Updated: Apr 21
Lets go Back to the Beginning
Are you a start up business just launching your brand on the market? If being in business is new to you, the market requirements probably often push you to your financial limits and knowledge boundaries. To establish a competitive brand or stay relevant among the market competitors you must to master a variety of disciplines & skills:
Leadership & Strategy
Now that is often impossible for a solopreneur or a freelancer to incorporate, so what is the solution?
Instead of giving up on your small business, you try and try harder… and overcome the gaps by making compromises with your business, because you don’t know better.
Compromising quality by taking random decisions without a plan is the biggest mistake you can possibly make as an entrepreneur.
Here are the 10 crucial mistakes that cost you customers:
1. Your Decisions Define Your Business Success
Decision taking is the very foundation of business development. No one has succeeded without a good strategy. This is especially important for start ups, because laying a stable foundation at the beginning is crucial to your business success in the future.
But how to make educated decisions when you don’t have enough information and you don’t possess the required knowledge?
Google Search? Sure, search engines might give you a good overview of about any burning question, but they can't make you a business expert overnight.
Take marketing professionals for example. Marketing is an interdisciplinary field of study, so marketing experts study for years at universities but become experts with the added years of market experience. You cannot possibly outgrow that academic knowledge base and added professional experience by reading several Google articles on marketing and lacking deep understanding of the market dynamics, the marketing techniques, and strategies in the first place. The variety of web resources confuses even more if there is a general lack of understanding of the researched question.
2. When you need an opinion, you need an expert
Taking care of business on your own is not a good idea, if you don’t have years of market experience or/ and a solid academic background in either business management, marketing management or similar.
If you care about your company and your customers, if you want to build a stable brand with the chance of a sustainable business development and future success, well then, your business needs genuine expertise in all areas you are not a specialist in.
3. Planing the Strategy
Structure the information you gathered, analyse your company assets and your weaknesses accordingly, then draft your business plan and organize the next steps. Planing a strategy is an interdisciplinary process encompassing all aspects of goal-oriented business development, therefore it is best to hire a professional strategist.
Strategies are constructed based on data, not on intuition. So learning how to analyse data is essential for your business, even if you are not the strategist yourself. Building hypothesis and experimenting with caution is especially important for online businesses and the eCommerce. Effectively applying the extracted knowledge converts into gold in marketing.
4. Take One Step At a Time
Develop a profound understanding of business development and all its layers.
There is no quick and easy way around the established milestones - business plan, budgeting, brand strategy, brand identity, brand guidelines, online presence, marketing strategy, etc.
Don´t rush things risking big gaps in core business, branding and marketing structures you will have to fill in later at considerably higher costs.
5. Afford Branding or Rebrand Later
Branding is the very first step of any professional marketing strategy. It is in fact the next step after registering a business. Branding builds the core of your business' public image and presentation. Therefore, it is highly recommended to use the services of a professional brand strategist, instead of experimenting on your own.
A starting company usually brings up their limited budget as the reason why they can't afford branding services, marketing strategists and business consultants to professionally shape up their business. But in reality hiring a brand strategist saves you a lot of time and money.
Rebranding your business at a later stage instread of branding in the beginning means you already lost a lot of customers. Rebranding means returning to the start and paying for every single element that is missing or displaced again. This encompasses all possible expenses, including brand name, brand logo, brand identity, website branding, packaging design, led signs, branded stationary like business cards, flyers, brochures, catalogues, shipment packaging, etc.
You may not realize how many customers you lose because of bad branding every day but at some point, rebranding will become crucial for your success and it will cost you at least the double of branding expenses you would spend at the initial stages of your business founding.
6. "I Have a Logo for $40, so I'm Done with Branding"
A brand is not a logo as it is widely assumed by non-professionals. Just as a logo for $40 is not a professional logo and if it suits the neighbourhoods' nail artist, it might not suit your company's marketing and business goals.
Your company's branding is your public business statement. It is a mirror of your business' credibility, reliability, corporate culture, and values. Would you sell out your values for $40?
7. Brand Awareness
It is striking how many internet companies still assume that creating a website and going live online is already enough for consumers to find and buy their products or services.
Before starting any brand awareness activities you need a strong brand. At best your brand is developed by a brand strategist who oversees the whole branding process and consults on the right experts to hire for the creation of each brand element. This ensures a consistent, strong and memorable brand to start gaining awareness.
8. Quality is Intangible
Even if you have the best product in the world, its quality is intangible for the consumer.
If you don't have a stable brand and aren't launching promotional campaigns most probably non of your potential customers and their network know about you. The customers have no idea how your product feels, tastes, smells or looks like until you show it off and the most important thing is how you choose to do this, because this defines the audience's perception. of quality.
9. Presence is Everything
Even if you have the worst product in the world with the right presence you can achieve initial success. Of course you should strive for the best quality possible but that first sentence shows just how important presence is for your business, it literally makes the whole game.
Presence has not only a visual but also a strong conceptual side to it, neglecting it might cause huge parts of your company's reputation. It is important to make a difference between the online and offline presence and optimize each one accordingly.
10. Saving on What is Important
Saving on truly important branding milestones will cause failure in your positioning and marketing strategy's success. Saving from professional services is the biggest mistake new business owners make, excusing themselves with tight budgets. In the end saving would mean spending more, so remember to think twice on which feathers from your budget to cut.