Today just about everybody seems to be in some kind of startup business: new companies spring into existence all the time but, alas, most of them fade into obscurity just as quickly. Sometimes it is just a matter of bad luck, but more often than not it is startup owners who are responsible. Sadly, all too often their failure comes as a result of several common and avoidable problems.
Failure to Evaluate Risks
There are four kinds of risks: those that can be ignored without any ill effects, those that can be mitigated or eliminated by simple common sense, those that can and should be insured and those that can potentially kill your company. Most start-uppers, especially those without ample previous business experience, often fail to prioritize and spend inordinate amounts of time on protecting against risks that can safely be ignored while ignoring things that can be really harmful.
Failure to Read the Market
Most new companies close because they are too optimistic when answering one simple question: is there sufficient demand for what you are selling at the price you set? All too often startup creators are so enchanted by the seeming brilliance of their ideas that they fail to see that there is no real need for what they offer. The world isn’t going to accommodate to your needs. On the other hand, the reverse is also possible. Remember, back in 1943 IBM’s president predicted that in the entire world there can be a market for five computers, tops.
Failure to Communicate
In today’s world, failure to reach out to your potential customers is almost certainly fatal. Nobody is going to discover your company and your product – it is your job to bring them to people. According to MagicDust, a notable web designer Sydney company, a poorly designed website (which for different people may mean anything from unpleasant colors to lack of mobile compatibility) can kill a startup even if everything else works in its favor.
Lack of Competitive Advantage
In any given year hundreds of thousands of startups enter the market. In any given year, about the same number of companies goes out of business. Less than a half of businesses are still afloat in four years’ time. What it means for you is that there are potentially hundreds if not thousands of companies entering the same market segment at the same time as you do. Can your company boast of anything others cannot offer? Do you have any edge over them?
To a certain degree, obstinacy is an important and even crucial element of success. If you lack determination to see your startup through to the end, you are unlikely to succeed. But too much stubbornness is just as bad. If things don’t work out, if your brilliant idea doesn’t take, if people don’t like your product – you should always ask yourself what you are doing wrong and be ready to change plans on the go.
It is just a tip of the iceberg, of course. But knowing the typical mistakes will hopefully help you avoid the kind of thinking that invites trouble.