Running a startup is genuinely hard work. On any given day, founders and early employees have to make dozens of decisions that can drastically alter the direction of their company one way or another. Growing a startup is an even bigger challenge; many industry experts expect nine out of every ten startups to fail ultimately.
With an abundance of low-cost and easy-to-use software tools available to anyone with an internet connection, it has never been easier to start your own business than it is today. If you are one of those courageous entrepreneurs venturing out into uncharted startup waters, you might want to pay particular attention. Here are seven all-too-common mistakes that can quickly derail your progress:
#1. Lack of Product / Market Fit
CB Insights, an analytics company, focusing on startups and venture capital, looked at over 100 post-mortems – those blog posts written by founders detailing why their businesses failed – in search of insights into why so many startups shut their doors. It turns out that the number one reason, which was noted by 42% of polled companies, is the lack of market need for their product. This reason may seem like a silly problem to have, but it is more complicated than one may think. Product /market fit can loosely be defined as a situation in which a product or service is satisfying the needs of a market. How do you know you have found a product /market fit? Most startup veterans say “you’ll feel it when it happens.” When your product is selling quickly, organically spreading through word-of-mouth, and being used consistently it may have reached that golden point.
#2. Unit Economics That Just Don’t Work
Put simply; you need to make more money per customer than you spend to acquire and service that customer. If the unit economics do not work out in your favor, chances of long-term success are minimal. Spotify, the behemoth music streaming service, has over 90 million subscribers and around $2 billion in annual revenues. Yet, when you take a closer look at the company’s numbers, it seems to be in troublesome waters, having to pay out well over 50% of revenue to licensees. It is important to understand your unit economics and do everything possible to create a sustainable business model.
#3. Avoiding Customer Development
What do you know about your customers? Did you take the time to create buyer personas for your target market? The proven way to grow a startup is to start with the niche group of people most likely to love what you offer and be willing to overlook early growing pains when your product is not quite 100% perfect. There is an inherent danger in trying to boil the ocean when marketing to your customers. When Uber first launched the on-demand car service could have targeted “all the people who take cabs,” but that would have been too big of a project to tackle so early on. Instead, it focused on young and affluent city dwellers who wanted to “roll around San Francisco like ballers” and spread from there.
#4. Focusing on Customer Acquisition Over Retention
Nearly everyone knows some version of this adage: It costs approximately five times the amount to acquire a new user than to retain an existing one. While the top of your funnel is certainly critical, do not overlook the importance of keeping customers happy and engaged to maximize your marketing efforts.
#5. Ignoring the Data in Marketing
The term “growth hacking” has become popular over the last few years and for a good reason. The title references a new type of startup marketer, one who approaches tasks with a scientific mind, running experiments and iterating quickly to optimize efforts in the name of results. With so many data analytics tools available for websites, mobile apps, and digital marketing campaigns, you have no reason not to measure everything.
#6. Hiring the Wrong People at the Wrong Time
Businesses are only as good as the people who run them, and this has never been truer than with startups. As the company grows, your needs change and different types of employees are necessary. A two-person startup can get away with having one CTO who does all programming, but a 10-person company with plans to launch a mobile app will need an iOS developer and an Android developer. You do not need a Public Relations manager when you do not even have a product or office, but you might need one three years down the road. Start with generalists who can cover the most ground, then grow the team with specialists when you have funding and/or revenue and a distinct need for employees with particular skill sets.
#7. Having an Unwillingness to Adapt Attitude
A pivot is when a startup decides to change a major part of its business and move in another direction. Before Instagram was Instagram, it was a check-in app called Burbn. The founding team looked at how popular the photo-sharing feature within Burbn was and decided to pivot to an app focused solely on that aspect. The idea you had when first launching your company may not be the winner you hoped for, but there may be a better one hidden away. By following principles like Lean Startup, you will be able to make more informed and data-backed decisions.
The first step in avoiding perilous mistakes like these is to acknowledge their existence. Once you have identified and studied potential pitfalls, you will be positioned well to grow your startup the best way possible.
Top Ways Content Marketing Will Change Your Business Strategies
How will you ensure that you are promoting your business with ease and in the best way? One significant way would be to keep your marketing strategy up-to-date. You must keep the business on the leading edge in an effort to stay relevant and, more to the point, effective and efficient. In today’s context, it means focusing on content marketing, that’s precisely why this article serves as a guide on why the content marketing is vital and you ought to be concentrating your efforts.
Content Marketing – What Is It?
Content marketing is a marketing approach to making and sharing useful, appropriate and consistent contents for attracting and acquiring a clearly-defined target audience – with the goal of generating profitable customer action.
