It begins with an idea. You’re passionate about it, you’ve researched and planned, you believe there’s a market for it, you’re convinced you can succeed…then the real work starts. And that’s where most new businesses fail. In fact, around 60% of start-ups fail in the first 3 years. It’s not always the obvious things, like lack of proper planning, or lack of business acumen. Instead, it’s often surprising things that could have avoided if the person driving the business knew before they started. If they’d only talked to someone who could’ve given them the insight they needed! But fear not – here are three insider tips from Bogdan Stevanovic, serial entrepreneur and founder of digital marketing agency, Aquare, that might just save your new business…
Value the data
According to Bogdan, many new companies fail because they don’t focus on, and properly use, the one thing that can tell them what’s working and what isn’t – data. “Even if it’s just something as simple as reviewing their website analytics”, says Bogdan, “a new business that incorporates data as a core part of their business strategy will have a marked advantage. If they’re doing any kind of sales online, then data needs to be their best friend. I’ve worked with many businesses who had previously wasted huge amounts of money on digital marketing campaigns that simply weren’t converting to sales because they didn’t understand their data.” If you’re not in tune with your data, then there’s an abundance of data-related training courses and platforms out there. Better still, hire an agency that specialises in it.
Fail fast, fail frequently
How many people do you know who say, “I’ve got this great idea for a business”, but never actually start one? Most of the time it’s because they’re afraid of failing. This is the wrong mind-set. Bogdan himself discovered this at a young age: “Some of my earliest projects were complete failures. I figured out quickly that if I didn’t embrace these failures and learn from them I would never be successful. When starting a business, you need to allow yourself to fail. Steve Jobs was pushed out of Apple before he returned years later to turn it into one of the biggest companies on the planet. And Walt Disney was fired from a Newspaper job for ‘not being creative enough’!”
Understand the market
This sounds like an obvious one, but too often entrepreneurs pour all their time into developing and strengthening their company’s value proposition (product, service, or offering) and unique selling point (USP). But Bogdan says, “Rather than just concentrating on what the customer wants, business leaders need to understand and adapt to their competitor’s propositions. When we work with our clients we look for, and keep abreast of, what their competitors are doing online. From search engine optimisation (SEO) to pay-per-click advertising campaigns (PPS) we use that data to make sure that our own clients stay competitive and ahead of customer behaviour patterns.
Whatever your business, if you’re serious about making it a success, any insight you can get from someone who’s done it before you is worth listening to; as any entrepreneur will tell you, there’s no business idea or strategy that’s a ‘sure thing’. Hopefully the tips above will swing the odds a bit more in your favour!