3 Big Mistakes New Startups Make
So you’ve got an awesome idea for a killer app, piece of software, social network or device? Every successful startup business begins with a great idea and a strong vision, however dreams and ideas are nothing without the right execution.
We live in an age where there has never been a greater abundance of entrepreneurs and never before has there been such relative ease with which they can source funding. However creating the next big thing in tech requires more than just the vision and funding to do so. Meticulous planning and strategising are essential and the foresight to anticipate problems and carefully adapt your business concept during development are key elements to success.
The following are some of the most common mistakes new startups make:
They neglect the user experience
During development of your product, it is essential that you solicit feedback, support and advice from your users. For example, if you’re producing the next ‘killer app’ or social network, you should never fully launch it until you have extensively tested it with a small and exclusive user base that you have established via invite only. This process has the additional benefit of helping to raise the profile and desirability of the social network prior to official launch by building anticipation.
Furthermore it ensures that you have adapted and changed the product to meet your customer’s needs and identified flaws, weaknesses and bugs in your concept or business model. There is likely going to be a big difference to how you envisage your product on paper / in your mind and how it turns out in reality. Early user feedback and criticism will enable you to improve and optimise the product and business so that it can be far more refined and effective.
They develop hierarchies too quickly
When you wish to keep the creativity flowing within your young startup business, it is very important that communication is open and unrestricted by arbitrary boundaries. Many inexperienced founders can make the mistake of adopting a stereotypical hierarchy structure to the business, placing themselves at the top, hiring a manager below them, middle managers below the manager and so on and so forth. In short, they create departments within their startup business too quickly. One of the keys to the success of so many Silicon Valley companies has been the lack of corporate bureaucracy and restrictive structures.
Departments within a business will develop organically over time once the company and its primary products have been established, but when you are just getting started, you need to allow ideas and creativity to permeate throughout the office. For those small startup businesses out there comprised of 3 – 20 people, you should be holding regular brainstorming and problem solving meetings where an individuals job title is left at the door. You may be the CEO and Founder of the startup but you’re nothing without a talented bunch of employees to pitch ideas to you.
The balkanisation that is created by dividing a business up into separate office silos means that employees are not motivated or encouraged to come forward with solutions and ideas. Keep your startup open and receptive to the thoughts and input of everyone who works for you. A startup can trip itself up if it becomes obsessed with trying to determine who should report to who.
They fail to create a viable marketing plan
No one is going to discover your app / product or business unless you develop a viable means of publicising it and building a successful route to market. Your marketing strategy for your startup should be detailed and multifaceted. It is strongly recommended that prior to beginning your publicity campaign, that you fully research and understand your target market. Identify who they are and begin to discover ways of communicating with them.
It begins with a press release of course and the development of a relationship with the media, be they bloggers, popular YouTubers, journalists and industry analysts. There are thousands of apps in the App Store that are seriously underrepresented, forgotten about or never found. A lot of Silicon Valley startups are beginning to realise that having a celebrity endorsement can be a great way of generating exposure of their product. This is something that a founder must discuss with their financial benefactors, shareholders and VCs prior to launch.
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