Good News! Based on historical data over 214,000 new businesses will be started this year. More good news. The odds are in your favor to make it past the first year! Bad news is only 50% will be around in 5 years.
Having personally bootstrapped 3 businesses, I have made a few mistakes along the way. It is very likely you will also. You will survive making multiple mistakes as long as you learn from them. Even better, learn from the mistakes of others.
5 Big Mistakes New Businesses Make
1- Failing To Identify Your Ideal Client
This is a common problem for many businesses. Who is the perfect fit for your product or service? Particularly at startup, you most likely have limited funds for marketing. This makes it extremely important to clearly understand your ideal client so you precisely target your marketing. Check out this article A Surefire Way To Find Your Ideal Client Or Customer from Be Visible. Once you have identified your ideal client, then you can segment them into Buyer Personas. Buffer has a helpful article on creating Buyer Personas. You can also download our Free ebook on How To Create Buyer Personas.
2- Not Having A Business Plan
You have heard the adage: "Businesses don't plan to fail. They fail to plan". A business plan allows you to clearly articulate where you fit in the marketplace, understand the competitive marketplace, your management structure and marketing approach. A well written business plan not only increases you success rate it is crucial if you are looking for venture capital or traditional loans. Surprise! You have already paid for this service.
The SBA- Small Business Administration provides FREE business planning tools as well as ongoing support. Click here for free business planning tools from the SBA. You can receive additional support through SCORE, Small Business Development Center, Women's Business Center and Veterans Outreach Business Center. These are great resources to connect to others that have been there and done that.
3- Thinking Professional Graphic Design Is Too Expensive
Unless you have received training in graphic design, it is best to leave this to the professionals. If you do not know when a PDF, JPEG or png is the proper format or what it means for a image to be vectorized, you need to hire a professional. A common mistake is to take a graphic and just resize it. Big mistake. This can morph the proportional aspects of an image.
Don't know how to hire a graphic designer?
Look at samples of their work. Different designers will have different styles. Take your time in the review process. If they don't ask you a ton of questions, they will not be a good fit.
Expect questions like: Describe how you fit in the marketplace? What makes you different? What is your unique value proposition? What is the message you want to convey? Who is your target audience? Do you want graphic and text? Describe the demographics of your ideal client? What other companies logos do you like? What is your budget? Is this for your website, print, social media or all of the above?
Something that appears as simple as your logo design is a very important process and will take some time. A professional graphic designer will understand the requirements for different social media platforms. Don't try to do this yourself. Simply changing the size does not always work. HubSpot has an excellent article on image size for social media.
4- A Mediocre Website
Research from Google has shown that 90% of B2B researchers who are online use search specifically to research business purchases. If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you could lose 50% of your visitors. This means your website must be on point connecting to your ideal client and do it quickly.
One of the biggest challenges facing a new business is the capital expense of a website. In addition, traditional website design projects rarely stay on budget and launch on time. One of the biggest bottlenecks is the back and forth with the individual coding the website. A very simple and significantly less stressful approach is to capitalize on templates and off the shelf assets.
Platforms such as Squarepace, WordPress, Wix, GoDaddy and HubSpot offer themed templates for websites. All the coding is done behind the curtain so the end user can add content without any special coding skills required.
Services like 123rf, Shutterstock and Storyblocks offer high quality off the shelf visual assets. Canva and Venngage are also great resources for customizing off the shelf assets.
We really like the Growth Driven Design approach. This approach eliminates all the frustrations mentioned above and allows you to make continual improvements to your website. Your website is no longer static, but now becomes a continuous improvement project that you can easily modify to meet quick changes in the market. You should never think of your website as being done. Failure to adapt leads to extinction. We capitalize on the Growth Driven Design approach by providing retainer packages that include continuous improvement of your website. This eliminates a stale out of date website.
Ready to learn more about Growth Driven Design? Click the image below.
Pro Tip: Make sure you have HTTPS on your website.
5- Overvaluing and Undervaluing Social Media
Determining where social media fits in your business marketing plan is complicated. There are so many platforms to evaluate and by the time you read this a new one will be the latest & greatest.
How do you start?
Review your ideal client profile and Buyer Personas. The information gathered will provide insights into which, if any social media platforms make sense for your business. Here is a high level overview of some of the most prevalent social media platforms.
When selecting a social media platform you will need to perform extensive research to determine alignment with your business goals. Go deep into the demographic information. Does your ideal client use this platform? If it is a new platform, will it appeal to my Buyer Personas. Don't be afraid to try a platform not listed above. You may want to read How Getting More Facebook Likes Is Not A Business Strategy and Why You Should Verify Your Facebook Business Page Now. If you don't see a fit, then don't invest the resources. On the other hand, if you see a strategic opportunity with social media then move forward.
Pro Tip: Set a specific goal for social media. X posts per time frame with Y conversions by Date.
Check out this free ebook from HubSpot: How to Learn Social Media Marketing: 30 Resources for Beginners.
Avoid the 5 Big Mistakes New Businesses Make.Not sure what to do next?