There seems to be no limit to what new entrepreneurs are able to achieve, and perhaps the most impressive trait possessed by new entrepreneurs is the ability to overcome all manner of adversity. Of course, I can speak from experience and can vouch for the fact that some of the adversity I encountered was of my own creation and therefore completely unnecessary. As a new entrepreneur, you have to understand that the achievement of your company’s goals is partially dependent on your ability to identify and prevent the occurrence of as many mistakes as possible.
Out of all the mistakes I made as a new entrepreneur, I found that marketing mistakes in particular were some of the most difficult to overcome. After speaking with many of my peers, I feel confident in saying that marketing poses a truly unique challenge for new entrepreneurs. It is therefore my hope that sharing the following five mistakes most commonly made by new entrepreneurs will make it easier for you to achieve each and every one of your objectives on the way to entrepreneurial success.
Failing to Develop an Unmistakable Brand Identity
As an entrepreneur, you are probably as confident in the quality of the products and services provided by your company as I was when I first began. I was so overly confident, in fact, that I felt the products and services would simply speak for themselves and would not necessarily require any sort of overarching brand strategy. Obviously, this was a significant miscalculation on my part.
All entrepreneurs should recognize just how critical it is to develop an unmistakable brand identity right from the start. Consumers have to be able to immediately identify and associate a logo or a tagline with your company and your company alone. The more focus you devote to developing a clear brand identity from day one will ultimately play a significant role in determining how successful you are able to be in the early stages of your entrepreneurial endeavor.
Overdependence on Word-of-Mouth and Free Publicity
I was fortunate that I succeeded in generating a tremendous amount of free publicity shortly after founding my company, not to mention the fact that I had a few early clients that happily took on the role of unofficial brand ambassadors and generated a lot of word-of-mouth interest. A number of my peers have actively tried to generate a similar amount of free publicity only to realize that this type of publicity is often an inconsistent and unpredictable approach, especially when it is the only approach utilized.
My advice to new entrepreneurs is to follow the strategy I used, which is to work on generating free publicity and word-of-mouth marketing as a complementary strategy rather than a primary one. This will ensure that you will not suffer from a lack of exposure if you are unable to generate a lot of free publicity. If the free publicity does indeed work well, you will enjoy tremendous market exposure across a wide range of platforms.
Ignoring the Value of Differentiation From Competitors
We should get this out of the way immediately: Your business is not nearly as unique as you believe it to be. You cannot rely on your company being so revolutionary that differentiation from your competitors is unnecessary, otherwise you will find it difficult to establish a share of the market right away. Even though I felt that my company was providing something novel and entirely different, I still performed a great deal of research to make sure that I differentiated myself from any competitors that provided products or services that overlapped with those of my company.
Overlooking the Importance of Identifying a Target Market
Many new entrepreneurs also believe that their company will have such broad appeal that identifying a target market is not worthwhile. Attracting consumers or clients requires a successful appeal to their specific interests or needs, so a non-specific marketing approach will not generate the interest you are seeking. I have had great success through the use of specificity in marketing, particularly after I took the time to thoroughly understand the interests of those occupying my specific target market.
Ignoring Marketing Data in Favor of “Gut Instincts”
It may be tempting to rely on your instincts when making decisions about marketing, especially since your instincts have served you so well thus far. I myself was tempted to rely on my instincts, but I made sure to confirm that my instincts would not lead me astray by evaluating the marketing data and analytics as well. What I came to realize is that sometimes the data will indicate something entirely different, so ignoring the feedback available through data is a risky mistake. You don’t have to ignore your instincts altogether, but I believe your approach to marketing will be far more effective if you place a greater value on the guidance provided by the marketing data.