As a start-up, the biggest mistake one can make, I feel, is to get ahead of themselves. Don’t get me wrong, having a dream and putting in your heart and soul into fulfilling that dream is what makes you successful, but you have to understand that the success of your company and acceptance of harsh reality go hand in hand. You can’t let yourselves get carried away by high hopes, and dreams of making it big.
Another lethal mistake you could make is to compare yourselves to large businesses. Now, I believe that it is important to set goals and have people like Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett or Richard Branson as your idols; after all they too had a dream which they dared to pursue. But you’re inviting trouble the moment you try to compete with them. That is why I came up with 5 misconceptions start-up owners have, to show you that business tenets that might work for the top companies, might be the very reason why you failed as a company.
A Great Idea is All You Need
Let me stop you right there, you need more than simply a great idea to succeed in the competitive market. Now, I do agree with technology entrepreneur Hari Mann, who says
“Entrepreneurs need to understand that it is not about innovation; it’s about implementation”
How you approach the plan is important, and it has to be different from that of large companies. They have entire teams dedicated to coming up with innovative ideas, which might even be better than yours. However don’t lose hope just yet, there is something you can do. Look at some of the successful start ups around you. Do they all have original ideas? The answer is no. But they studied the progress of large businesses, derived an idea from them and identified the problems with the idea which the large businesses couldn’t solve. You could work upon these unsolved problems, so that you have a little more to offer than just a great idea!
Getting Funded Won’t be That Hard
Big businesses run entirely on funds, provided by investors with deep pockets, mainly because these companies have stood the test of time and have proved themselves over and over again. When you step in to the market, no one will so much as give you a second thought irrespective of how great a business plan you may have. An investor will not help you out unless you have a business model which is convincing enough. If you don’t have an investor funding your company, you’re likely to disappear without a trace. A steady cash flow is a must if you want your start-up to grow, and I would suggest that you get an investor to back you during your research stage. People like Warren Buffett did not get to where they are now without being financially minded.
The Market Comes Second
Misinterpreting your market while launching a start-up could finish your business even before it starts. Large companies usually have separate departments, who deal with target demographic, demand, costs involved and so on. While starting out, it is expected that you will not be an expert in all fields. In that case, you need to consult someone who is. You have to know your market before you launch your company. It should be the very next thing on your to-do list after coming up with a mind blowing idea. You should follow the words of Dave Ramsey, a financial author,
“People are in such a hurry to launch their product or business that they seldom look at marketing from a bird’s eye view and they don’t create a systematic plan”
Hiring Specific People for Specific Tasks
A big company is likely to recruit specialists for each and every task. For example in an advertising firm, someone in accounts will not be dealing with the creative department. But as a start-up, you really cannot afford to do that. You need to hire enthusiastic, energetic people who are ready to what it takes, people who will not be confined to just one or two tasks. As an entrepreneur, you have to be an all rounder, and set an example for your employees. That is why, you need to be extra cautious while hiring people. Trust your instincts, but back that up with thorough checks and research.
Good Products Attract Customers
Let me put it to you very simply, while coming up with a good product is noteworthy, what attracts more customers is the brand name. Think of it logically, when you buy something, wouldn’t you rather opt for a product by a large, popular brand? Big companies guarantee quality products and claim to be reliable. So if you thought your product would be enough to catch the eye of customers, you need to re-examine your marketing strategy. You have to use all the resources at your disposal, like email marketing, social media marketing and so on to make a mark in the big leagues.
Like the most successful businessmen in the world, you too will make mistakes and learn from them. But while their mistakes will hardly make a difference, even a small error on your part could leave an indelible mark on your start-up.