Starting a new business can become a scary, tedious and frustrating situation, specially if you find yourself stuck in the preparation stage of the startup process, and for some we are talking months or even years.
So many Startups come up with such great ideas but will never never see the light as there too many factors and reasons, according to them, that is restricting them from launching. The pitfall is that someone else will eventually come up with something similar, take action and actually launch a successful and striving business and you will loose a piece of the market share if not all.
Working with many startups over the years I have learned so much about the reasons why Startups find it difficult to get their new business idea converted into a viable business concept and actually launch.
As a multi-business owner who have started over 10 successful and profitable businesses myself, I find it difficult to belief that it should take you months or that you need a lots of money before you can start your new business.
Here follows five of the most common reasons I have found why many Startups never get started and what you need to do to avoid these pitfalls.
1. The Need to Get it Perfect
Many startup Entrepreneurs try to get everything done to perfection before they decide launch – if they ever do. This can lead to an endless road to nowhere by constantly trying to tweak, change, editing and fine-tuning their business concept, website and other components.
This is nothing but a way of procrastination or an excuse to deal with a fear to launch. Why would I say that and what does it mean? – well procrastination is nothing but a way to give yourself a break that can manifest in many forms. Because of this underlying fear you try and avoid the cause of the fear by postponing the situation that might cause that fear.
It might be a fear of failure, being shown out as an amateur or not being professional, a fear of making rookie mistakes, a fear of loosing clients, not being good enough, and belief it or not there are even people that has got a fear of success and being put in the spotlight, cause they been told by their parents never to boast and brag.
Unfortunate you will have to deal with and try and sort out your personal issues that causes you to procrastinate, but there is a way you can jump over that hurdle without having to go to therapy.
Simply launch at 70% of completion or even earlier. By that stage you will have your business idea more or less sorted out, know your customer base, products and services, the solutions to their problems and some kind of an idea of the inner-workings of your business, methods and procedures.
Don’t worry too much about having it perfect at this stage as you will use your first 2 – 3 projects or customers to fine-tune the rest of the 20% as you go along sorting out the small nitty gritty issues and makings changes where needed.
What about the outstanding 10%? Well that is for implementing your marketing and branding strategies. You would want to iron out all the issues before you go big on marketing and focusing in client acquisition.
2. Getting it done Myself
Oh this one I like the best. So put yourself in this scenario and see whether you can relate to these statements made: “I can design my own logo – how hard is it to do?”, “I use a webdesign online portal with drag and drop to build my own website”, “I just download some templates or contract and tweak it a bit”, “Im gonna save some money by registering my businesses myself”, “I just read up on Google® or watch YouTube® how to do it” and so the list goes on why people think they need to develop their business and “Save Money”
Dont get me wrong – I have a good understanding of the fact that young Entrepreneur’s and Startup’s value lies in their IP of their idea and that they might not have the funds to invest in expensive business development services and yes tools have become widely available to do all these things and is downloadable for FREE.
The question is: “Why does the majority of Startups who does everything themselves takes a very long time to start, is not profitable, does not get the number of clients they want and plain simple fail?
Let me explain a couple reasons by the use of typical real-world examples.
So you’ve got this great idea that you think is the next big thing, and like most Startups you start by giving your new business a name and now have to get yourself a logo. You go online and search for something that resonate to your “brand in development”, download and try to tweak it a bit, cause you want it to look a bit different than the original right? You need software to make the changes and which one do you choose? Quickly browse on Google and after checking what the top 5 image editing programs are you download the free version, just to find that you are limited to what you can do and your logo has to go as is or you continue your search.
Finally you get the right software but now have to watch 10-minute long Youtube® videos to see how to make those changes or to apply the effect that you envision. According to you the final product is looking great but wait. Will your customers and ideal target market feel the same? To top it off you just spend 5 days leaning to become a graphic designer with the skills to stretch, resize and applying a shadow effect to your logo just to realize later that the logo is not looking so great when applying to a dark background.
The same principle applies for the rest of all the components that needs to be setup before launching your Startup – Your business letterhead, email footer, social media pages, templates and forms and the development of your website.
Taking about website development. Some platforms make it so easy for you to put together a nicely design web layout by drag and drop using available templates. Or you can download a WordPress template and follow the accompanied documentation how to make changes and build your site yourself, Of course you can custom the design to make it look unique but the main issue came when spending time writing copy that appeals to the customer and have a web design that flow and convert.
This all takes time and you can get very quickly discouraged looking at your half developed website with dummy content that links to other websites or try to edit legal documents and contracts that you have downloaded from the web.
