8 Rookie Mistakes Brand Founders Make When Starting A New BusinessDec 30, 2020
written by Josanta Gray Emegano
Starting a business is difficult no matter who you are. Mistakes, big and small, are inevitable. They’ll happen when you’re first starting out and they’ll continue to happen each time you begin working in unchartered territories. You’ll cringe when you look back at these moments, but it’s a necessary evil to grow.
Across the board, there are 8 rookie mistakes all brand founders make when they’re first starting out. Since experience can be a costly teacher when you’re building a business on a tight budget, take a moment to learn from these collective experiences of other founders to save yourself time and money. From there, you’re free to make your own mistakes that future entrepreneurs can learn from!
- Building likes instead of trust. In the early stages, business owners will spend too much time and money on social media advertising instead of deepening their fan base in-person. Business owners should prioritize marketing and sales opportunities that allow them to sell products face to face. During these moments, you’ll be able to collect real-time feedback that can be applied to your business. With each event, you’ll be able to develop a loyal customer group that will translate to reliable reviews and promotion on social media.
- Trying to do everything yourself. You will wear many hats during the early stages of your business. Regardless of how tight the budget is, there are some tasks you shouldn’t do yourself. It’s important to understand where your weaknesses lie so you can delegate those tasks and open up bandwidth for yourself. This could mean finding an accountant to manage your finances or a social media specialist to create content.
- Forgetting to check or register appropriate trademarks. Run a search on the United States Patent and Trademark website to ensure your desired trademark is available. You will want to move forward with registering before producing large quantities of your packaging. You don’t want to buy your packaging and later be notified that you didn’t win the trademark. You will have to eat the cost, time, and effort you put into creating it and start from scratch.
- Underestimating the value of great, cost-effective packaging. Packaging will be your customer’s first interaction with your product. Therefore, it should offer them a unique experience and be catchy enough to motivate them to pick it up in the first place. Some founders don’t spend enough time designing packaging that creates a unique customer experience. Meanwhile, other founders will sometimes spend too much money on pricey material when, in the end, it doesn’t contribute to the customer’s overall experience or explain the brand’s positioning properly.
- Relying on one supplier. For many reasons, it’s hard to find suppliers who cater to small businesses. However, in the event there’s a quality issue or a delay with an ingredient for one of your products, it’s always best to have more than one supplier you can rely on. You don’t want to be scrambling to find backup suppliers if a major issue occurs right before a major sale or moment for your business. This could cause you to miss out on hundreds or thousands of dollars in sales opportunities! Check out How to Build A Product Business to learn more about negotiating with suppliers.
- Buying too much inventory. When testing a new product or packaging, you should buy in small quantities. Small will vary depending on where you are with your business. However, if you’re just starting out, try ordering in quantities of 100 or less. Buying too much inventory creates an overhead problem if you aren’t selling it fast enough. Purchasing in smaller quantities will allow you to pivot quickly if you want to update a formula, correct a spelling issue on a label, or add more information to your product boxes. In the end, this will save you a lot of money and storage space!
- Underestimating the value of organization and a budget. Overspending is an early mistake of all business owners. It’s important to prioritize spending where it matters most (ex: product quality & packaging). Influencer marketing opportunities will always be there, no matter how time-sensitive they appear to be. You can worry about paying for influencers at a later date!
- Allowing customers to catch problems before you do. Customer service is crucial to the longevity of any business. Problems will arise therefore it’s on you to find effective solutions to these problems. If you don’t, your customer is likely to move on. As a prevention method, it’s important to set up processes for your business that allow you test every aspect. For example, you should ship products to a family member a few states over to ensure your products don’t arrive damaged. Or, have someone proofread your packaging for clarity and spelling errors. The key is to identify and correct your mistake as quickly as possible. The only rule to live by is never make the same mistake twice.