• How to Avoid the 5 biggest mistakes that every startup makes.

    Are you setting up a business? 

    Starting a new company is never easy and there are a lot of steps that you must follow if you want your business to succeed. I’ve seen many business owners and friends failing because they fell under some of the most common traps. The good news is that you can avoid these traps. In this article I am going to show you what these traps are and how to avoid them.

    1. You think your idea is unique and amazing.

    Let me tell you something that may disappoint you a bit, it’s very very likely that the idea you had for your business is not unique and there’s already someone offering the same services or products that you want to provide. The good news is that if you research and analyse your competition properly, you will be able to be unique and beat them. 

    When analysing your competitors don’t forget to look at their:

    • Online presence (social media)
    • Website (do they have a good website? It is fast? Is it responsive?)
    • SEO (are they ranking on the search engine sites?)
    • Local Listing (are they ranking on google maps?)
    • Reputation Online (what do their customers say about their services and products)

    The list is long and we could spend hours writing and discussing about competition analysis, although these are the most important topics that you should consider when analysing your competition. After carefully analysing your competition you will be able to understand what their weaknesses and strengths are, and that will guide you to start working on your business. 

    2. You pick the incorrect name for your business. 

    This is the most common mistake that startup entrepreneurs make and it’s the easiest one to avoid. First let me tell you this, mixing up your partners name to come up with your company's name is not as brilliant as you think, or using your initials may not really work as well as you think. Naming is a very important step when starting up a business, as the name will be the face and the hearth of your company. I’ve seen a lot of good business ideas to fail because of a poor name choice. 

    There are a couple ways to avoid choosing the wrong name for your company:

    If you have a high budget:

    Hire an expert / company with experience in naming and be part of the process

    If you have a low budget:

    • Be ready to write a lot of nonsense names and always ask for feedback, be ready to give up on a name if you start getting negative feedback. (specially from your audience)
    • It’s very important that you set goals to your business and understand what your strengths are. 
    • Choose and write down keywords that describes your business, services and products.
    • After writing down these keywords go further and write similar words to the ones you just picked. 
    • Think outside the box, don’t stick with the normal keywords, be creative. 
    • If you are setting up a local business, pick keywords that means something to your audience
    • Adding X or Z at the end or beginning of your company name still work in some cases, but be careful, it’s more likely that it will sound stupid rather than cool. 

    Again this is a very interesting topic and we could spend hours talking about methods to name your company, so if you want to read more about ‘NAMING’ here is a very interesting about the 8 Mistakes To Avoid When Naming Your Business 

    3. Your marketing strategy is non existing. 

    This mistake along with the one we just described are definitely the most common ones, and again they are the easiest to avoid. When I say marketing strategy I am not just talking about how you are going to advertise your services or products to your future clients, I’m talking about the very beginning. 

    When setting up your company you must consider hiring an expert to do the following for you: 

    • Design your logo (You can even get it through a freelancing platform such as: 99designs, Freelancer or Fiverr, but be careful, you can’t never tell if the designer you hired is being 100% transparent with you, I've seen cases where the designer copied the logo from someone else and changed the name just to make it look like he had designed it himself. 
    • Design your website (I would recommend hiring a experienced web design company for this one)
    • Work on your website’s SEO optimisation (same as above)
    • Work on your company’s marketing strategy (ads / social media and all the rest)

    4. Be smart about money and don’t underprice or overprice your services / products.

    During all these years working with Internet Marketing and startups I’ve noticed that most of the business owners still don’t know how much they should charge for their services / products. 

    A couple years ago I asked a friend of mine that had just set up his business to send me a spreadsheet with a price list of his services, and I honestly almost fell from the chair when I got the pdf from him, the prices were so overpriced that I couldn’t understand where he got those numbers from. 

    Guys, let's be realistic here, if you have just set up your business you can’t simply start charging more or the same that your competitors are charging. I’m not asking you to underprice your services but you must be realistic about how much you are going to charge and how much they will actually pay for your services / products. Be smart! Sometimes the business world can be a bit nasty and unfair but you must play along. 

    5. Make your business visible to your customers. 

    The keyword here is ‘Branding’. One of the first rules when setting up a business is that your company will always be under the radar unless you start advertising it, so don’t forget that your clients don’t know about your business until you tell them. It’s like you are under the radar and you have to make a move so your clients can notice that your company exist. Social media marketing is a great method that will help you to increase your company’s online presence.

    I hope this article helps in your new journey and remember that you can’t start a business without first doing good research about your competition, having a good business network and stabilising a realistic budget. Good luck!