UPDATE: The article has been updated keeping in mind the changing business scenario in 2019.
Globally, around 92 percent of the Startups fail within the first three years of its operation. The reasons are multifarious and sometimes incomprehensible to the founders. Times of Startups has come up with the list of top 5 Startup mistakes which can help Startups identify them in their life-cycle and take remedial measures.
1. Being deaf to suggestions
Building an empire on your own is something everyone strives for and there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the idea. But in reality, it takes few extra hands to build an ‘entrepreneurial empire’. When you begin your venture, you will find people giving you all sorts of suggestions. One way of going about is being completely deaf to the suggestions. “Why the hell should I listen to them. They don’t want me to succeed”. This, unfortunately, is the wrong way of going about. Listen to the suggestions given by your friends and family. Don’t think as if you are wasting your time. Ultimately you are the one who will make the final call. But in the process of listening to people, you will start formulating a multidimensional strategy around your Idea. Few things you never thought could come out of no where.
2. Premature Scaling
In order to understand what premature scaling is, it is important to understand what scaling means. When a Startup experiences growth in its operation and either expands its role, hires new employees, spends more on advertisement or all together, it can be said that the Startup is Scaling up. Usually, but not always, this is accompanied by higher returns. Scaling up is never bad when it is a well thought of decision and the various factors are taken into account. But in reality many Startups suffer when they try to stretch their legs too far. Sometimes, even though an entrepreneur is completely bootstrapped, the temptation to grow in a short duration lead him to invest in those aspects of business could have been avoided at that moment. It could be either hiring expensive app developers when your website is not performing well or hiring employees in excess of your needs. One should avoid spending money scaling the business before one has already nailed what customers want and how to reach them.
3. Having no or insufficient social media presence, and handling your social media poorly.
Though a very basic point, many Startups have failed to make their social media presence felt across the various platforms available. And needless to say, they have suffered big time. At a time when entrepreneurs are running short of ideas, a slow or a negligible social media presence can cost you dearly as the niche market can be easily captured by your competitors if they have a more robust social media presence. It is also important to understand this aspect from the mindset of a potential client. Once you have shown your interest in any product’s social media page via likes, subscription, you are less likely to like a page of a similar product. Facebook and Twitter age entrepreneurs who have missed this point have suffered dearly. Also, of utmost importance is the manner in which you handle your social media. Posting few and pertinent things on your social media platforms instead of bombarding your followers with posts is the best way to go. You can read how Startups can effectively use social media for their advantage here.
4. Not having a backup plan
“I have 2 eggs. From the two eggs I will have 2 hens. From the 2 hens I will have another 8 eggs..Finally I will have a big poultry farm”. Well, planning is good but sometimes our plans fail. It is a hard fact of life. In the world of Sartups, things are very dynamic and the competition immensely intense. Not having a backup plan is like preparing to fail. It absolutely doesn’t mean that you remain less upbeat about your venture. Having a backup plan only means that you are aware of the ground realities and are ready to face any challenge when it comes.
5. Being a copy cat
“Even though Flipkart was present, amazon and Myntra are doing pretty fine. I think my Online store, which will sell ‘only’ kurtis will also be a hit.” Barring few exceptions, most of the successful entrepreneurs are those who have tried to solve personal problems or problems which are unique in different ways. Hotmail was the result of Sabir Bhatia and Jack Smith not being able to exchange email at work. Google happened because Larry and Sergey were not able to find things online. There are numerous examples to support the argument. The limited point to be taken home is that creating a business around your own set of problems can help you in creating a niche which can grow exponentially.
5 Web Design Trends Startups Should Adopt
Web design keeps evolving from year to year and every startup that is looking to thrive on the internet should be paying close attention to the new trends that rule the web design world. Innovative and eye-catching web design can really do a lot when it comes to conversions these businesses are looking to make. The competition is fierce in the online business world so any startup that chooses not to update their web design to better fit current trends is missing on a lot of opportunities when it comes to growing their business. We’ll give you an insight into some of the best current web design trends that you should be aware of as a startup owner.
