When you choose to live your life as an entrepreneur, you are setting off on a bumpy path. Few entrepreneurs have meteoric rises towards instant brand name recognition like Uber, Twitter, or Instagram. The vast majority of company builders toil away in relative obscurity. If you want to improve your entrepreneurial journey as you grow a successful business, you can short-cut your path to profitability by avoiding the missteps of other entrepreneurs who have gone before you. Review the following startup tips for first time entrepreneurs to see if you can avoid the pitfalls of other brave business builders like yourself:
Lack of Customer Focus
In an effort to establish product/market fit, many first time entrepreneurs attempt to serve multiple markets at once. Rather than absolutely killing it in one sector before trying to build in a secondary market, you end up doing a mediocre job in both. Nail one target customer base with laser precision before attempting to scale in another.
Prioritizing New Customers over Existing Customers
Instead of busying yourself with a multitude of tasks designed to entice new customers to your product or service, focus the majority of your time on surpassing the expectations of your existing customers. Startups like Slack do this extremely well; their positive word-of-mouth has paid off in droves. It is far cheaper to keep a current customer happy than it is to try to land a new one. Request product feedback, excel at lightning-speed customer service, and don’t overlook opportunities to advise customers of your appreciation for their patronage.
Failure to Replenish
While the tech press would have you believe you need to be “crushing it” at all times, you in fact need to integrate down-time into your modus operandi. A Formula One race car doesn’t speed towards the finish line without adequate fuel in the tank. The same theory applies to first time entrepreneurs. Without taking the time to recharge your energy stores, you’ll run out of fuel before your race is run. Spend time with your friends and family, meditate and practice yoga, or even just enjoy a daily morning walk in nature. Focus on replenishing your inner momentum each day and not only will your entrepreneurial journey last longer, it will be a more enjoyable trek at the same time.
Don’t believe the hype of StartupLand. The number of startup founders acquiring investor funding or exiting in a spectacular fashion is drastically disproportionate to the number of entrepreneurs building successful companies. Focus on building a quality product or service and serving the needs of your target customers. Your biggest emotional rewards will come from customers singing your praises, not from the occasional press mention or startup spotlight.