Mind some plain truth without flavours?
Fine, Startups can be daunting. It takes a lot of hard work to get a newly established business to stand on its feet. From the stress of having to write an effective business plan to engage in continuous planning with a secret fear of failure down to understanding your target audience, having a proper business structure and getting organized as a whole, startups have the tendency to leave you drained and wondering whether you’re doing things the right way or not. Startups are on the rise but in reality, only a few of them have the tendency to last for long.
90% of startups fail, leaving just 10% to success. According to statistics provided by the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics, a good half of businesses do not survive up to the fifth year. 20% of startups collapse within the first two years of existence. So, if your startup happens to succeed past the first two years of existence and works out in the long run, you just successfully joined the 10% of startups that get to succeed. As an entrepreneur, this is in no way meant to scare you. You only need to be conversant with the truth about startups and come to terms with reality.
Some of your expectations from startups, as wonderful as they might sound, are very far from reality. And as an entrepreneur, it is advisable to be realistic as well as set realistic goals. It is also important to note that startups constitute a larger percentage of new markets and new opportunities. Startups are responsible for the higher percentage of job growth by introducing new products and ideas. So, if you want your business to contribute to the growing market, there’s a lot of work to put in and a number of truths to be known.
In this article, we’re going to be considering:
1. Some common expectations from new businesses and the reality of it all.
2. Common mistakes to avoid when starting up a new business.
3. Characteristics of successful startups.Business Startup: Expectation Versus Reality In 2022. Click To Tweet
Expectations from Startups and the Reality of it all.
Sometimes, the excitement from having to start a new business as well as the confidence in our set goals make us have high and unrealistic expectations that might leave us burnt out when these expectations are not accomplished.
To save yourself from such stress, the goal is to be super realistic.
So, hello? It’s reality o’clock!
EXPECTATION 1: Instant success as a result of starting a new business based on passion.
REALITY: While there is much sense in following your passion as a means of achieving success, there is more to it in entrepreneurship. Most times, in entrepreneurship, it’s not just about the passion alone, there’s a brighter spotlight on what problems your product or service can serve as compared to just passion alone.
The first thing your target audience and prospective customers want to know is how your product or service can solve their problems. Most of them don’t really care about your passion for your business. To stay relevant in the market, you need to solve problems and satisfy needs with your product or service. This is not to say that passion is not needed in entrepreneurship. The deal is to solve people’s problems and satisfy people’s needs with that passion you have for your business.
EXPECTATION 2: Expecting your business to make waves because you invest all of your time in it.
REALITY: investing all your time in a startup project can easily lead to drains and burnouts. Your physical health is at stake, your mental and emotional health is also not safe. And as a result of such, a decline in productivity rate can occur. A reduction in productivity rate is in no way helpful to a startup project. It can serve as a hindrance to the success of your startup.
Although investing quality time in your startup project would go a long way in contributing to the success of your startup business, there’s more to it. The best way to make quality use of the time invested in your startup project is to identify your strength, style and what works best for you. Not everyone achieves productivity by putting in all their available time into a project. Some are prone to quick burnouts and some might just be able to get away with it.
It is advisable to plan and prioritize your goals. Use different productivity hacks and techniques to figure out how to maximize your productivity. You should also learn to take breaks in between your planning and strategizing to achieve maximum output. Learn to step back from your work. Notice the mistakes you might have made in the course of planning and execution, learn from them and develop more techniques on how to achieve more.
EXPECTATION 3: Expecting immediate success after launching a startup project.
REALITY: lol. Sorry I had to laugh. Success neither happens of a sudden nor pops out from the blues.
Expecting sudden success after the launch of a startup would only get you disappointed. The idea of overnight or immediate success after launch is just a mirage. The successful 10% of the startups you see today are all products of patience, a steady and intentional journey to success. These startups who are now successful today have had their fair share of ups and downs and were patient with their growth.
So, if you’re intentional about your growth and success as a startup, you need to be patient with yourself and your goals. Growing from a startup business to a successful company takes time. Be patient with your growth and develop effective strategies. Aim to provide people with products and services they would find difficult not to use. And always keep it in mind, that behind every huge success open to the public are hundreds of hidden failures. Therefore, as a startup, be prepared to fail.
Main point? Be patient with your growth.
EXPECTATION 4: Success from doing everything all alone without help.
REALITY: It is quite understandable that some people have independent nature. There are those who find it difficult to seek help from people. And no, it’s not even pride. Some are just naturally wired that way. When running a business, you have to get rid of your independent nature and seek help from the right source. Don’t get it twisted. It’s very okay to want to be independent but not in a new business. Whether you like it or not, you’d need help. And you shouldn’t be afraid to seek the help you need. There’s a tendency not to achieve a hundred per cent success from doing everything all alone because, in reality, no man is an island.
The major mistake entrepreneurs make when running a startup project is failing to seek counsel from those who have been in the business before. They end up making mistakes that might hinder the growth of the startup. While it is not entirely wrong to make mistakes in entrepreneurship, the fewer the mistakes, the better. It is not advisable to run a startup project all alone. Surround yourself with trusted advisors who can put you through and with whom you can discuss and share business ideas and innovations.
EXPECTATION 5: Expecting success without caring whether or not the product or service being offered is fit for the market.
REALITY: It’s funny how some entrepreneurs think they can always convince the market to make a purchase from them irrespective of whether or not it meets their needs and solves their problems.
