Top 21 startup mistakes to avoid: Startup mistake #2: ignoring data, research and the competition


“Too many businesses start without a basic plan, and if you fail to plan you are essentially planning to fail. A startup should map out a business plan, even if it is just one page. It should include how much it costs to operate, how much they anticipate selling, who would buy their product and why.” ~ Deacon Hayes, Financial Expert and Founder,

Data and research matter a lot in business

Most startup entrepreneurs ignore data and research to succeed at business, and this is a great mistake. Data is especially important in business, but unfortunately many startups look down on data when it comes to business. Data help you improve business processes.

Data help you understand and improve business processes so you can reduce wasted money and time. Of course, every company feels the effects of waste on operations. It depletes resources, squanders time, and ultimately impacts the bottom line of the entire business.

Do not ignore your intuition, but work with data

Arguably, there is nothing quite like the instincts of an entrepreneur. It is probably the reason many get far with their startups. It is important, therefore, not to ignore that gut-feeling. What you must not do is to replace your gut-feelings with research and data.

But beyond gut-feelings, keep your eyes on the key performance indicators and develop business strategies based on research. Go beyond your gut-feelings! They are never enough in business! You need to complement a hunch with proper management discipline: looking at numbers, KPIs, and formulating strategies and plans.

Underestimating Competitors

You cannot do business in isolation. Irrespective of your innovation, there are people doing similar things; so it is wise to check up on what others in your industry are doing. Most startups do not research their competition, but the best entrepreneurs are fiercely competitive and paranoid.

Indeed, you cannot succeed in business without paying keen attention to what your competitors are doing. They watch competitors with extraordinarily little pride and a lot of determination. The losers are the ones who gloat about their own achievements. Knowing the competition is important to startup success.

“Although it may seem counterintuitive, you want competitors,” said Heather Huhman, Fertility Consultant and Serial Entrepreneur. “You don’t want so many that the market is saturated, but enough that your first touch-point with potential clients (or) customers isn’t educating them about the need for your product or service.”

>>>Nelson Semanu Boandoh-Korkor is an organisation strategy consultant with expertise in business leadership and organizational re-engineering. Nelson also functions as a pastor, author-publisher, entrepreneur and a firebrand Financial Evangelist. Nelson can be reached on +233 549 762 233.

Elizabeth Boandoh-Korkor is a Chartered Accountant (ICAG) by profession and an entrepreneur by design. She also functions as a Financial Management Consultant, fashion consultant and conference speaker. Elizabeth can be reached on +233 242 344 550

Ekow Mensah is the founder of the African Network of Entrepreneurs (TANOE). He is a highly respected entrepreneur, business consultant, life coach and mentor to several young people. Ekow can be reached on +233 555 224 225


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