Learning from your mistakes: A lesson in entrepreneurship

Becoming an entrepreneur at any given stage isn’t an easy job. It requires one to have a strong idea, commitment, passion and the drive to run a startup. The stakes, however, are always high. There are many things an entrepreneur needs to juggle with, from sales, finance, accounting, marketing, building a team to even leading one.
Oprah Winfrey once said, “Failure is a great teacher, and, if you are open to it, every mistake has a lesson to offer”, and it cannot get any truer for entrepreneurs.
The entrepreneur faces many challenges along his/her journey. To get specific, when it comes to marketing, there are a few common mistakes that entrepreneurs tend to make. After working with multiple startups over the past few months, I have listed down some of the most common marketing mistakes made by entrepreneurs.
Not understanding the importance of marketing
A lot of startups see marketing as an added expense. They struggle to set a separate budget for marketing activities and prioritises everything else over it. What most startups don’t realize is that marketing has a direct impact on the success of the brand. Marketing the product as you go simply doesn’t work; you need to have a strategy in place right at the start so you know which direction you are headed and keep a check on your progress.

When planning your budget, keep a separate budget for marketing at the start of the financial year. You want to ensure you market yourself and go viral gradually. Spending tons of money on one campaign will lead your company nowhere. Having a budget based on a strategy helps keep a check on your expenditure so you can avoid spending too much or too less.

Who you are targeting
Spreading brand awareness is essential for any startup, but to maximize results, you must know who your target audience is. With all the technology and software readily available, why target any and everybody? Target advertising not only ensures that you reach the right people for your products but also helps you to utilize your budget optimally.

Where you are marketing
Just like knowing who to market your product to, a startup must also know where to find their potential customers. With the advent of social media marketing, global marketing is more accessible than ever before. However, most startups make the common mistake of choosing the wrong channel to promote the brand or even worse, promoting on every possible channel. This only sabotages your effort, money and time. Startups that focus on their target audience and the correct channels to find them tend to have a higher success rate.

Take feedback
We have all heard of the phrase “A happy customer is a loyal customer”. Marketing is not just spreading awareness, it’s also building the brand. In order to do that, you must take your customer’s feedback very seriously and improve upon it. If your customers are happy with you, they will do the marketing for you, by word of mouth.

Most startups forget that they need to build a brand not to fit their vision but to fit the requirements of their customers. Build a good product, keep your customers happy and use your money wisely to market yourself.

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