A new business has an addicting feel to it, especially if you are right in the thick of it and managing it. That’s the life of a CEO right? You’re not quite at the CEO level of things but the feel of starting your own act is a step all of us dream about. Sadly, the buzzword alone is not enough if you are looking to succeed with your own business. Studies give a disturbing number if you are one of those who are sitting within the time frame where your business can be labeled as a “startup” and that is exactly what needs to be addressed.
As Moz often puts forward the question, why do so many entrepreneurs end up falling flat on their noses despite having capital and ideas by the trunk load. There is no easy way to answer this of course and superfluous answers such as lack of resources or a mistimed investment do not help us. In fact those answers are also ready by the trunk load on the internet, but the entrepreneurs are still getting something wrong. What is it?
Not setting up an “edge”
Many call this as the “unfair advantage” that can get you up and running with a business idea, I want to build a more holistic and less hostile word around such an idea. Your business edge is nothing more than what you can do best, but takes note saying that you can work really hard or innovate is not enough. Do a quick Google search and you will figure out that those words are popularly used by lots of “up and coming “brands. It’s easy to say that you innovate: it’s quite another trick to actually pull it off.
The problem is the word itself, it’s putting serious consumers and businesses off. If your model is anything close to resembling a B2B then avoid using such things. Define your edge properly and stick to it in the initial times. It can be something as simple as knowing animations that flow well with the website but it needs to be something which you know you are extraordinarily good at.
Being stingy on “resources”
To be brutally honest, by resources I merely mean the working employees or the teams. Too many startups go on the track of hiring low costing employees or consultants and that ends up hitting them. I have always maintained that if you have to choose between a fancy office and skilled workers then invest on the workers first. Low end employees end up costing more in the long run, which as we all know is when the start up starts to shrivel up. Take an example of the fact that some companies despite being relatively new, offer new hires loan repayment schemes as part of their incentive benefits. It goes a long way in not just ensuring quality but also in having happy members in your team.
Notice I am talking about the marketing being inconsistent and not absent. It’s an important tip to pick up if you pay attention to Inbound in any form. You see online traffic can be exceedingly fickle at times: they do not have a specialized memory about what’s so special about you so they tend to forget. Consistency in your marketing means two things: being regular on when you post and being constant in what you post.
The regularity bit is easy right? If you are maintaining a blog then, post regularly at least twice a week. Social media needs to have posts going viral at least daily and so on. Constancy in “what” you post is a bit tricky. People take it to be being repetitive but let me assure you that it is the last thing you should do. Your business line follows a certain strategy so if your business is all about catering to yacht dealership and offering great values in that domain then your marketing will focus on varying values of different kind of yachts or what the perfect price range and make for a particular buyer. You will not be jumping to comfort and luxury settings because that is not your zone as far as your strategy is concerned.
This bemuses me because running a business typically means you understand government policies about taxes and expenses. The problem with “entrepreneurship” being a buzzword is that many people tend to gloss over the not so minor detail of taxes and loans. What does that get them? Penalties and that leads to? Well bankruptcy if you are not controlling your expenses.
Not controlling miscellaneous expenses
As someone running the business you need to be aware of the investment you are putting in your venture and the returns you are getting. One can argue that these expenses are part of the investment but that’s not my job to do so. The point here is that you need to keep track of them. If you are throwing the entire office a pizza party out of the office cash then that needs to be kept track of.
Now that’s point one, the problem is that because these amounts tend to be relatively small you end up spending quite a lot accumulating these “mini” transactions that have little to do with your business. Result? A potential loss figure showing up at the end of your month and we all know where that can go.