For example, say you are a personal coach as well as your small business has plateaued in the last year or even longer. You are still seeking to grow your client base, and thus you begin a blog site and write 2-3 keyword-optimized articles each week, which demonstrate how to exercise, eat healthily, and slim down. These articles start to get ranking in search engines like Google as time passes and when spring hits, individuals will search on the internet for tips on how to improve the fitness for beach time. Due to your efforts, readers run into your blog organically, go through your articles, and keep returning to discover from you on a regular basis. In some cases, readers of your blog will take preferred call-to-actions which drive positive Return-On-Investment (ROI).
Why Is The Content Marketing Important To The Business?
Compelling content can assist you to build customer relationships while preventing ineffective “hard sell” strategies. It displays your “subject-matter” skills and increases trust by merely highlighting significant topics which affect your potential customers. Well-crafted articles can draw visitors to your social networks and website, boosting your overall performance on search results. Furthermore, it provides audiences the option to keep sharing your contents with their network of friends.
Here are perfect reasons to start creating expert content for your business today:
1. Build Faith with the Traffic
You can establish yourself as an expert in your industry by making more useful content and sharing with your target audience. People trust professionals and seek the services of them to solve their problems.
2. Increase Brand Awareness
For budding businesses, brand awareness is something that is commonly lacking. Most people will not be aware of your business; therefore you should work to change that. By leveraging on content marketing, you can significantly increase targeted traffic to your website, which also means you can have quality, consistent, targeted visitors and back-links. This change can result in the growth of online visibility and awareness, generating more leads for your business via your content.
3. Perfect For (SEO) Organic Search
Search engine algorithms are often changing. However, one fact that will never change is how they value keywords and content. When you consistently make and keep content on your website up-to-date. Your website generally will get better ranking in search engines.
For example, if a user fires up the search engine and types a phrase or keyword, the search engine will work hard to give him/her the best and most relevant information relating to the search query. If you are making expert contents for sharing valuable and useful information to your targeted buyers instead of spammy sales copy, Google will identify that piece of content to be useful and of high relevancy. As a result, your website will get better search engine positions, driving increased organic traffic.
4. Produce Leads For The Business
Generating leads or driving sales for the business is definitely the key purpose that marketers execute any marketing campaign. If you need new potential buyers to visit your website and ultimately buy what you are promoting, content marketing provides an avenue for strangers to get you via your informative and useful contents.
Every content you put forth, and every content that is shared will drive organic traffic. By nurturing these traffic, businesses can push them down the marketing funnel, converting them into successful leads or sales.
5. Give People Reasons To Return To Your Site
When you offer people informative and helpful content, you are beginning to develop a strong and healthy relationship. People will come back to you for information and updates. By building this relationship, you encourage visitors to your website to return, because you are someone they trust and know.
There will always be tactics which produce short-lived, quick spikes in leads and traffic. There will also be methods which may have absolutely no business influence whatsoever. However, investing in appropriate content marketing right now is going to pay you back for a long time.
How Can You Use Quizzes to Generate Leads? – INTERACT
The state of digital marketing is always changing. Therefore marketers have to keep up with the pressure of adapting when necessary. Digital marketers are continually finding the most creative ways of generating leads or collecting new email subscribers. With the crowded online space, it is increasingly harder for marketers to stand above the crowd. Moreover, research has shown that the average human attention span is rapidly declining. And this will mean that the method you are adopting now for your lead generation or email collection will no longer work as effectively.
There is a rising popularity where quizzes have become a recurring motif on one of the favorite method of lead generation. Quizzes are a method that is slightly overlooked but a potential pot of gold – and it honestly makes lead generation fun.
According to Steve Olenski, you can gather tons of information about your website visitors, when they are having fun answering a quiz, and it is an excellent way to generate leads.
In this article, I will recommend a tool you can use for setting up fantastic quizzes and guide you through how to create a quiz with this tool which can have a potential of growing your email list by 300%!
Event Management Software Showdown: Cvent vs. Eventbrite vs. GEVME
As an event organizer, there is a need to be good at juggling multiple tasks under the pressure of time, while ensuring that the event is planned and executed successfully. In many cases, such functions are carried out manually which impedes efficiency, accuracy, and tracking.
In recent years, there have been many event management software that has surfaced in the market, and many of them have had a growing footprint around the world. Not only that there are now more acceptance and users on-board of these software products, but there has also been an incredible competition in providing more functionalities to its users.
With this in mind, event management software is becoming a valuable tool for event organizers. These tools can be used in the management of academic and professional conferences, trade exhibitions, conventions and even smaller events. They can also help in the project management from the creation and development of events to streamlining the process of planning and coordinating which may include budgeting, scheduling, site selection, transportation, catering, marketing, etc.
Noting that every event management software is different and not a one size fits all, before committing to investing in one, it is vital to explore and compare a few popular event management software to find the best that suits your needs.
In this article, we are going to look at three event management software in the market – Cvent, Eventbrite, and GEVME.
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