Being an entrepreneur myself, i have been a part of many organizations. Started working as one of the founding member to many small organizations or #STARTUPS as most of us refer it at the age of 14. And i have learned through my personal experiences, that a startup that is lacking human-ness will die/fail.
Now, there is no doubt in the saying that Unless and until you fail, you cannot ever sense the real taste of success, and it is true. I personally have worked on many things, nothing that survives today, but those experiences, and those learning helped to craft a master piece named mYwindow which in just 6 months went from $0 to $300,000 in Gross sales. That was 10% day on day growth. Also i became film maker before even i knew what enterpreneurship was. We made lot of short films and documentaries and reached $30,000 revenue through corporate projects in that too.
Now it didn’t happen overnight. And there are many things that helped us reach that mark, But what i wanna tell you today the normal mistakes the entrepreneur do while starting up:
- Under estimating and overlooking the Users Intelligence.
- Ignoring the competitions. (& always saying that we are very different from these guys, and we are the 1st of our kind)
- Spending way too much (Time & Money Both) on non productive tasks.
- Checking emails every hour and mailing investors the Business Plan. (Always Pitching to Investor and not to USERS)
- Focusing too much on user acquisition and completely ignoring the user retention!
Under estimating and overlooking the Users Intelligence
This is one of the most common mistakes that young entrepreneurs make, they overlook the problems and bugs of their platform and consider that the user will never figure it out. But they forget the most important point, which is, while looking for the early adopters, the community that is going to try your product first, are the ones that are building new amazing Products . They are on your platform just to try it out and find mistakes, for god shucks they are early adopters, what do you expect? They are the ones that can spread good words about you on other platforms.
If you want to ignore these words, go ahead, i am not stopping you, but People are People, they will only try a service if someone else is recommending it to them. And the one recommending it is close one. And if you are still not caring about it and still over looking minor flaws, the ones that will come for the first time, will never return.
And this is how your product will fail, No Users talking good about you. I understand that as a startup you have to ship fast, but that doesnot mean that you ship every shit that you crap out. Ship a Shippable product.
Ignoring the competitors
One of the most under-rated tasks while starting up is analyzing the competitors. Unless and until you don’t land a human on mars yourself, everything that you build will have a parallel competition. Period.
Startups & specially founders tend to overlook this and focus on building something that is extremely similar to what already exists. This is one of the biggest reason why most of the startups never take off from the ground.
Analyzing your competitor will help you find an opportunity that he missed and is unsolved. Then there is a window where you can capitalize, create and succeed.
Spending way too much on non productive tasks
The realm of building something cool is so addictive that you often forget what was the vision on which your company was started. You will often find yourself spending way too much time on just scrolling the web or a tech journal. It is important to stay connected to the ecosystem, but spending hours on such blogs is simply pointless unless and until it is your business.
Entrepreneurs often spend a lot of money on fancy fantasies like tech gadgets and irrelevant internet ads and subscriptions. whereas they should be spending that amount on culture of the startup and on the people that are building that startup. It will be much more productive to do that than to spend that time/money on irrelevant and non productive things.
Checking emails and the Business plan bullshit
This is one shit i will pray everyone of you get rid of. I mean checking email every hour is not going to help you scale your startup (Interacting to your users will). It only consumes your time and there is nothing so amazing in it. Nothing extremely important will land up on your inbox, as extreme important tasks are and will be done on phone/skype or personal interactions. So get over it. Check it once or twice a day (Unless you are running an email campaign to which people are going to reply, just ignore checking the inbox every now and then).
The business plan bullshit is also one of the startup killer that you need to stay away from. You obviously have to have numbers clear in your minds about what is the market size and how much you will tap in first month and the first year. But creating business plans and mailing it to investors will only consume hours and hours of work or even days to do that. Investors will ask for a deck and then you will do a follow up etc., its all shit, just focus on building a super kickass startup that solves a genuine problem and people will come to you with a cheque and no one will ask for a business plan.
Focusing too much on user acquisition and forgetting user retention
Let me explain that,when we start working on something which we think is huge and can make an impact on the industry (Every Entrepreneur thinks this way about his startup :P), we set out certain goals and, milestones which are actually good for a startups growth. They make out a potential customers/users list, target market entering plans, investor decks, etc., And get down to User acquisition mode (which i call Bullshitting 101 Mode) and focuses all their energy on it. Now the way it turns into an earthquake is, they start investing in wrong areas, like Ads, promoted content, events, etc., which are good only when you have a remarkable presence, But they forget that fact about those first adopters of your service, those early Beta users of yours, should be the one offered with rewards, rewards of gentleness, regular interactions, caring. All these things can create a lasting impact to that one user who will spread out word about your product and service.
Now consider, all your potential users, are on social media (On Facebook/twitter/pinterest, & if 14 to 21 years old id your target, then they area at Snapchat/Instagram/Vine) and are interacting with each other. Now imagine the potential of this thing, if your potential users are interacting to each other, they can be probably be interacting about our products and services. This is how a thing spreads, this is how word of mouth comes to play, so to be able to come in a state you need to give these users on social media a reason to speak about you.
And this is where i say, this is the time to stop focusing on user acquisition (As it is all mapped, you can do it anytime), and start to concentrate all your attention to users retention.
So how should one do the ‘Retention’ thing?
Its very simple, stop marketing, start interacting.
A regular interaction with every user or every top user will help you build a strong base. Don’t expect things to be like rocket ship, things will take time. So its better to build relationships than Customer list.
As you build great relationships with your early users, they will not hesitate to spread a word about your product and services on other networks and in their community. And this is what word of mouth is, this is how the real things spread.
So lets stop Bullshitting everywhere, stop spamming for sometime, start interacting, start building relationships with your users, early users, late users. Build a great product.
Lastly, if you think this article was worth your time, reward it with a recommendation and also look out for this space as something very cool is on the way.