There are so many mistakes businesses make, but below is a 2018 sneak peak into what I believe are the top 4 biggest mistakes businesses make and what to avoid, when it comes to starting and managing their business.
Avoid These Mistakes Businesses Make in 2018
1. Not Understanding Your Value Drivers
As a business, it is important to understand your value drivers. Basically, the values and unique value proposition that drives your business every single day. If you can’t answer these questions in a split second, then you fall into the category of mistakes businesses make. Knowing what makes your business truly unique gives you a competitive edge.
Example: We are truly unique because: “We have an abundance of deep technical know-how, combined with a strong empathy for the user. We’ve been working together for years, and building great products is in our blood.”
Tip: Make a list in 2 minutes of your top 3 value drivers and see how they align with your mission and vision. Is this clear on your website? Tell a stranger the story around your unique value proposition and why you are different. In other words, if you can convince them to ‘buy’ from you in your elevator pitch, this is a job well done. Be sure this is clear on your website as well.
2. Building Too Much, Too Soon
Many companies embraced ‘lean’ a little too late, and their original minimum viable product (MVP) wasn’t “lo-fi” enough. Ultimately, companies who build too much, too soon, often find that they could have easily disproven some of their hypotheses with less work overall. It is important to have a basic strategy in place, simplify the concept and build something to test. Do this in short bursts quickly.
Strategy is … “We’re driven to build products that people love to use. We want people to love what we make, and have people who talk to us say, “I love that product!” Making things that make people’s lives better: that’s our world domination strategy.”
Tip: Once you have a idea for a new business or new product, start small. Test a very basic version with a few of your core audience members and get continuous feedback on how your product can better meet their pain points and help solve their problems. Then, continue to edit, tweak and pivot until you have a product worth launching.
3. Being Inflexible
The biggest hurdle many businesses overcome is taking a step back from their products to see what the positive and negatives are. Some businesses are completely tied to their brand, packaging, and image. Moving away from their products into something new is a huge challenge. There’s always that urge to just stick with it, as they think maybe things will turn around. Or because their vendors and employees like it, they think this is the end all be all. It’s the eternal optimism of the entrepreneur.
Overall, mistakes that businesses make are that they stay “stuck”. They don’t innovate and create. This is when competition sneaks their way in and wins.
Tip: While it’s hard to kill something you’ve put your passion into, sometimes, it ends up being the right thing to do. Stay flexible and open.
4. If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It
Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured, gets managed”. Therefore, it is important to be respectful and cautious with numbers. If we measure the wrong thing, it will be hard to manage and get the information you need. Watch out for information obesity and don’t just vacuum up all the data you can, as what you measure will lead to what you manage.
Example: Let’s say you have a dating service. If you are tracking membership (how many per month), ask yourself if that really correlates to your mission and goal. Is your goal to create members? Or is your goal to inspire people to create lasting relationships? What is the actual change you are trying to produce in your customers life? And how do you best get at that?
Even if your metrics are imperfect and messy, this can be an indication that you are on the right track. Especially when measuring human behavior.
Tip: Make sure what you measure and manage is directly tied to the results you want to achieve.
Piece of Advice
Give more than you get. Remember you’re not just building a product – you’re building relationships. Remember, your website is a reflection of who you are as a business. It is important to make the best first impression. You can do this by avoiding the mistakes businesses make above. Incorporate compelling graphics, videos, engaging content, and calls to action that help tell your story about how your business is unique, and how your value drivers set yourself apart.
Take the time to help and share whenever and wherever you can. Give more than you get, and everything works out in the end. Your efforts will make a positive impact in the long term!.
Tip: A great book is The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries.