Posted on: Tuesday 28 September, 2021
Have you ever thought about starting your own business? You are not alone. We understand that following your desire to start a business from scratch could be challenging and risky. Therefore, we compiled a list to help you figure out the common mistakes made by entrepreneurs at the beginning of their journey, and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not Planning Ahead
Planning can act as an infrastructure that lays a strong foundation for your business to grow. Most entrepreneurs begin with excitement and optimism believing that they will succeed no matter what, but taking the time to think about your values, mission, vision, and services and carefully constructing your steps will help you, not just build a successful business- but, also maintain it.
Take this real-life example:
Have you ever wondered how “WUZZUF” made it from bootstrapping to a $7.1 million funding?
The secret was that the founders were always prepared. As a startup, WUZZUF has struggled the first few years after its launch back in 2011. The founders pitched the idea to over 100 investors in Egypt, but they had little luck. Then, they got a chance to travel to Amman, Jordan- and pitch the idea to the 500 startups accelerator founder, where they got accepted and could land the funds to upscale.
The founders were lucky because they vividly planned ahead, and were well prepared for unexpected opportunities. In an interview with Egyptinnovate, Ameer Sherif, one of WUZZUF’s founders, stated: “We were very lucky. But then again, you create your own luck by persevering and working hard.”
That is why we see that a well-adjusted business plan is necessary to foresee future opportunities and problems that might put your business at risk.
Mistake #2: Take too Long to Plan and Launch
Setting deadlines and milestones for your business is crucial. Yes, it is important to take your time with the planning process- but taking too long is not a good thing either. Even though we are urging you to have a well-constructed plan, the key is to get out there and get feedback from real consumers who are genuinely interested in your product. In short, you do not have to have a perfect plan to launch.
So initially, set a timeframe for the planning, and always remember “it’s better done than perfect”. After planning, you could seek investment or incubation programs; you could even start executing and launch a demo version for your family and friends to give you their honest feedback.
Gathering feedback from potential customers could be beneficial to your business in the long run, as it could assess one or more of the following:
- Pricing: pricing your product could be tricky, it could easily be overpriced or underpriced, so watch out.
2. Service Features: making sure that your product has most of the features that the customer requires is a necessity.
3. Measuring Customer Satisfaction: how much the customers like your product directly indicates whether it’s going to be successful or not.
Mistake #3: Not Researching your Competition
Starting out, you might believe that your startup idea is one of a kind and that you do not have any competitors. However, the presence of competitors in the market could help you validate your business idea and analyze the market needs easier.
Thinking you do not have any competitors could mean one of two things:
(1) You do have competitors in the market, but you’re unaware of them, which shows a lack of preparation, and planning and could cost your business a lot in the long run.
(2) You might not have any primary competitors, but you should still research some secondary or tertiary ones. However, if you have done everything in your power and you still can’t find any competitors, then you need to ask yourself, is the problem I’m trying to solve widespread enough to be worth creating a business to solve?
Mistake #4: Neglecting Marketing
Regardless of the nature of your business, you need to take marketing into account if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. Good marketing helps your business reach your niche customers, which will help you receive useful feedback early on. Some entrepreneurs don’t see the importance of customers’ feedback, but getting feedback from your customers and clients could act as a catalyst for your growth as you’ll be able to improve your strengths, tackle your weaknesses, and understand your customer’s expectations.
When you’re starting out, it could be hard for you to afford expensive marketing. In an article on entrepreneur.com, the author vividly discussed 9 low-budget marketing strategies that every startup can afford. The strategies included referrals, news releases and news features, social media marketing, email marketing, personal branding, content marketing, SEO, and more.
Mistake #5: Following The Trend
Staying updated and on top of viral trends is essential, as it shows an awareness of what the market requires and needs.
Recently, startup owners and new entrepreneurs have been so focused on creating tech-based startups to contribute to the automation era that we live in. However, the constant need to make a tech-based business could over-saturate the market, making it harder for the startups to succeed. Rather than focusing on technological-based startup ideas, think about real-life problems that need a solution, and make your startup based on that.
“Technology is important and makes life much easier, I believe in that so deeply, but we do not all have to make tech-based startups, I find it more essential to try and make startups in other fields including agriculture,” Muhammed Ashraf, the founder of Cantina, told NilePreneurs.
In conclusion, there are many mistakes any new entrepreneur is prone to make. But being aware of these mistakes could help you avoid them, and have a successful startup with a strong foundation.
Looking for guidance through your entrepreneurial journey? Check out our available opportunities in NilePreneurs Incubate.