One of the important things to have in mind when launching a business startup is whether or not a market exists for the product and service, you’re willing to offer. While having a great product to offer is absolutely beautiful, it doesn’t in any way guarantee business success. You have to understand how your market works. One of the most difficult things to do in business is trying to convince a prospective customer to purchase your product or service when it can barely satisfy their problems or meet their needs in one way or the other.
It all boils down to understanding your target audience as well as understanding your market. What type of customers are you building your startup for? How well do you understand your target customers and market? Does your business have a place in the market?
Prioritize studying and understanding your market and how it works.
Mistakes To Avoid When Starting Up A New Business.
- Don’t Underprice your Product or Service
Most entrepreneurs seek visibility, community or market awareness, they tend to undervalue their product or service by giving out their products for free or for a price that is too low for the worth of their product.
Engaging in constant freebies and giveaways of your products or services can bring you the visibility you want but it won’t land you the customers you want. If you continue this way, you’d gain customers who would only be interested in your constant freebies and giveaways but disinterested in making a purchase of your offer.
Learn not to price too high and not too low either. Undervaluing your product or service all in a bid to gain market shares is totally not worth it.
Price your product or service according to its worth.
- Launching when You’re not Fully Organized or Ready
Once you get a business idea that you know would be a hit when properly worked on, it can get very tempting to launch immediately. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of launching their startups before putting certain processes and strategies into place. This one action has led to the death of many startups.
Before launching your startup, ensure you have:
i. A well-detailed business plan.
ii. A legal structure.
iii. Enough knowledge about your marketplace and audience.
iv. Proper insurance.
v. Business registration, tax identification and necessary licenses.
vi. Feasible marketing strategies to keep your new business going.
vii. Strength to get back on your feet when failure knocks you down. (Funny as this might sound, you need to cultivate the culture of resilience as this would see you through the ups and downs you might encounter in the journey of your startup.
- Not Engaging in Marketing Research
Lol. Making this mistake would bless you with disappointments (Sorry to sound that way). And on the long run, the time and money invested in the business would go down the drain.
In launching a startup, as mentioned earlier in this post, you need to be very sure that there is a market available for what you have to offer in order to avoid offering a product or service no one would be interested in.
- Not having a Financial Backup for Your Startup
Many entrepreneurs fail to realize or better still, pretend not to realize, that a huge percentage of startups would not make a profit in their few years. Only about 5% of startups tend to make a profit in their first years. This means you need to have a financial backup to keep your new business running and on a survival mode while profits are not coming in for the startup.
If you do not have personal financial funding, you could apply for startup grants or other available alternatives.
- Fear of Failure
The fear of failing has prevented many entrepreneurs from carrying out certain actions which could lead to their growth (or maybe not). Failure is one way for entrepreneurs to learn from and make positive impacts on their businesses.
So, if you happen to be scared of failure, you should start discarding the fear. As a matter of fact, you should always be prepared for failure.
In the end, it’s not the failure itself that matters, it is how you handle the failures and what you learn from them that matters.
Characteristics of Successful Startups
All Startups who successfully transit to a big company have similar qualities. They’ve all had their ups and downs, a fair share of failures and have been able to build the culture of resilience that led to their growth and success.
Below are some of the characteristics of successful startups:
- They understand their Market and Target Audience
The importance of understanding how your market works as an entrepreneur cannot just be overemphasized. Successful startups offer products and services that are fit for their market.
These successful startups are aware of their product concept and carry out effective market research to know where they fit into. If you want to launch a successful startup, endeavour to study and understand your market.
- They take Feedbacks into Serious Considerations
Successful startups do not joke with feedbacks from whosoever. They are always eager to know what their target audience has to say about their offer and they work towards balancing their offer with the feedbacks.
As a startup, you should be intentional about feedbacks from prospective customers, business partners, mentors, investors and others. This way, you’d be able to focus more on what the market needs and what your target audience wants.
- They have Plans they Work With
Successful startups do not just launch their businesses without effective planning. They have backup plans to fall on just in case any of their plans fail. They do not make the mistake of not having a well-detailed plan for their new business. They had strategies and vision with which they work and carry out actions for the success and growth of their startup.
- They make their Product or Service all targeted at meeting the needs of Prospective Customers
Successful startups know better than to create offers that are not aimed at meeting the needs of their customers. Successful startups make it all about their customers and how their products can satisfy their target audience. They do not just focus on having a big product concept without putting their customers into consideration.
- Successful Startups are not Scared of Failures
A sneak peeks into the activities of successful startups would show you that, they have at one time or the other, failed and carried out actions that never worked out. Successful startups learn from their mistakes and implement this knowledge gained from their failures into ensuring the success and growth of their startups.
- Successful Startups are risk Takers
One of every successful startup you know today, has at one time or the other taken risks that might have backfired or not. Whether or not these risks backfired is not even the issue. The point is, they have at one time or the other taken risks. They have combatted fear and developed a spirit of resilience that has led to their growth.
Final Thoughts on Business Startup: Expectation Versus Reality.
Starting a new business and being successful at it, is no walk in the park. It’s impossible to make mistakes. It’s always advisable to prepare for failure. Avoid burnouts as they tend to pop their head into your success journey at periods where you happen not to be paying attention to them.
Seek help from people who have been in the game before especially if you’re just starting out. Have a business plan you’re following and also take notice of your cash flow. Have financial backups and don’t be scared to network. Make use of feedback and make sure you’re offering your prospective customers and target audience the product and services that satisfy them and meet their needs.
Of a truth, in the beginning, you might want to feel stuck. But with effective business plans, marketing strategies, resilience, focus, fearlessness and vision, your startup business would eventually become a success story.