One Failed Start Up, Two Lessons Learned

I recently met Kevin through a mutual friend of ours. He’s currently a consultant, but working on a start up app in his “spare time”. In a couple of our conversations he’s mentioned that he went through a failed start up and I asked him why it failed.

He told me about how they were big on sales and marketing but not on some key elements of branding and onboarding. Two of their biggest failures?

Failure #1: They didn’t know their audience.

Whether you are a SAAS, web, or mobile app, you should be profiling your ideal customer. Knowing their habits and their behaviors, even outside of purchasing, allows you to know them almost as a friend. When you know someone that well, you can easily speak to them about how you can solve their pain points as it relates to your business/solution.

Failure #2: They didn’t provide value to their customer.

In a previous post about lessons learned from a previous client’s sucky brand, I talked about this very topic.

There is a huge difference in “buy from me,” as opposed to “here’s how I can help you” when you are approaching your audience. Brand trust starts to fade when you feel like you’re being taken advantage of as a customer. You created a business solution out of a need. Your customers have a need that you have a solution for. Sure, you’re going to (hopefully) make money and a successful business from it, but it’s not all about you.

Knowing your audience will ultimately help you provide value, and will definitely boost your brand trust.

Here’s a quote directly from my friend Kevin:

“You need to know who your customers are, for various branding and marketing reasons, but also to figure out which ones (customers) will fight for you if a disruptive innovation threatens you.”

Brand trust is huge when it comes to customer loyalty, and to a company’s success or failure.