Updated: May 26
A clear and detailed business strategy will guide that business to success. Depending on the industry, company types, and external/ internal environments, the owner should understand the situation and provide a proper business plan for both short-term and long-term periods.
Starting as a start-up founder or an entrepreneur in Australia, what kind of business strategy you should set up, and what are the pitfalls you should avoid? Intelligence4Start had informative interviews with three business owners, who have more than 10 years of experiences in growing their own businesses, as well as cooperating with other business owners in Australia to learn from their lessons and experiences:
Mr. Peter Huynh- Founder of Intelligence4Start
Mr. Duke Le-Director of ADV Partners Chartered Accountants
Mr. Huy Ly- Co-founder of PTE Helper & AVG Cargo. They will walk you through the most common pitfalls they have made so that you can keep your business falling from these mistakes.
Don’t know where to find the business ideas
Ideas to start a business presents in our daily life. It is an outdated way of thinking that the idea should be brand new, one-in-a-million, and different from the existing businesses. People said that opportunity comes from difficulties. However, nowadays, almost all difficulties come with solutions already.
Lesson learned Your business model can start from an existing one. The point here is that you need to understand your weaknesses, strengths and utilize those factors to differentiate your products/ services from the others.
Do not analyze the market
Before starting a business, it is crucial to understand the industry, the market you intend to operate in, and the product you would like to provide. It can be said that market research is by far the most important task when establishing a business. Mr.Duke Le has helped hundreds of business owners in Australia in establishing a business, and the common mistake his clients make is to forget this first step. By doing the market research, you can have an overview of the industry, get to know the current demand and future trends, as well as define whether your offerings match the needs.
For example, you may go to Europe and find a product of heater with high quality and reasonable price. You would like to import and sell this heater in Vietnam. However, this plan is incomprehensive. The hot weather in Vietnam makes the heater completely useless.
A good product does not necessarily meet the demand of the market. Choose the right market, and do your homework before starting the business. There are many tools and frameworks that you can utilize to understand the market and the demand of the customers, such as PESTEL Analysis, SWOT Analysis, Market and Industry report from the Government and Trusted companies.
Do everything by yourself
As a matter of fact, many people build their businesses without or with little money. In order to save as much as possible, they are willing to perform all necessary roles by themselves, from Marketing, Sales, to BD and Finance. This is called a “one-man show” mistake.
The result of this “one-man show” mistake is work overload. At this moment, that businessman must trade-off; whether to keep doing everything by him/herself, and the quality is average as they don’t have enough time, or just perform some core tasks (the main activity that keeps the business going) to maintain the best quality, and sacrifice some unimportant tasks (that help to grow the business).
Mr. Huy Ly worked as a teacher in the center, a marketer to promote the business, and a business development manager to open the client's network. Due to overload, the quality of his teaching center was not as good as he expected due to the lack of human resources.
Lesson learned Saving costs from the first period of establishing the business is important. It is understandable that the founder wants to do everything by himself, but it is impossible and is likely to create an adverse effect on the development of the company. “We cannot expertise in all fields '. Mr. Peter Huynh- founder of Intelligence4Start said. “We need support from employees who are experts in their own fields, and the help from external stakeholders' '. By connecting and asking for moderate support in some functions, the founder can pay attention to the big picture of the business and the core activities that keep the business growing.
As a matter of fact, starting a business requires a lot of money. Meanwhile, founders want to save as much money as possible. This has become a trap in the growth potential of the business. When an entrepreneur does not invest enough money into the opportunities, it is likely that he/she will miss the chance to expand stronger.
Opportunities don’t last long. Catch the right time, and think about the long-term development. Hesitation will make you miss the once-in-a-lifetime chance.
Marketing is a secondary need to bring your business in front of the customers. However, its importance is usually ignored by small business owners, as they perceive marketing as expensive and useless. More than ever before, your customers have more choices. Without attention, your competitors can captivate the majority of the market share and steal your profits. With Huy Ly, he regrets that for the first two years of start-up, he hadn’t built the grounded marketing strategy for his business. Assuming that Facebook is the only marketing channel, his business has put too much reliance on this platform and he kept promoting in the way he thought it may be true without asking for help from any experts. Without proper guidance, he took longer to grow the company. If he had the support from an expert from the beginning, the company could have developed faster.
Operating a business without marketing is like opening a business without telling anyone. Marketing is not necessarily expensive. Many small businesses have thought that doing Marketing is a waste of money. Actually, it just wastes your money when you do it wrong. Business owners can start to promote their business on the Digital spaces, including Facebook page, Instagram, and/or LinkedIn account (of course, opening an account on Social Media accounts is free). Obviously, the challenge for SMEs is not about WHERE to allocate the budget. Instead, it is HOW to use it RIGHT.
Stay in the same position without innovation
Some businesses sell the same products over a long period of time, while the competitors keep evolving. Your customers change their tastes, behaviors, and interests every day. Failure to innovate your business can leave you limping behind competitors who are soaring. Nokia Company - known to most with the Nokia phone - is an organization whose unfortunate demise was due to its failure to innovate. Back in 2003, Nokia was the top-selling mobile phone of all time. However, its reign didn’t last long until Apple introduced iPhones. The failure of Nokia is counted for slow innovation in technology compared to its competitors, the lack of vision, and agility.
Lesson learned Keep your products/ services up-to-date and fresh to the customers. Listening to the feedback of users is the greatest source to innovate the product's features and offerings. For example, with the increasing trend of eating healthy, your restaurant can introduce a “fresh menu” targeting those segments. By doing so, your business can expand the market share, and grow the brand identity to a wider pool of customers.
Do not prepare for plan B
Many entrepreneurs may believe that their businesses are less likely to collapse. “What if my business goes wrong, and what should I do if it goes wrong” usually causes stress and uncertainty as it involves looking at the failure. Therefore, many business owners choose to avoid it. However, the world keeps changing, which requires the existence of contingency plans. With the backup plan, you can understand the possible shifting outcomes when your business is affected by undesired external and internal factors, and be confident in dealing with them.
Lesson learned A contingency plan is not a threat to your future. On the other hand, plan B makes you more confident to go with the business and reduce the risks of undesirable outcomes. Predicting every possible risk can happen to your business, and seek ideal solutions to minimize them.
Mr.Duke Le has witnessed many clients, who are business owners, remaining in the beginning position, or even closing their business without knowing where they went wrong. It is the same as people who keep going without knowing the direction. When the founders and managers do not reflect on the performance of the companies during a period of time, they cannot leverage the success as well as solve the existing problems within the organization.
Lesson learned Having an outside thinking partner to provide candid feedback and insights about your business. On a regular basis, top managers can dig deep into the problems and discuss what they can do differently to get better results. However, remember that this meeting should aim for the ultimate goal of the development of the business and avoid turning it into a “blaming discussion”.
Trying To Go It Alone
New business owners may be afraid that if they reveal too much information for the employees about the “secret formula” of the business, then they may lose the unique selling points one day. As a result, no one in the company can understand the vision of the founder and cannot contribute their best to the company.
People are not designed to do things by themselves, not even the "solopreneur." Put trust in your employees, inspire them with the core values of your business and allow them enough space to grow. Your employees, your stakeholders are your business partner, and only when surrounding yourself with those supports, your business can grow and expand further. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from a Financial expert, Accountant, or Marketing expert to raise your own game.
In conclusion, a start-up is not an easy game. By learning from the experiences of others, you may save both time and money to grow your business.
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