Fewer Navigation Options
Another trend that came out of ever-increasing mobile devices usage is the need to simplify website navigation. Streamlining visitors towards 3-5 options helps users stay on track and quickly find what they’re actually looking for because no one likes to get lost on a website – a thing that happens a lot on smartphones with overly complicated websites. Easier navigation translates to preventing users from abandoning the website, which automatically translates to more conversions and potential sales.
Another big change that happened to navigation is a trend of keeping navigation static, which basically means that those 3 important options will always be available – no matter where on the webpage you are.
GIFs and Animations
GIFs and animations have been a huge hit with websites in the 2017 and they are going to stay that way next year as well. It’s just a great and simple way to show important content in a way that’s easiest for your visitors to digest. It’s a well-known fact that professional website design is all about conveying the right message in a quick and easy way, which is something that becomes a lot easier with visual content when compared to the written content. Both GIFs and animations are actually lighter on your website speed, so you can actually keep the pages really fast while still maintaining a focus on the visuals.
Brutalism as a Trend
Recently, as an answer to so many websites opting for minimalism, a new trend has emerged that’s completely opposite of it. Instead of going for simplicity, brutalism is all about creating websites that are overly-complicated. Sure, this trend isn’t for every website out there, but there’s something attractive to its ugliness. Web designers focus more on collages of images and text, rather than caring about UX at all. If you go with brutalism design though, you’ve got to be prepared for people to call your website ugly. That’s just the way it is, you can’t have it both ways – brutalism websites aren’t pretty, but they don’t even care.
Using handwritten fonts, graphics, icons, or even buttons is a great way to be unique about your web design yet don’t go too far out of the way. It’s certainly a great change considering that most websites employ boring, flat fonts that only care about readability. Giving your website a unique touch in this manner will provide a great contrast to that and make your website stand out from the crowd.
Minimalism is Still a Thing
This web design trend is actually a fusion of many other web design styles. The idea behind it is to give priority to performance, speed, as well as very simplistic layouts. The main reason why this trend came to prominence is a huge shift to responsive websites, which happened due to ever growing requirements for the websites to be mobile friendly. Before that, websites usually wanted to put every piece of information on the top to avoid scrolling, which gave websites a cluttered feel. Teaming up with a reliable website design company can do the trick of helping you avoid such problems. Mobile devices, however, encourage scrolling so various options can be arranged in a better way. Another important element of minimalism is its usage of white space, which really helps the websites look a lot cleaner.
The Rules are There for a Reason
By employing the most useful techniques in web design you can ensure that your website stays in line with your competitors, or better yet, even become a leader in your niche. Of course, there are other important elements of running an online business beyond having a cool looking and functional website, like SEO for example, since you’ll get very little out of your web design if your traffic is really low. The trends we mentioned in this guide are all there to inspire you and maybe even motivate you to experiment with web design on your own, which can really turn the table for your business if you do it right.
5 Perfect Ideas for Starting Your Own Green Business
When you say eco-friendly, most people think donating to various charities and recycling waste. However, going green no longer means boring people with long talks about the importance of saving the environment but instead, refers to the practice of reducing energy waste in individual households and office spaces and helping save the environment in the process. Here are five ideas for those who wish to help the environment by starting their own green business.
One of the best ways to conserve energy and lower your electricity bills is to switch from incandescent lights to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The traditional, incandescent lights waste more energy and produce more CO2 when compared to CFLs and LEDs, which use a quarter of the energy and produce four times less CO2. These two environmentally friendly options also happen to last significantly longer, making them a better long-term investment. You can open a store specialized in selling and installing of these lights or connect with already established eco-friendly brands and help them find new markets.
With the energy prices on the rise, both individuals and businesses are becoming interested in reducing their energy expenditures but they aren’t sure how exactly they’re going to achieve it. As a green consultant, you can help people and businesses become eco-friendlier by taking a walk through their homes and offices and proposing specific changes, as well as products and services that can allow them to save energy, water, and resources. This includes preventing cold and warm air from escaping by reinforcing the insulation, weatherstripping doors and windows, and properly installing the adequate HVAC system.
Sustainable construction materials
Building a green home has become significantly easier in the last couple of years. Currently, there are numerous companies that offer recycled, reused and sustainable building materials which can be used both in home building projects and in infrastructure repairs. Think repurposed aluminum, glass, wood, plastic composites and even steel. And these are all high-quality materials that have been rigorously tested for their strength and durability. Not to mention that recycled and repurposed materials cost way less and can drastically reduce your building or remodeling costs.
