The start-up era has begun. They change the world, stimulate imagination, teach to experiment and reach out of the box.
When you run a start-up, you cannot be afraid of risks. You must fight. However, running a start-up, especially at the beginning, you may make some mistakes, the results of which are easy to predict.
Needlessly spent money and a lot of effort put just so you can figure out that Your idea was a miss, can quite successfully cure you from the urge to try again.
It would be a pity if the lack of proper knowledge and experience prevailed over your ideas, passion, diligence and dedication.
That is why we begin the “Advice for start-ups” series. And because the most important this is to avoid mistakes, although it is obviously impossible to eliminate them entirely, let us start with an answer to the question: What should start-uppers never do?
Do not copy the competition
Indeed, it is worth to know what the competition is doing, but the strategy of action must be based and outlined on your ideas. If you observe the market, as it is crucial for the product to be a good idea, have your own thoughts and your product has been equipped with tools the market is missing, stay on the chosen path. Maybe the clients need time to become aware of existence of your product. However, if it turns out that functions you fitted your product with are not in demand, if you failed to measure the customers’ interest well enough – you need to leave the chosen path. But even then do not parrot ideas from the competition. Give features to your product, which clients expect and which the competition did not notice. Start-up is no less but attempts and challenge. Talk, learn why companies refuse to use your “genius” product. If you discover your mistakes on time, you can respond to the market demands. It will not be a step back. To the contrary, if the client expects specific features from your product, which you did not implement in it, you cannot stick to false assumptions. Focus on details. Do not copy the competition. This is the exact case where pivot is justified. Do not be afraid to experiment, but remember: keep observing.
Do not waste too much time looking for money
They say that gentlemen do not talk about money, but clearly, if you have an idea, you also think about financing it.
First of all, get used to the insecurity that will accompany you until you achieve success on the market. Eric Ries, guru of innovativeness, defines as follows: “A start-up is a human investment developed with creation of new products or services in mind in conditions of extreme insecurity”.
The money will come eventually if your ideas is truly worth it. Many funding opportunities for innovative business ideas are also provided by the EU funds.
However, do not succumb to the pressure of seeking money. Devise a product, perfect it, observe the market demands, so you can make coin on that.
Do not ignore any, even the smallest customers
It so happens that the start-up founders, hoping for quick profit, ignore minor customers. Waiting for big orders, they miss on small developing companies.
However, what if you fail to sign a contract with a big company? Remember that, according to studies, Polish customers are demanding and aware. Ignored by your business, he or she will go to the competition.
Besides, those smallest clients are the ones to notice benefits of using your product in their company the fastest. They will wait for another one, trust you, make sure that the information concerning the new product will make its way on their websites, FB or flyers, because they want to convince their own customer that they are investing in a developmental company.
For this to happen, you need to have a good product, which is clear, but you must also guarantee unique experience in contact with your start-up to the customer, show interest in their real needs. A “cared for”, well-treated customer will give you feedback on your product. A permanent bond will be created, the customer will stay with you and will be motivated to make further purchases.
Do not wait until the product is ready
“Running business with no advertising is like winking to a girl in the dark. No one, except us, knows what we are doing.” – Stuart Henderson
Presenting your product too early or too late on the market, underestimating the demand for it – all this creates losses for the company. Both in terms of finances and image. Thus, an in connection with the next point of our elaboration on What start-uppers should never do, you must first make sure that there is a market demand for your product. Even Shakespeare in his most famous invocation “To be or not to be”, proved that man prefers what he knows and understands from what is new or unknown. Even if the novelty proves to be better for him. That is natural. We are used to the product, we know its strong and weak sides, so it seems that we control it. This gives us an advantage and pushes away in time the spectre of introducing novelties use of which has to be learnt. Therefore, the best solution is not to wait until the product is ready, but research the readiness of the recipients to accept it.