10 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Starting a Business

The list of Common Mistakes People Make When Starting a Business is based on my observations of startup creators I meet during conferences or my mentorship sessions. However, a lot of the mistakes are my own, so I'm not trying to be the all-knowing guru here. Hope you like the video! Mistakes business owners make: 1. Not launching soon enough. Trying to polish the product indefinitely. Founders typically are afraid to spoil the first impression. They are mostly unaware of a larger risk. Misjudging the client's expectations. In other words: what we think customers want can be very different than what customers actually want. Every day you are postponing a reality check for your business can be a day wasted. Typically it takes several iterations, sometimes even pivots, to get the product right. That is why it is crucial to launch MVP or even a mockup version of your product. You can use tools like Invision or UXPin to draw a simple version that can help you to challenge your idea. 2. Talking buzzwords rather than benefits. Most startups talk buzzwords rather than benefits. They talk features rather than use cases. They brag about awards, achievements rather than communicate the value their product brings. Lack of value-based communication leads to lack of sales. In turn, lack of sales leads to failure for most startups. So stop wasting your potential clients time with all these fancy words like "leading", "game-changing", "revolutionary". Just tell what your company does and how it is going to make my life easier. 3. Focusing too much on the uniqueness of the idea. The World is pushing you to be absolutely unique. Techcrunch and Mashable are looking for game-changers, unique business ideas that will revolutionize the industry. This is not the only way! This is not the likely way to succeed. There is an infinite space for businesses providing incremental improvement to existing solutions. It is all about solving an existing problem a little bit better than the other guys. 4. Not being open to feedback. Limit ways potential customers can provide feedback. Browsing websites for newly created businesses I rarely see an easy way to contact their representative. Typically you have to go through several subpages to find a poorly designed contact form. This is not the way to show you care about your clients. And as a newly created company, one of your key advantages might be a great customer support. Moreover, limiting ways for your potential clients to provide feedback is running a business in the dark. This is why it is vital to use tools like online chat to make it super convenient for your clients to engage and provide feedback. 5. Trying to create a product or a service for everyone. It impossible to match everyone’s expectation. Determine early your core audience and create for them. One of the hardest things, but also important things is the ability to kindly say “no” to some of your customers. 6. Not being aware of conversion rates. Most startup founders I meet think that they will convert 5 out of 10 potential customers. In some cases, this might be true, but in most, this is a totally unrealistic expectation. In our early days, I would contact 75 people (with a personal message) to get around 25 signups to get 1 sale. ONE! Out of 75 people I contact. And it still makes us a really good business. 7. Not engaging sales personally. Another common mistake is to outsource sales in the early stage. This is not a good idea as it stretches the communication cycle and makes it difficult to understand which parts of your product bring actual value to potential clients. 8. Focusing on investors rather than customers. I get it. You visit VentureBeat to see all these series A,B,C,D funding. It feels like everybody is raising capital. It feels like you're doing something wrong not to raise money. This is not the case. Raising capital can help your company, but it is also a huge distraction and burden. It takes time. The time you should spend on the product, customer relations, understanding client's needs, etc. 9. Not using analytics. Analytics sounds like something for large companies to optimize their business. It's not. Using analytics can be a matter of life or death for many startups. Imagine you launched a product. An online tool of some sorts. You're getting no sales. Why? There is a chance your product is amazing, but people are bouncing off your registration form. 10. Lack of patience. Building a business is a marathon. Not a sprint. The problem is: you see participants mostly when they are getting close to a finish line. You don't see startup founders when they are sleeping in the trunk of their car on the side of a highway. Overnight success is a myth. Determination and patience is the key. - Find me here: Facebook: http://facebook.com/michalsadowski Twitter: http://twitter.com/sadek - Video Edited by Jan Bożek