If you’re an outsider looking in, it’s easy to think running a startup is a good retirement plan. Pursue your passion, be featured on tech websites and magazines every other month, get millions of dollars in VC money, throw crazy parties, have weird looking offices – the list goes on. But you’d be wrong. As
If you’re an outsider looking in, it’s easy to think running a startup is a good retirement plan. Pursue your passion, be featured on tech websites and magazines every other month, get millions of dollars in VC money, throw crazy parties, have weird looking offices – the list goes on. But you’d be wrong.
As much as startups are all the rage nowadays, running one will probably run your blood pressure up (and keep it there). It is a grueling endeavour especially as you’re trying to beat the odds and keep the doors open. Little wonder, a lot of founders have two to three failed startups under their belt. Startup mortality rate is not what you want to look at first thing in the morning.
Which begs the question, why do startups fail? Well, sometimes, it’s the little things, the subtle things. Things you may already be doing and not even know. Here are three of them:
1. Running out of money
Contrary to popular belief, the number one reason startups fail is not lack of money. It’s mismanagement of available funds. Lacking the foresight to see and obtain the capital requirements for your business, will sink your startup faster than you can say, Iceberg!
Foresight involves a lot of calculation. You’ll need to consider not just the funds available to start but also, the funds required to run your daily operations as well as your frugality skills (if you’re bootstrapping). Projecting accurate burn rates positions you to be a better manager of your business.
2. Under-utilising Social Media
A lot of big enterprises treat social media as an afterthought. They can afford to, because they probably have a solid customer base and an ad budget to rival some country’s GDP. Small businesses on the other hand, don’t have that luxury. Social media is your one way ticket to affordable and sustainable customer acquisition. Social media growth hacking is all the rage these days. Rapidly acquiring real users (not “buying” followers or fans), will jumpstart your revenue base like an adrenaline shot.
Learn how to use social media like a whiz. The web is overloaded with valuable info, most of them free. If you don’t have the time, hire an expert. Whatever you do, don’t drop the ball on social media.
3. Letting your USP get lost in the noise
Today, more than ever, it is difficult to get yourself noticed (unless you have that juggernaut-like ad budget talked about earlier). That’s why small businesses have to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Your product can’t afford to be just another run of the mill clone. Something about your business has to stand out. It could be your customer service, it could be your delivery time, it could be your product. Something about your business has to be compelling enough to generate not only repeat customers but also viral word of mouth. It’s the lifeline to growing your customer base without running your account into the red.
You want to turn up the volume on your USP. As loud as you can. Because, if you are doing something right, your competition will notice you and will try to outbid you for customers. So, it’s good to let customers know what your product is offering them, which is exclusive to you.