Starting a new business is exciting! Business owners are typically energized by the new challenges and the prospect of success—but it’s also the time when serious lapses in judgment are made. And while there isn’t a full-proof strategy to find success as a startup company, many of these dangerous mistakes can easily be avoided. Below is a list of common marketing blunders new businesses make and what your startup should do instead.
Assuming an idea will go viral
Many entrepreneurs think, “My business plan is so innovative and unique, the minute I start marketing it, it’s bound to go viral!” However, the odds are not in your favor. It’s important you spend serious time strategizing “how” and “why” customers are going to discover and share your brand.
Wasting time and resources trying to achieve perfection
It’s difficult to embrace uncertainty, and many entrepreneurs make drastic changes to their business’ name, branding and/or website shortly after its launch. However, trying to achieve perfection in the early stages of your business is waste of your budget. At this point, you are still molding your business plan, and you don’t fully understand your customers. Don’t spend additional time or money tweaking your brand until you truly understand how your product/services fit within your market.
Not knowing who your target market is
While in the process developing your business plan, you likely had a vision of who your services and/or products would be benefiting…but what if your assumptions are flat out wrong?
Even longtime organizations, like the U.S. Marine Corps, have been known to make this mistake. Several years ago, the Marine Corps launched a new program called Forte Strong that assisted young men who were having trouble leaving home due to social anxiety, video game addictions, and other similar issues. The Marine Corps’ marketing strategy and web content were designed to attract and appeal to the young men who would benefit from the program. However, the effort was a complete failure because they were targeting the wrong audience. The Marine Corps learned their target demographic should have been the young men’s mothers who were financially supporting their sons. The Marine Corps has since adjusted its strategy, and the Forte Strong site provides more effective messaging, including testimonials from the Marines’ mothers.
As a startup business, it’s imperative you conduct research to determine who your customers are and what makes them tick.
While it’s important to be aware of how your competitors are branding themselves and marketing, successful businesses take it to the next level and develop strategies on “how to do it better.” Many startup businesses, however, get caught up in trying to imitate their biggest competitors. This will result in customers growing weary of hearing the same message and tuning you out. Even if your competitor’s business is larger and has been around longer than your startup, your business can likely provide customers value in ways your competition cannot. The key to your success is focusing on your startup’s competitive advantage and differentiating yourself from the competition.
Refusing to delegate
As a new business owner, your time is valuable! Don’t make the common entrepreneurial mistake of “trying to do everything.” The second your budget allows it, offload the tasks in which you are inexperienced (like marketing) to an expert!
Whether your business is big or small, old or new, creating a compelling brand strategy is important, but never easy—and that’s especially true for startups! There isn’t a “secret sauce” for creating a successful campaign, but avoiding these blunders will keep you from poisoning your new business’ opportunity to build brand trust and excitement!