So you saved up enough capital for your startup and have a great product/service in mind for your new venture.
You are ready to dive head-first into the world of business. You are enthusiastic and full of energy, motivated and with steadfast belief in your product or service.
Unfortunately the world of business is not a calm ocean in the Caribbean, so you better come prepared before it all burns down.
1. You Put All Your Resources Into The Product/Service
Having a great product or service is a blessing. It solves about 50% of all business-related problems for a startup.
But there is something to be said about over-engineering and over-producing your service or product. You have to decide when it is fit for purpose, when you reach “good enough” before you burn through all your resources making the product.
Our world today is mostly noise. Your feeds are filled with thousands of messages, posts and advertisements vying for your attention.
How are your potential clients going to find your product or service? How will they discover it is actually as great as you made it?
The number one failure of startups and even small businesses is not having any resources left after the product launches. They expect immediate results, after all the product is fantastic and everyone should be using it over the competition. And they need the sales NOW because they have run dry.
Well your potential customers don’t know you or your product yet, no matter how great it is initially, it’s not going to immediately sell.
Sure, a great product/service is going to almost sell itself, but word of mouth is SLOW. And if you spent all your resources on the product, you will run out of time before it can generate revenue.
2. Your Entire Marketing is Producing Collateral
Lets say you were smart and you didn’t spend all your money on just the product. You thought ahead, you will need some kick-ass marketing assets and a platform!
Great, so you hire a design studio to make a website, take photos of your product, create mock-ups of your service and maybe create a short explainer video. You are set, you slap that on the website and post every social media platform imaginable. You’re proud. You exclaim enthusiastically “WE ARE HERE!”
And you get 120 views with 1 click to your website that bounces off.
What could have ever gone wrong?!
The thing with social media is that it’s great once you have a big following, but not when you just launch your startup. Nobody knows you yet, and your own network likely already knows that you are launching. Yeah they might check it out, but the probability of getting traction from your own private network is small.
Think about it, is your mum going to buy a B2B service solution?
To get the reach you need you need to have a budget for media-spend on ads. You have to reach thousands if not millions of people that might buy your product to get them interested. And social media is just the tip of the iceberg since you didn’t invest in marketing your site, or SEO, you don’t get organic traffic because your keywords are all over the place.
Having this go around your private network or work-groups is likely to just waste the resources you spent on the collateral leaving you burned out.
Look, realistically chances are you aren’t going to be the next viral hit.
3. You Don’t Have Defined Goals And Don’t Measure
But you are not one of those schmucks above.
You got your house in order before you made this, you budgeted in a media-spend and design/production. Now nothing will stand in your way to sell your product and be one of the successful startups!
Verily, arrest thy equines!
Did you actually define your target audience? Do you know who you are speaking to, on which platform and with what marketing-asset? Did you research media-spend in your vertical and for your audience? Do you have customer personas that define with precision who is going to buy your product?
Ads are shark-infested waters.
There are only so many ads that can be displayed and you are competing with all the other companies on spend and efficacy! If your target is the average 30 year old nerd, even if you don’t produce nerd-stuff in the same vertical, you are competing with the likes of Marvel or Apple. It’s the same audience you are trying to reach.
If you don’t have defined your goals you will go so broad that your paltry marketing budget can’t possibly out-spend the giants. You might as well just flush your money down the drain.
On the other hand, precision strikes cost less and make sure you are optimizing for your audience.
But how would you know? You don’t measure your marketing success either.
You throw things onto Facebook and don’t look at analytics. You don’t release different ad versions with different copy to calibrate your messaging towards your audience either.
Famous last words: It’s going to be FINE!
Yeah, no, 0.1% CTR up or down is actually huge.
Any Last Words?
“Wow this sounds like a lot of work.”
Yeah, it is. If it was easy it wouldn’t be worth having. Don’t despair though, this is all doable, people have done it and will continue to do it as long as there are entrepreneurs and startups.
My advice here is this: If you don’t have the above, you aren’t ready to launch.
Take more time, build more resources, get venture capital, take a loan, learn marketing. Whatever it takes.
If you do and still think this is too much work, hire some professionals to do it for you.
Also published on Medium.