It’s a well-known fact throughout the business industry that more than 50 percent of new businesses fail within the first year. The issue is that when it comes to failure, a lot of startups just don’t seem to know what they’re doing wrong. They’re following their business plan to a T, but for some reason, it just isn’t working.
As a business owner, not knowing what could potentially kill your startup is a real worry. Because if you don’t know what the main problems are for small businesses, it’s almost impossible to avoid them. It means that building a successful business can seem almost as if it isn’t doable.
To give you a better insight into what types of things tend to have the biggest negative impact on startups, we’ve spoken to the experts. Below are some of the things that have the biggest negative impact on startups, according to the experts. So, if you want to ensure that your business goes the distance, have a read and take note.
Not having a professionally designed website
Yes, by choosing to design your website yourself, you can save yourself money. However, the question that you need to ask yourself is it worth the saving that you will make? The thing is by not having a professionally designed site, your company may seem as if it lacks professionalism. In the business industry, first impressions are everything. If a potential client views your website and decides that it doesn’t look professional enough, it could impact your future. That’s why it’s so important to have your website professionally designed. What all businesses should aim for is a smart, stylish site that’s easy to use and navigate. It doesn’t have to necessarily be custom-made. However, it should be professionally designed. The good news is that thanks to website design companies like Wix and Godaddy, a professional website has never been more affordable.
Failing to have IT support
If your company’s computers go down or your website crashes, you’re not able to work. This can mean losing a whole day’s pay, which for small businesses can have a big impact. However, by having IT support in place, you can ensure that whatever happens, your business is covered. IT support is something that many startups see as being made for larger and more successful companies. However, that’s not the case – IT support can benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes. Of course, for smaller companies, having onsite IT isn’t going to be doable. Or, at least, in most cases, it won’t be. However, the good news is that there are plenty of outsourcing options for managed IT services. So regardless of the size of your company, you should be able to get adequate IT support.
Doing social media themselves
Believe it or not, putting an effective social media marketing plan in place isn’t as easy as it looks. A lot of new business owners make the mistake of thinking that they can easily do their social media themselves. However, there’s more to social media management than meets the eye. It takes a lot of planning, researching, and understanding to get social media marketing right. Which is why it’s best to use a professional service. It’s a lot more complex than many business owners think. That’s why without a professional plan in place, many businesses find themselves failing. The thing is a good social media plan can be all the marketing a business needs. However, a bad one can not only impact website traffic but can also make the company seem as if it lacks professionalism. It might be an additional cost to cover, but if you want your business to be a success, invest in your social media. It will pay off – that’s a promise!
Running out of money
One of the most common reasons new businesses fail is because they run out of money. The problem is a lot of startups don’t make an effort to manage their money effectively and instead spend as and when they want to. The issue with this is that if you’re on a budget, sooner or later your funds are going to run out. If you’re not smart about your spending, that is. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you’re wise about what you’re spending. Otherwise, you could end up running your business into the ground due to overspending. To make the process of budgeting easier, there are various financial apps that can help you. Find the app that’s most suited to you and use it to work out what money you have to spend each month, and then budget accordingly.
Failing to make marketing a priority
You could have the most incredible product or service, but if no one knows about it, your chances of success are low. Many businesses – especially startups, undervalue marketing. However, if you want your venture to have any chance of being successful, you need to ensure that you’ve got the most effective marketing plan. Social media is an incredible marketing tool. But sadly, it’s not all that it takes to effectively market your brand, products or services. In order to get the word out about your business, you need to work with a professional marketing company. So that you can put a professional and effective marketing plan in place. If money’s too tight to work with a marketing company, consider hiring an intern or college graduate instead. They may be willing to work for experience or for a lower price than most professional marketing companies. (Many graduates are keen to gain experience, so this could be worth considering as an option.)
Not offering a unique product or service
The first rule of business is to be unique. If what you are offering is too similar to what your competitors offer, you’re going to struggle to be successful. This is especially true if your competitors already run a well-established business. No matter what field you’ve chosen to start your business in, be it retail or food, you need to ensure that what you’re offering is unique. Or, at least, that is has a unique twist to it. For instance, say your business is a restaurant that sells burgers, you need to find a way to make it unique. A simple way to do this would be to offer burgers that are different to what other establishments offer. Perhaps the meats could be different, the breads, or the other fillings? It doesn’t matter which, just as long as you find a way to make what you’re offering unique. Maybe you could go gourmet? You need to get creative and think outside of the box.
Lack of quality customer service
Far too many businesses lack good quality customer service. As a business owner, customer service should always be made a priority. There’s no excuse for offering low-quality customer service. So it’s important to do what you can to ensure that your customer care is always of the very best quality. Don’t just offer what every other company does, find ways to go that step further. It’s the little things that make all the difference, you know. Such as offering live web chats for instance, or giving customers the options of callbacks instead of having to wait on hold. Many startups don’t make customer service a priority, and because of this, end up making a bad name for themselves. If you want to ensure that your business goes the difference, do whatever you can to make your brand popular with consumers.
Failing to be professional
Last but not least, a mistake that many startups make is failing to be professional. When they first launch, many business owners choose to run their ventures from home, using their home phone, address, and family PC. This might save money, but the problem with this is that you risk seeming unprofessional. Say, for instance, your child uses the computer and accidentally sends an email to a client while playing around. Or, what about if when a client rings your partner picks up the phone with a simple “Hello” instead of your normal spiel? There’s no problem with working from home – a lot of startups are run from residential homes. However, there is a problem with a lack of professionalism as it can put customers off. To ensure that your company seems professional, it’s important to keep your work and home lives completely separate. That means having a work phone and number, a laptop for working on, and also a virtual address where all of your business correspondence can be sent to. You can find companies that offer virtual addresses online. The more professional your business seems, the better.
If you want to ensure that your startup goes the distance and grows into a prosperous business, you need to take note of the advice above. Getting a business up and running isn’t always easy, but if you’re smart about how you go about, you can make a success of your venture.