Three Mistakes Start Up Businesses Make
By Sapna Shahani
At the time of writing this blog post, I have consulted around 70 businesses. Many of them are start ups operating in Goa and many also operate nationally. So I thought I would jot down some of the mistakes I think many people make in their businesses. From small to large companies, many people make the same mistakes. Here are some of them, which will hopefully save you from falling into the same pit falls.
Not writing a business plan:
One of the biggest failures of our education system in India is not churning out people comfortable with writing. So when we grow up and start up businesses, we’re also afraid of writing business plans. Most people think this is some numbers game that a chartered accountant needs to spin out for the sake of investors. But I have learned from my own experience how useful it is to visualize your start up business a few years down the road. It also helps to think about opportunities and challenges beforehand and articulate how you will navigate hurdles on paper.
Not doing market research:
As a marketing company, we often have to ask our start up clients who is their target market, ideal customer, how have they worked out pricing, etc. And it surprises me how few people do market research to get evidence to test their assumptions about the market. We have undertaken market research to understand customer’s flavour preferences, outlet location preferences, pricing, attitudes and perceptions. And most of the time, we discover a trend in the response people give you that would determine the direction for your product or service, as well as your marketing.
Not investing in branding:
The world is increasingly visual and branding focused. The millennial generation is attracted to attractive logos, punchy taglines and sincere storytelling. It’s hard to summarise what a company is about in a way that also sells a product or service and so, it’s important to invest in a person or agency that can help you distill your core message and represent that in a ‘brand bible’ along with your logo, colour palette, fonts, etc. It’s also important to get professional designers in to create your logo, etc. We all like to think of ourselves as designers but when owners get too attached to the unattractive logos they’ve designed, it’s a problem.
The list could go on, but I will continue in other posts. For now, I hope I have communicated that if you put some thought in up front, create a good match between the market and your offering, and tell a compelling brand story, you will need to invest less in marketing and have the main elements to push word-of-mouth, which I believe is the strongest kind of marketing.