1. Poor Product planning

A lot of companies end up pumping a worthless product into market without doing proper research and not spending enough time on product planning. A good product sells irrespective of marketing, which means a great product/service which is designed by keeping customer’s real requirement in view and which is hugely under served by the competition would give any start-up the killer edge that it needs. This is probably the most gruesome aspect of building a new business. This requires a lot of collection of competitor information, market surveys and sampling to know the customer insight.

A simple test to know if you have built a great product or service is to tell your acquaintances about your service /product , who have some idea about your line of business either from business perspective or consumer front and see what’s their reaction…. WOW or Hmmm

I recall a great personality who believed only in superior product and nothing else has recently passed away , heard him saying … WE DON’T SHIP JUNK ( I guess most of you can easily guess who that person and the product he was referring to )

2. Poor Presentation

You always look for shiny red colored apples , that’s it. You acquire a customer by virtue of presentation and you retain a customer by it’s TOP quality. Pay attention to details and make a great first impression with the customer. It’s all sensory , nice looks , great on touch , bright in design , in a nutshell your presentation should simply make the customer spell bound and should remind him of the most perfect thing that he / she wants to own.

3. Discounting the Product

Thumb rule is to keep the product value always high to the extent possible based on the product and presentation ( holds good for most of the service businesses and also product businesses / barring discount stores, FMCG , Pharma and few others).

Keeping the price leaves you with enough leeway to play around with offers and discounting. OFFERING DISCOUNT WITHOUT RATIONAL IS THE MOST IRRATIONAL THING A COMPANY CAN EVER DO.

Customers don’t wake up to buy a discounted product, rather, a quality and aspirational product in a discounted price based on some rational which makes them believe that it’s a genuine sale.

Choose offers, cross promotions and combos over discounting.

4.Confusing Branding with Marketing

Branding is only one aspect of Marketing but not the vice-versa. Branding is very expensive and a lot of times it’s not all required for most start-ups. A lot of services do not fall into impulsive buying where a customer is brainwashed over a period of time and is literally compelled to pick up and off-the-shelf product like FMCG , Consumer Electronics , Apparel etc. .

For example – it took me almost 7 years to get myself convinced to buy a KENT RO which i initially hated to even think of , because of it’s poor design with cheap looking tap hanging in front of the purifier , however , i simply couldn’t resist buying that stuff when i walked into a retailer whom i have always hated but couldn’t help walking in because of the convenience Reliance Digital ( by definition – a lot of money , bunch of consultants , a highly paid CEO and poorly motivated team and loose atmosphere in the store and a customer hate center with latest technology)

Start-ups should simply focus on campaigns that can deliver measurable ROI

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140626172026-28543336-marketing-basics-for-start-ups?trk=prof-post

Yes, most businesses are successful and profitable in today’s competitive environment only by virtue of being a small business ( minimal infrastructure) and with fewer effective staff with big result. Let me explain .. why do you need this , what it means to you and how you can achieve .

Do you need to reinvent you size – many a times entrepreneurs think that a big swanky office and having big profile managers etc etc may fetch them earn some browny points from customers but often times it is not. Please remember that your end user is always worried about the value that you bring to their table and the price that they pay and lastly he may want give you an extra opportunity if your relation is good with them, nothing more than that.

When is the right time to add flab – If you are a business that is traditionally run with full time customer interfacing, then you might as well continue doing that until you build some kind of monopoly or have some innovation which invariably binds your customers to your business.Simply because you have a volume of transaction doesn’t necessarily mean you can add flab ( middle management ) around you .

Clear the corporate fog – Trying to be a corporate like is not a bad idea but the first things to be followed should be the best things the corporate does for example deadline orientation , high P &L focus , accountability , clarity in job functions and training etc but not to look for corporate cultural activities , holiday list etc.

Work – life balance in corporate means work more to balance your life, so, the need of the hour is corporate like thinking and working before encompassing all virtues of corporate.

How to identify redundant resource – best way is to give your test group a paid holiday ( lol – paid – off ) and to your surprise you may not see any productivity loss.

When to scale-up – It’s all in the mind. Scale up means adding more customers and adding further value to the customers not by adding non-functional offices and team members , the ideal time you add additional resource is only when you experience excess spill over ( losing opportunity due to lack of resource)

Way forward – for all the start-ups , try and identify business that require lesser back-end infra or look for smart technology alternatives to support growth for all the existing businesses question yourself if your existing resource is adding value or burden to your customers and P & L .

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140808032339-28543336-why-small-is-big-and-less-is-more-in-today-s-business?trk=prof-post