By Matt Fox, CEO, Snaptrip
Here are the key pitfalls to avoid in the crucial first year of starting out:
Go with what you know
This point is vital for establishing industry credibility and leadership in the start-up space. Having a unique value proposition is just not enough in a competitive sector. You need to have a product that stands out and an independent marketing approach; you need to identify channels that you can capture and scale. If you can tick all those boxes then you have a good chance.
Don’t be afraid to seek external funding
Launching a start- up in any sector is a big task and entrepreneurs are faced with many strategic challenges. By partnering with external investors, you can access a team of incentivised people to help grow your business. It’s a more seamless path than say, bootstrapping the business yourself or through smaller loans, and can help your start-up create immediate traction – quickly, at scale. For entrepreneurs, bringing equity partners in early on in the business simply increases the opportunity for success.
Think about partnering up
When you’re starting up, there’s a temptation to be protective about your idea, your baby. Meeting my partner and CTO Dan Harrison was honestly my biggest break and I would encourage anyone at start-up phase to explore this option. When Dan joined me a few months in, my business benefited from his huge technical talent, his experience and the new contacts he brought in. Quite simply, our “wins” multiplied exponentially and I truly believe it’s the strength of our partnership as co-founders that’s taken the business forward so quickly.
Invest in your team
Spend time building and incentivising the right team for your business. You have no chance of success unless there's a group of you going for it 100% with complete passion for what you're trying to achieve.
Look at recruiting people from across personal networks; we’ve recruited people we knew in the sector to build the foundations of our marketing and technical teams. They in turn have a wealth of contacts we can explore for advice and help support the team’s growth. Don’t be afraid to bridge skills gaps with talented contractors too as they can help you access experience, talent and capability in a more affordable way in the short-term.
Keep your feet on the ground
As your start-up grows, it’s all too easy to go off on a product development spree! We have so many ideas and initiatives we want to launch - remembering to test, analyse and validate every idea on a lean strategy stops any wasted time.
From experience, the prioritisation of the company’s goals and daily focus is a real challenge. Remember your starting point as well as your end-goal to stay grounded.