New StartupYard Partner Deloitte Describes Five Mistakes Startups Usually Make

We’re very happy to announce that Deloitte has joined StartupYard as a new partner to offer our 2014 teams individual management consulting and finance, tax and legal advisory through a wide range of their services. The expertise of a global leader with an individual confidential advisor approach.

The Following is a Guest Post from Stefan Surina and Jiri Sauer at Deloitte.

Over the past two years my colleagues and I have spent a reasonable amount of time meeting and mentoring startup companies. The support of young entrepreneurs is, after all, the main purpose of the Business Clinic run by Deloitte in the Czech Republic. Team composition, ideas, business models and passion levels vary project to project. There are though, a few common mistakes (in corporate jargon “development opportunities”) most “startuppers” should pay closer attention to. We would like to share few ideas with you on how to avoid them.

Know Your Customer

Photocredit: Fotoffigrafie, Flickr

Photocredit: Fotoffigrafie, Flickr

You would be surprised how many times we do not get an answer to such a simple question. You may happen to have unique technical solutions or a brilliant business idea. However, did you do market research? Do you believe there are customers willing to pay for your product or service? How do you plan to approach them and are you able to do it? What about the competitors- how are they perceived in the market and how good are they are at what they are doing? Any startup company needs to have a solid business plan and know what it hopes to achieve; otherwise it is inevitably doomed to fail.

Do It Yourself

“Either gain momentum or fail quickly.”

Photo Credit: Dan Zen, Flickr

Photo Credit: Dan Zen, Flickr

There are lots of companies willing to do all the heavy lifting for you. You may purchase specialized market research, all sorts of professional services, a full squad of sales representatives, etc. Trust me, no one will ever take better care of your company and your project than you do. You are the best advocate and the best spokesperson for your idea, your project, and your firm. The passion and determination you radiate for your business partners and customers will make the difference you’re looking for. Stop hesitating, start doing whatever it takes to get your company up and running. The great advantage of the DYI approach remains in saving you loads of money. Plus you get hands-on experience with the market you’re trying to reach.  A Chinese proverb says “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” It is natural to consider all your options, and you do not want to take the wrong decision. On the other hand, you’ll never know who’s working on the same idea and could be entering your market the very next day. Do not be afraid to start as soon as you have your idea semi-polished. Either gain momentum or fail quickly. You do not want to end up flogging a dead horse, do you?

Keep It Simple

“If you cannot describe in few words what you are doing are you sure you are doing it right?”

Photo Credit:  Hey Paul Studios

Photo Credit: Hey Paul Studios

International companies put complex decision making processes in place, changes take months, even years. Each company had to grow to such stage over time. It is the usual toll for success. Right after this status is reached the company gets challenged by its competition and new market entrants. Do you still remember Nokia being the world’s biggest cell phone producer? Keep all your processes as straight as possible, do not inflate your organizational structure, do not get carried away by possible opportunities rather than the current challenges, do not spend unreasonable amounts of time and money on worldwide patent protection when you even do not know if there is anything worth protecting, do not fantasize about IPO when you have just opened the shop, etc. If you cannot describe in few words what you are doing are you sure you are doing it right?

Avoid Tunnel Vision

Photo Credit: Michael Caven, Flickr

Photo Credit: Michael Caven, Flickr

If you want to make a business in today’s environment, you need to focus on all its aspects. We have seen many companies completely neglect any sort of financial planning. We’ve met with teams having no clue what legal regulations need to be followed. We’ve amazed that some startups were already considering the exit strategy even though they have not sold any sort of product or service yet. Do not get obsessed with one thing and one thing only. Take into account all options and requirements. Nonetheless, do not forget to do it now, do it yourself and keep at it.

In case you are interested in more business insights and more information about Business Clinic, and what Deloitte and TechSquare can do for you please reach us through the comments below, or by email.

 -Stefan Surina and Jiri Sauer