There’s a number of ways business owners can make their retail business greener. These include using eco-friendly materials during production, green packaging, rewarding customer’s loyalty by donating a part of the revenue to their favorite green charity or environmentally friendly organization. Another option is offering educational content to raise awareness about the environment and different ways we can help keep it clean and free of various pollutants. Additionally, if you own a physical store, the best course of action would be to move away from paper and plastic bags and printed shopping receipts. Instead, you should switch to shopping bags made from recycled materials ask your customers whether they actually need a bag and email them the receipt.
Building a green home is ideal for those who have the required budget to build an entire house from scratch using sustainable materials. However, there are people who already own a house and don’t plan on tearing it down anytime soon and the best choice for them is to retrofit their existing house and turn it into an eco-friendly home. Have in mind that most retrofitting work can be accomplished by hand, but be extra careful when dealing with old houses.
Back in the day, asbestos was used as an insulator of choice and removing it is extremely dangerous and hazardous for your health. If you happen to run into asbestos while performing an audit in the larger Sydney area, don’t hesitate to call in one of the several professional companies specialized in asbestos removal from Sydney and avoid putting you and those around you in harm’s way.
Whether it’s offering eco-friendly advice and solutions, such as energy efficient lights and sustainable building materials, or using green products packaging and rewarding customers with a donation to an environmentally friendly organization of their choice, there are a number of different, creative ways you can add a green-touch to retail and make a decent living out of it. Keeping the environment safe for our children is more than just charity donations and non-profit organization. In fact, all of the business models mentioned above can be used to endorse your environmentally friendly activism and generate revenue while doing it.
5 Cheap Ways to Promote Your Business
No matter if you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the world of business for years, you simply have to market your business. Unless you invest money in marketing, you’ll hardly be able to expand your client base and help your business grow. Luckily, there’s no need to spend loads of money on marketing, since there are some things you can do that won’t cost you too much but they’ll help you bring your business closer to consumers. We’ve come up with 5 of them you should definitely check out.
Make your employees your ambassadors
If you want to avoid hiring someone who’ll help you out with marketing your business, you can always think about the idea of turning your employees into your ambassadors. This means they will recommend your business to their friends and family whenever possible. And if you want this to work, you should consider giving bonuses to those who manage to find you the biggest number of customers. It may also be a good idea to print a lot of business cards and give them to your employees who’ll pass them to potential new customers.
There’s a large number of companies out there which use email as a way of promoting their business. How do they do it? Well, basically they do whatever they can to collect emails from their customers and later send them emails about their new products or promotions. This helps their customers remember them next time they’re in need of a product or service they’re offering. Today, with automated personalized email, you can easily do this and turn one-time buyers into your regular customers.
Embrace social media
It’s safe to say that we live in the age when social media has become an important part of our lives. By the year 2020, there will be nearly 3 billion people using at least one social media platform. Therefore, if you want to attract new customers, social media is the place to be. Start a page for your business and find ways to produce content your followers will find interesting. You can always shoot instructional videos or share interesting industry-related news. Just bear in mind that you should never overload your followers with boring promotional content.
Turn your vehicle into a mobile billboard
If you find renting a billboard for your business too expensive, you can always turn your vehicle into a mobile one. In fact, most of the large businesses today use vehicles that have their name and phone numbers decorating the doors or windows. Modern vehicle advertising means you’ll have removable “stickers” made and applied to your vehicle. These things won’t hurt your paint job but they’ll definitely help you attract new people to your business.
Give away promotional items
One thing that’s always going to work for your customers is giving away promotional items. Things such as personalized pens, t-shirts, and key chains have been used for this purpose for ages and they never fail to do the trick. Customers who receive promotional items like this are much more likely to choose your product or service in the future. Today, you might want to go with something a bit more memorable than pens and t-shirts. For example, making personalized diaries or USB flash drives is guaranteed to help you win modern customers over.
All of the ways mentioned above are always going to do the trick for your business. And no matter if it’s about attracting new customers or retaining the current ones, they should help you achieve your goals without having to spend a real fortune.
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