I have been observing and studying a lot of small businesses and I have myself been through this journey. One pattern that I have observed is that the entrepreneurs pay a lot of attention on their idea/product/service offering when they start out and the whole idea of structuring a business is not really there. Well, this may sound a little negative! But it is really true. A business requires a much more strategic and planned start than what many entrepreneurs do. It’s not just about selling, it is about how you sell. It is not just about the product, but the presentation of your product that is really more important. If you are thinking about this or want to understand this better, I would highly recommend that you read the book, The E-Myth, by Michael E. Gerber.
Now wearing my Brand Strategist’s hat, here have been my observations about some common mistakes that entrepreneurs make:
1. Thinking that branding is not for you.
I have been guilty of this myself, till I got more deeper clarity about branding. As they say, a doctor takes his medicine the last, I took a while to apply it to my business! I can only wish I did it much sooner. The basic problem I feel is that thinking of branding is something for the fancy world. However, at a basic level, branding just helps understand customers better, helps you differentiate and attract better customers, and perhaps even charge more.
2. Picking up designs from thin air.
It's been so common. When you start a business, you don't think too much about your brand. The visual side of your offerings is done as per what 'looks nice' or what is 'easily available design'. However, think about this, all your identities, be your logo, business card, website, social media are really the first impression of yours for your customer. Don't you think it should be strategically planned? It would be wise to think about your logo as not what you like, but what will work for your business or what your customers will like. When you really think about this, you are developing your brand, even though if it is a small start. So it not always the best decision to make to just use any design, but a strategic approach could actually impact your business. Further, poor quality designs are a quick way to tell your customers in their subconscious mind that this might not be a high-end business and it will make it tough for you to justify your worth to them.
3. Being like competitors.
Isn't it strange! We try to be just like them, and after the bubble bursts we talk about, Hey! there is too much competition in the space, I can't stand out! Well, ever think about being confident in your own skin and totally embracing it?
4. Being everything to everyone.
At the initial stage, business really feels about just getting the money in. However, to stay in the game in the long-run, it is rather important to stay focussed. If you just try to get anything that comes your way, then you become just a service/product provider. There is nothing exclusive about it. There is no compelling force that will make people come to you. Think about this, a general restaurant with multi-cuisine food is likely to be a quick, easy-on-pocket option. But a fine-dine serving exclusive cuisine and even just 4-5 dishes might be able to attract lesser people, but at a much higher value. Why? Because they have managed to become exclusive and comfortable being not for all, but the best for some!
5. Not being consistent.
Of course, there are hit and trials in the beginning. But jumping horses too much, too often is not the best thing for any business. Consistency of messages, going to your customers for a long time builds trust.
6. Selling a product, not a story.
Humans are irrational beings and take irrational decisions. Well, let's accept it, we are all like that! But for marketers and businessman, this is a thing to play on. Let your business tell a story, let your customers fall in love with your brand, so that the bond always draws them to you and you become more than just a commodity for them! Loving to see brands grow, Radhika Nathany,
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