Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mistakes every start-up owner makes

The hilarious star of the spoof start-up Vooza deliberately acts dumb and promotes stupid behaviour. Witness the recent Vooza video advising budding start-up gurus to pretend to be birds.

Presumably, your start-up pursues more intelligent strategies. Still, doubtless, you commit your share of mistakes.

Here, for some serious insight into what not to do, is an audit of stuff-ups that almost every new small business owner makes.

1. Soft on sales
Not devoting enough time to sales is a particularly common and damaging start-up blunder, according to business coach Alex Pirouz.

Most business owners spend minimal time on selling, fixated on areas such as design and branding, Pirouz says. While those areas count, sales are the cure to most issues that start-ups face, he says.

The revenue yielded by sales affords you the luxury of outsourcing your workload to others, letting you focus on development. Still, Pirouz says, less than 10 per cent of entrepreneurs allot enough time to sales. That is one reason why 80 per cent of businesses fail within the first three years, he says.

2. No homework

Pirouz is also critical of entrepreneurs who take a personal hobbyhorse stance and sell their products based on what they think the market wants. They neglect to check if anyone else cares about solving the problems their products address.

Do your market research, Pirouz advises, adding that entrepreneurs no longer have the excuse that it is costly and difficult – social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook make getting feedback a cinch.

3. Hooked on novelty

Contrary to what many aspiring entrepreneurs believe, the key to start-up success is not a one-of-a-kind idea, according to Pirouz. A good idea is just a basis for a business, nothing more, he says.