doomed to failure from the beginning.
Set short, medium and longer-term goals and then decide on which steps you need to take to reach each target.
5. Not thinking about marketing
Word of mouth and free PR will only get a start-up so far.
Thereafter, a robust marketing strategy is what will ensure the long term success of the business.
Paid advertising, content marketing, PR and SEO will all form part of that strategy.
Your competitors will likely have something in place, so why not see where their marketing budget goes, use that as a template and see if you can be more competitive.
6. Having too small margins
You’ll need a healthy profit margin in order to succeed.
Don’t undersell yourself and set it too low, because you’ll regret doing so in the very near future.
Think how you would feel as a customer if prices skyrocketed. Very unhappy, right?
See how much flexibility there is in operating and production costs, and whether they can be reduced.
If they can’t, you can accommodate these costs by choosing a higher profit margin from the outset.
7. Thinking you can do it all yourself.
Delegation is key, particularly in the beginning.
Believing that only you can do the job in the right way is a sure fire way to quickly burn yourself out.
Having the passion to succeed has to be allied to the common sense to know when and who to use for particular aspects of the business.
A mentor or consultant with the requisite knowledge in the marketplace will be a God send, and will save you from effectively impeding the success of your own business because of a need to control every aspect.
8. Being incapacitated by fear of “what if’s”
It’s ok to feel a little apprehensive when starting up a new business. It would be a little odd if you didn’t feel that way.
However, your progress will be hindered significantly if you allow yourself to be consumed by the fear of failure.
Take any rejection as a motivator on how to move forward rather than a criticism that what you have to offer will never work.
9. Putting your product first and people last
“The customer is always right.”
How many times have you heard that?! It remains as true now as always, however.
It’s no good focusing only on the need to make money, if those that will help you do precisely that remain unsatisfied by either the product or the service they receive.
Look after your customers and they will look after you.