Most start-ups spend too much time on the flashy parts of the business. We believe that what the customer sees is the most important part and so many entrepreneurs spend a lot of time on the below and they can be the reason why businesses fail.
b. Business cards
d. Marketing Materials
I know most people reading this have started wondering “What about these things aren’t important? Shouldn’t I want to put my best foot forward for the customer?”
The easy answer is, absolutely! Let’s break each one down and talk about why I have listed this as a business start-up trap.
Your website IS important so let’s get that out of the way. Most customers will look for this and decide to do business with you based partly on your website. So why is this on the list? Because many new businesses spend a lot of time trying to make it just right without ever defining what it will be used for.
Did you catch that?
Not all websites have the same goal. Without defining the goal of your website than how do you know what the website should look like?
Are you confused? Let me give you a few examples of a few website goals.
· Content tool – The business uses the website to produce content about the business. This is often an attempt to develop them as an authority in the industry.
· Sales Aid – The type of website is designed to sale products. Think online retail, the site needs to educate and motivate the customer to buy in the most effective way possible.
· Contact Tool – The page is basically a glorified business card. There are a few types of business where this could be the best use of the space.
· Legitimacy tool – This website exists to show your customers that you are a real business. People are visual, seeing is believing. also most of your customers understand that a website cost something so that fact that you have one means that you are invested.
Your website is not any different then any other part of your business. If you don’t know what the objective of your website is, than pick what you think is the most effective and just go with it. The key is to get started, your plan and website will change.
While it’s important to have business cards, it matters less how cool they look. At this point in time, there are so many tools that will design a business card for you that looks great. I have worked with business owners that have paid a great deal of money to have someone design a business card.
Here is the truth… Most people will throw your business card in a box or a desk draw, and if you are lucky at some point they will remember they talked to you and try and find it.
Here are the most important things to consider on a business card.
· Is it easy to read?
· Does the design fit my brand?
· Does it give my information?
When you are getting started, your business card is a tool for connecting and leaving your information.
DON’T OVER COMPLICATE IT.
The logo is one that I have had many people tell me I am wrong about so just so I am transparent this is my point of view. So over the last eight months, I have worked with over 40 entrepreneurs and just about all of them stress out about what their logo will look like.
Here is the deal… Your logo can change if you hate it. Many of my coaching peers are poo pooing me right now (yes I said poo haha) because that means you will have to “rebrand”. The truth is that when you get started the most important thing is trying to find customers. Your logo should remind your customers of you and your business. If you do a good job of building a relationship with your customers it won’t matter if your logo is a swish or an apple with a bite taken out of it.
My current logo that I leave on everything is my name with my tag line on it. I promise you I will change it at some point in the future.
Once again, this one is important but the real problem is two fold. The first issue is the same as the website, as a new business most people don’t know where in the process this information will be seen by the customer and how it’s supposed to support the customer acquisition process.
The second issue is no one wants to read your crap!
Lets be real with ourselves, your customer doesn’t care about your history, how great your product is or how many awards you have won. What they want is for their problem to be solved and to know they will get the most value for the money they are about to spend.
If your product can do that, great! If it can’t, great! Your customers just want to find the right solution for what they need. The faster you accept that your customer doesn’t care about what you care about, the better you will be able to reach your customer.
Now last and least… Swag!
As a new business this almost always should not be a major consideration. Yes giving someone a ball or a pen is a nice gesture but is that going to be the reason why they pick your business. I have never been in a meeting where someone said “Well, their estimate was 5K over the others and their service was not so hot but they gave us a sweat pen, so let’s do the deal with them.”
If it’s apart of your marketing strategy that’s great, I recommend picking something that people will use.
I have a college that gives away full size umbrella during the rainy seasons.
When he goes to a meeting and it so happens to be raining and the customer does not have an umbrella, he will give them his branded umbrella.Now that is a great use of swag!
Everything you do when building your business is important. A new business is like a child. You are feeding it, giving it attention and putting in the resources to see it be successful.
A great website might be enough that they choose to do business with you the first time but it wont keep them coming back.
Focusing on the wrong things will kill your business before its even has a chance to start. The list above are simply examples of common areas of focus but depending on your business one of the 5 above might be key to the success of your business.
I get asked all the time, what should I focus on when I am just starting my business?
The best answer I can give is focus on the most important thing to your customers, and the rest will come into focus. looking at this list and making sure you dont fall into these traps can be the best tips for a successful business