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Smart Startups Do’s and Don’ts

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If you’re in the start-up space, you’ve most likely heard “fail fast” as a way of learning and making quick changes to find market fit. Although this is true when applied to whatever it is, you’re offering, there are broader lessons to be learned from others mistakes.

I’ve tried, I’ve failed, and I’ve learned. Here are smart tips to help you make less mistakes as a start up to improve your business.

1. Don’t Just Sell. Tell a Story.

Highlighting the features and benefits of your product or service is a popular technique that is also implemented in website copying and other marketing materials. Although this type of information explains what you’re doing, it totally misses the mark on effective sales-that is, getting others to buy into your story. Storytelling plays into the emotions of the future client. If you hit the right chord with your plot, you’ll end up seeing a lot of customers

2. Don’t Be Blind. Be Strategic.

Don’t go into trying to develop a business blind. Don’t think you know how the market is going to respond, what promotional tactics are going to succeed, or what price you should charge. Do your homework and work out a plan for every step of the way.

3. Don’t Move Slow. Move Fast.

If you’re a start-up, running at a snail pace can be destructive. Not only can you lose advantages over competition, but it can reduce your level of motivation. Be sure to move quickly, but not so fast that you lose your attention to detail. Find a speed that allows you to work within that allows you to make good choices while continuing to move your company forward.

4. Don’t Assume. Find a Need.

Just because you, your grandma, your best friend, and your dog think your idea and business model is cool, it doesn’t mean you have a good business. Move quickly to get a working prototype (or MVP) to test for real potential customers. Get valuable feedback, adjust your product and model as needed, and repeat this process until you find what really works.

5. Don’t Fear Failure. Embrace it.

Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations can often lead to greatness. However, it doesn’t always mean that you’ll be successful with each step you take. Try new ideas with the mindset of “if this fails, I’ll only better myself.”

6. Don’t Start for Money. Have a Purpose.

Successful people know that if you start a business strictly for the purpose of “hitting it big”, you’re setting yourself up for business failure.

7. Don’t Do Everything Yourself. Empower Others.

Sure, the first time you start, you will be the sole owner who has to do everything. But as you begin to develop and have a strong story to relate, tell the story to others, and build a team of people who share your vision. Empowering others lets you focus on your “why” and overall plan.

As an entrepreneur, you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to experience failures and you’re going to evolve. Learn from the mistakes made by others and those made by you, and continue to press forward toward excellence.

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” 

Winston Churchill

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