Common Business Advice That May Not Work for Your Startup
Make sure any advice you follow is actually suitable for your organization.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
As a new entrepreneur launching your first company, you may feel overwhelmed at times by the massive amount of resources and information available -- not to mention the fact that virtually every person in your life will try to give you their two cents on how you should run a successful business. So how do you know which advice to follow and which to discard, for the sake of your startup?
These six entrepreneurs share some of the most common business advice that they vehemently disagree with and why. After all, no two businesses are alike, and what works for one is in no way guaranteed to work for all.
If you follow your dream, results will follow.
Every business starts with a dream, but that is hardly enough to ensure immediate success, according to Mark Daoust, founder of Quiet Light Brokerage, Inc.
"I often hear successful entrepreneurs reduce their success to merely following their passion or their dreams. But success requires more than just having a dream or a passion -- it requires a plan and execution," he says. "I have had a lot of great ideas, visions and passions in my career, and most have gone unfulfilled. Only those ideas that I built a plan around have come to fruition."
Focus on growth before profit.
Investing all your efforts into driving growth instead of profit does not seem to be a particularly sound strategy either. According to Future Hosting CEO Vik Patel, focusing on massive growth before profit "benefits venture capitals who gamble on at least one massive exit amidst all the startups that don't make it."
Instead, Patel chose to focus on growth by building a great product that people would pay for at a reasonable margin. "That way, the business sustains itself and can focus on providing value to customers over the long term."
Marketing isn't important if product is good.
"I get it, I get it. Without a good product your startup with fail. Guess what -- if no one knows it exists, it will fail as well," says Chris Van Dusen of Bota Hemp. That's why marketing plays a crucial role in the growth of your business and a loyal customer base.
"Hire excellent marketing people to help get the product in front of the right people. Then work with the product team to understand why people truly use your product, develop your unique value proposition and engage with potential customers," he explains.
Create elaborate and long business plans.
A long, detailed business plan that maps out your every move may sound like a sure way to set your business on the path to success. But InCharged CEO Jessica Gonzalez disagrees, finding more value in flexibility.
"It's great to research the market and have a general plan of how you want to approach the launch of a new venture, but a full-on business plan has been a waste of time for me," Gonzalez says, explaining that she prefers a more hands-on approach. "I like to build it, test it and let the market guide me on where it should go. Being lean and flexible rather than adhering to a strict plan has been a major reason for our success."
Blogging is a useless effort.
Creating a relevant and engaging content marketing campaign is still one of the best ways a new startup can increase its visibility online. So why, then, is blogging considered dead? "I've been hearing for years that, in a world where social media is everywhere, YouTube is skyrocketing and paid ads feel essential, blog content won't pay off," says Sean Ogle, founder of Location Rebel.
Ogle has found the exact opposite to be true for his business. "The more content we produce, and the more we improve, the more traffic and sales we see. Social, ads and video are a complement to, not a replacement for, a blog," he adds.
Move fast and break things.
"This was the rallying cry for Facebook and it defined the way it conducted business for a long time," says Bryce Welker, founder and CEO of Crush The PM Exam. As a result of Facebook's success, "many startups want to define themselves as being disruptive and offering something that no one else has."
"However, I've found that it can be very effective to simply focus on a product or service and keep improving intermittently," explains Welker. "Customers will appreciate quality over everything else."