6 Stumbling Blocks That Every Startup Should Be Wary Of
Being an entrepreneur seems to have become a fad of late, given the rate at which they are growing! It begins with a lot of excitement and zeal and hope, but while optimism is a key ingredient necessary to start up, a pinch of practicality is essential to taste the flavor of success.
Many startups are launched with great ideas, but hit the dust because they overlooked some of the key issues that are unique to startups. Here are some of the roadblocks that you must be wary of as a startup entrepreneur to ensure that you not just survive but rule the game:
Skipping the vital step of ‘market research’
This is one of the biggest blunders that you can make. You have made a product that no-one wants, has too many competitors at better pricing, or you have targeted the wrong demographics or geographies. Maybe you have timed the launch at the wrong time. Market research helps you understand the potential market, because it is after all the market which will drive your business. Misinterpreting the market may spell disaster for you, even before you take off.
Simply building a great product is not enough!
Putting all your energies into creating your ‘brilliant’ product, without knowing if anybody really needs it, or is willing to buy it is a common problem. Effective marketing and brand building for that brilliant product/concept is of utmost importance too. You can’t expect people to buy your product if they don’t even know you exist!
Moreover, there are multiple channels to market your self – social media, TV, print media, in app marketing with partners, event sponsorships and so on. The key is to have a well planned strategy that’ll yield optimum results all else all efforts will go in vain.
I’ve always emphasized on the role that execution plays a in ensuring a startup’s success. The best of concepts and plans have failed in the past due to poor execution. Every business ultimately boils down to execution since it is at this stage that an idea is converted into a viable business. It is about continuously monitoring your progress from time to time and taking corrective action, where needed, to ensure you don’t go off track.
Scaling up too fast
If you have tasted success in a small zone, do not be overzealous to scale up too fast. Success vs. scaling up isn’t a linear relation or a fixed ratio; there are many unforeseen parameters that can bring you down quickly. Brainstorm, research, discuss and evaluate your capabilities for going big, spend time in building the gaps and then grow in a phased manner, so that rollback or risk mitigation is controllable and one failure on any front will not uproot you completely.
Poor customer service
Your customers are your free marketing agents, and the sole testimonials of your brand-value and quality. Ignoring them or not addressing their concerns can be the gravest mistake that you can make and in fact actually be a death-knell for you. Make sure that you focus on proactive customer services, as happy customers will automatically spread good word for you!
Lack/loss of focus
Startup founders often end up getting their hands dirty in all or most aspects of the business until their revenues are sustainable. It’s important not to lose focus on the long term vision in the midst of all the hustle-bustle. In fact, all efforts of the entire team should be bound by the common goals in order to get the best results.
Rather than rushing through things as a startup and ending up making mistakes that cost you a bomb and derail you, you might as well go the ‘slow and steady’, yet scalable way and demonstrate your ‘real’ mettle as a startup
The Author of this post, Vikram Upadhyaya is a Chief Mentor at GHV Accelerator. He is also the Founding Board Member of the Indian Angel Network Incubator and an advisor to projects being undertaken through the Telecom Centres of Excellence (TCOE).