Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tips For Avoiding Failure As A Start-Up Small Business

Most small businesses fail within the first few years. That's just a cold hard fact. To avoid being one of them here's some tips to consider....

Many emerging entrepreneurs make the mistake of not being specific enough in choosing a target market. They think they'll be turning away potential customers if their services are not broad enough. This also means that their vision in marketing is too broad and clouded. Lacking a specialty can come off as a lack of commitment or lack of expertise in any given service offered. You don't want to be a jack of all trades, master of none.

Once "positioning" has been determined, I found that many people make the mistake of taking on every client and opportunity that comes their way. Instead, they should be focusing on clients that they will be happy working with, fit well with the expertise they can offer, and actually appreciate what is being offered. The mistake is that they end up dealing with clients that take up all their time and do not help them grow. The focus should be on serving clients that you really want.

Also, when branding and positioning their new business, instead of trying to compete head-on with others on price and/or services, they should try to build a niche in their market and in that way not compete directly with others. Try to be the best in one area instead of being good in a lot of areas.

I think it's irresponsible to tell new entrepreneurs to do what they love and they can make a business. No, not everyone can be an entrepreneur or business owner (which are two different things). A lot of people have skill and passion but lack the technical skills to run a business. Not everyone has access to incubator programs, MBA programs or consultants, so it keeps them from getting properly educated.

The other thing I would say is that people lack confidence and are risk averse. To be an entrepreneur you have to be willing to take risks and be confident in your product/service. Before anyone launches, they should be researching their market (and no, no just reading about it, but getting out there and talking to your demographic). Once you understand where the needs are, who the customer is, and how much they're willing to pay for your solution, then you can start building a company from there. It won't be perfect out the gate, but you'll have an idea of how to build your foundation. You can learn the rest of the skills along the way, or hire your weaknesses.

Too many people start businesses without a clear set of objectives that they can measure over time. This is like shooting a bow and arrow without a target. How do you know if you are successful if you have no target?

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