Running a startup might seem like an appealing prospect to a budding entrepreneur, but there are lots of things that can trip you up in your race to commercial success.
Knowing which errors are often made by other business decision-makers is the best way to avoid them yourself, so here are a few of the most common conundrums to avoid.
Neglecting Intellectual Property
Startups are usually founded because you’ve got a great idea that you think would work well as a product or service. But unless you start protecting your unique IP immediately, it could easily be capitalised upon by a better-established competitor.
It is generally sensible to keep your cards close to your chest and be careful about who you share your business concepts with in the early stages. Getting the help of intellectual property experts like Heer Law, an IP firm in Toronto, is a great idea if you want to wrangle this tricky topic without making a misstep early on in the life of your business.
Ignoring Influential Social Media Platforms
Social media offers startups an array of exciting, impactful opportunities to market themselves to their target audience and build a following without having to pay through the nose for promotion.
Of course, if you only focus your efforts on one or two platforms, you will be missing out. Take Instagram for example, which is the second largest platform after Facebook. It has a huge, engaged audience from around the globe, but if you spend more time trying to gain traction on smaller sites like Twitter, you could struggle to jump start your brand’s journey to the big time.
Poor Website Design
You probably realise that any business worth its salt needs a website, but when running a startup you might be tempted to settle for a less than ideal online presence and turn your attention to other aspects in the early days.
This is a bad idea and one which will come back to bite you. Your website needs to be the calling card for your business, conveying its ethos and presenting its offerings in a way that will capture the attention of visitors and convince them that you are worth looking into further.
A well designed website needs to be optimised for mobile use, since the majority of browsing now happens on portable devices. It should also feature unique, well written copy that will not only engage readers, but also meet Google’s strict standards for quality. Make the right decisions and your site should race up the results pages in a flash.
Not Planning for Growth
Estimates vary, but on average about 60 per cent of startups will fail before they can become fully fledged businesses with solid revenue streams and a loyal customer base. Often this occurs not because of some inadequacy in the company or its offerings, but because it is not prepared for growth.
In the age of cloud computing, it is far easier for small businesses to scale their access to IT resources as they expand, rather than being bottlenecked by something as simple as not being able to support additional users on in-house systems as more employees join the team.
With software, networking, security and other convenient platforms all available in the cloud, it is no surprise that the market is worth over $200 billion annually.
Conversely the startups which do not prepare for the kind of growth that they need to survive in the long term may find that even if they build initial interest, this cannot be sustained.