My name is Florence Chikezie and I want to talk about 8 mistakes startups need to avoid so they don’t die off.
There are many mistakes startups can make that will affect the growth of their business. From experience, these 8 mistakes startups make have a more negative impact on their business success.
1) Not having a revenue-generating business model right from start is one of the mistakes startups make. People make the mistake of starting off with freebies without having a business model that includes a revenue generating model. A business model is how your business plans to create, deliver and capture value. There should be a plan to monetise any value you are delivering.
2) Procrastination. Putting off doing something, calling, sending emails or writing proposals into the future is dangerous. That future date has its own challenges. So you just have to do it now. Half of the success one can get from a business involves just showing up – dressing up and coming into the office even when you don’t feel like it, sending that email now even when tired or picking up your phone to call that supplier or client that needs to be spoken to. If your fear of rejection is causing the procrastination, it is important to overcome this fear and get things done.
3) Perfectionism. Having fallen into this trap before, I have learnt my lessons. This is personality driven. Introverted people are highly gifted so want everything and all plans to be perfect. Sometimes 90% readiness is not even good enough for them.
One has to understand that one does not have control over everything – regulations, government policies, customer preferences, competition, even to an extent one’s own internal operations, etc. Do not wait till everything is perfect before starting to do anything. Trying to make sure everything is great from get-go is toxic for your startup. Just do it! Eventually, things will align.
4) Not listening to your customers. There is a craze especially in the tech world to build products without knowing if they will work for the market. You have to listen to your customers and know exactly why they are buying from you, to learn why they pay for your services. Then focus on those reasons and try to be the best at providing those.
5)Not knowing who the competition is. Every business has a direct or indirect competition. There’s always someone who is doing the same thing you are doing or similar to what you are doing, that a customer can use as a substitute for what you provide. Before a customer switches to the competition they need a reason to do so. Don’t give them that clear reason to do so. Therefore listen to them. Also learn about your competition so as to set yourself apart from them.
Collaboration is also something you can do. Look for mutually-beneficial ways to work together with your competition. I do this by reaching out to other co-working spaces to find ways to work together and make benefits. Collaboration is the new thing in business.
6) Choosing the wrong investor. Be clear about the value beyond money that your investor adds to your business. Get investors that understand the company’s vision beyond just being interested in the returns on investment. These types can make you take decisions that will affect your company negatively.
7) Making all the decisions by yourself. Early startups often begin with just a person. But as you grow you will find out that you cannot do it all by yourself. You need advice – some good advice.
This can be from mentors, a business coach or a board of directors – just someone or people in your corner to bounce ideas off of. You will always need someone to help you make decisions, to talk to during the down times and talk to about problems. Sometimes, your passion for your business can cloud your judgment, so you need someone a little bit neutral to get opinions from.
8) Wrong hire and hiring too quickly. Don’t make the mistake of hiring people who don’t understand your company or its vision. Don’t hire people who are just looking for a job. They will kill your business because they don’t see the long term goal of the organisation. Most times, they are just there to collect salaries. If you make this mistake, then you will also be faced with the painful task of letting them go and starting the recruitment process again. This entire process is a huge distraction that we too at ReDahlia have gone through. It was not a nice experience.
Hiring too quickly should also be avoided. ReDahlia almost fell prey to that in trying to hire a facility manager at the beginning of the company. (It is expensive hiring a facility manager with the proper qualifications.) However, we realised that an office assistant could do most of the job we needed a facility manager for – making sure the fittings and fixtures worked properly. So we put a stop to that hire and saved cost.
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This was live from Wary Pen at ReDahlia Workspaces, 43B Emina Crescent, Off Toyin Street, Ikeja.
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