So in an essence you try to become an expert in graphic designing, web development, copy-writing, and areas that is not your forte while spending days or even months to learn how to do it yourself while you could have get it done by experts while focusing on make the deals making up for any lost time and paying the developers that helped you to build your business.
If you want to launch your business quick – invest in getting the experts to develop it and get it done professionally.
4. Lack of Finances?
Most Startups belief that you need a lot of money to start a business and they are probably right. It all depends on the type of business and how fast you want to grow big or position yourself in the industry. But I totally disagree that you need to have money to start a business.
There are many stories out there of billion dollar companies that started out with nothing. The real question to ask is: “Do I need my own money to start a business”
When ask many Startups why they have not started one of the typical answers are: “I need money to start” or “If only have the cash”. The mistake that is made is that Startups think that they need to start with their own money or that they worst need to get a job to make money so they can start a business while having a concept or IP on which they can leverage to raise capital through individuals or companies that are willing to invest on their ideas for a percentage share in their company, profit share or a loan. If you have a great concept that is proven to be successful even on paper, you can raise the funds needed to develop your business and start generating profits to pay of your loan or sharing the profits with your investment partner. This is why you should make an effort to make sure you have a great layout and presentation of your business plan that makes sense to any investor before you even start with the development of your business.
Not having financial resources should not be an excuse not to start you business. There are many operational businesses without business cards, a website, logo or Customer Relationship Management System. Gmail® is free and should at least have a cellphone. As long as you can provide a service or product as a solution to a problem you can generate an income that can finance your business development – but Starting is key.
3. Lack of Research
Oh Boy this point is probably the main reason so many Startup’s fail before they heven’t even started. Research does not only mean opening a browser and type in some keywords to check if there is another business already out there doing the same thing you plan to implement as you new business.
Research means defining WHO you are doing WHAT for WHOM by providing VALUE as a SOLUTION to a PROBLEM and WHERE (physical or remotely)
This includes making sure you choose the correct name for your business based on your business concept and if it will appeal to the target customer and if it will be able to benefit from what you have to offer.
Having to discover who your real target market is or to find out that yours the only one that likes your business name and brand and making a lot of mistakes by not implementing your due diligence can be very costly and time consuming.
Make sure you have all your facts right and never make bold statements such as: “We are the only one” or “Everyone will use this” as it might not be the case.
Being prepared means you have all the hard evidence to present to your investors or to incorporate in your copy when compiling your business information.
Find out what is needed for your your new business to run. Have a look at your competition or similar businesses from the perspective of what can I learn from them and even do better and not trying to re-invent the wheel.
Talking about re-inventing the wheel – there are so many tools out there that can kick-start your new business by having the operational tools already available at a small monthly cost. Do not try to develop a new app or web Component that already exist just because you did not do your homework.
Compile a document with all the different aspects of your business: Your business description, target customers, products and services and specially the benefits and how it will make your customers feel emotionally, costing, operational aspects (how it works), possible staff, work space needed, tag lines, available social media hashtags and URL’s and add to your document as you do your research building a document that I call your Business Profile. From this document you will compile your content for your website and marketing material.
You might find the Research part a bit boring or tedious but is the most essential cornerstone of your business that is based on facts and knowing your numbers.
5. Getting Influenced by Others
Because you value the feedback and comments of your family and friends you find it important to consider their opinion on your new business idea. Of course you know what I am going to say right – This is your initial idea and business concept and if you are going to be influenced by every person that does not have a 100% understanding of what it is about or listening to constant negative critic you will soon turn your focus on something else or perhaps a different business idea.
You need to understand that if you are not surrounding yourself with positive, opportunistic types of people you will get a lot of criticism from Naysayers and people that do not want you to succeed due to jealousy.
This will delay the process as you will constantly make changes to your idea based on other’s opinions or even cancel the whole process.
Of course there is the opposite where you might get great feedback from people that understands the industry, business coaches or people with a background and experience in the industry.
Either way in both cases you might end up moving back and forth trying to make sense of it all ending up to doubt yourself and postpone the whole process.
My advice would be to listen to the right people first. I would rather listen to advice from successful business people in the same industry and as an Entrepreneur they will usually be more than willing to share their honest and valuable feedback. Getting advice from unsuccessful people or family and friends that might be negative or even over positive about your idea because they don’t want to hurt your feelings might not be the best thing to do.
Take home what you can from advice and verify with doing adequate Research but never get discourage by what others have to say. My rule number #1 is: “Don’t worry about what other’s think or say about you or your ideas”
Now that I have shared with you my “5 Reasons Why Startups Never Start” you have five less reasons why not to start your new business.