Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Starting your own business is a major achievement, but is never easy. If you consider the failure rate for new businesses, it is very alarming. The biggest cause of new business failure is marketing, or lack thereof. Here are some of mistakes to avoid when starting and running your business.
1. Don't assume that you know what your consumers want and need.
Your assumptions on what you offer your consumers vs. what they need and want will not always be the same. It's human nature to let your emotions, ego, judgement, opinions, biases, and even years of experience being an industry player drive your decisions about the products and services you give. For example, if you love a certain product and decide to make a business of it, you may easily assume that potential consumers will love it as much as you do. If you fail to do your consumer research adequately, you may end up investing time and money into a product or service that won't have the desired uptake.
As a key decision-maker in your marketing activities, you need to always remember to take a step back and look at things through your consumers' eyes. Test your prices, offers, ideas etc. to gauge the acceptance. Do your research and understand what your market wants and needs.
2. Unfocused marketing efforts
Not everybody is your target audience. For that reason, you shouldn't try and reach every single demographic through all the platforms and media you know. Instead, take time to determine your product and service positioning, and the profile of consumer you will targeting. Be where they are, and communicate to them in a way that resonates with them.
From there, you can create clear and SMART goals or KPIs that you can use to determine whether you are getting a return on investment.
3. Absence of a consumer journey map
With the internet, today's consumer has global options. Alternative products and services similar to those you offer are a click and tap away. The experience that your consumer has, from the moment when they interact with your brand to the end, can be summarised in a consumer journey map.
Understanding your consumers' journey allows you to be able to make changes necessary to improve it. These days, a satisfied consumer is not enough, they need to be involuntary advocates for your brand. Improving and optimising this journey can set your business apart from others in your industry.
Provide avenues for your consumers to reach you in order to express their satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Implement the right metrics to listen to your consumers' voice throughout their interactions.
Understand what each metric means and how it feeds back to your consumer journey and consequently the impact it has on the consumer experience.
Mistakes are inevitable in all situations. You are human after all. Wherever possible, hire experts, consultants or get a mentor. Also, always remember to review your activities and learn from what went well and what didn't. This will make your processes and solutions richer.