Starting an Online Business Like Steve Jobs Would Do

Statistics collected by Bloomberg indicate that 8 out of every ten startups end up collapsing before the start of their third year. That is a whopping 80% of startups that crash and burn when they are still in their infancy.

As entrepreneurs, we should be asking ourselves why so many startup businesses fail. If you wish to turn your next startup into a flourishing success, you should be learning from the amount of failing startups.

What do these businesses do or fail to do that contributes to their untimely closure?

In this article, I share the five common pitfalls that are usually the death knell of many startups:

Failing to keep in touch with their customers

What usually happens when a businessman has a brilliant idea that he or she thinks is the next big thing in the enterprise world?

Many entrepreneurs retreat into a shell. They hibernate in their work caves and get busy implementing their ideas.

This is the wrong approach to business.

You need to get out there and talk to your potential customers. Not through 140 character tweets but a sincere dialogue that seeks to understand what your customers’ passions, fears and strengths are.

Holding a dialogue with your customers is the first key to business success.

Lacking real differentiation in the market

How unique is your business idea?

One of the reasons why your startup will fail is if you are trying to do what everyone else in the market is doing.

Since most of the business do not have real value that they are adding to the market, they end up closing their doors and wondering what went amiss.

Failure to communicate your unique value proposition clearly

Communication is an art and science. Unfortunately, if you do not know how to communicate your business goals and mission clearly, it doesn’t matter how brilliant your business idea is, it will end up with the 80% that never celebrate their third year anniversary.

The above three mark the most common pitfalls that lead to the crumble of many startups. Now that you know the reasons why businesses fail, I trust that you can come up with ways to salvage yours from joining the colossal statistics.

A Morning in Nakuru, and Why You Need to Work Online

It is a beautiful morning in Nakuru. The sky is partly cloudy, partly blue.

Like a young lad trying to breakthrough into the heart of resisting lass, the sun is trying hard to break through the grey clouds. Yesterday’s rain has whetted down the dust, and it is just the perfect morning for a morning stroll.

It feels good to be out here. I miss my morning routines. I forgot what it feels like to step out to the embrace of the morning weather. I guess that’s what happens when you work online. You barricade yourself indoors from early morning to the time you go to bed late into the night. You repeat the same routine tomorrow, and you slowly forget what it feels like to be in the ‘real’ world. To rub shoulders with strangers and get amazed by what other people do. What is it they are rushing to this early in the morning; a draconian boss? A business that demands they be there before the world has fully roused itself from sleep?

There is a danger in this kind of a lifestyle, the internet lifestyle. It can make you settle into a rutty comfort zone. There is only yourself to challenge. You write a few words per day, and you think you are working hard. You wake up at 9 a.m. because you have no boss to answer to, and forget other people woke up at 5 a.m. so that they will be at their desks in time to avoid their employer’s stern look. You spend the whole day doing nothing just because you can, and forget there is a guy who’s been sweating on a mkokoteni from dawn to dusk.

Today, the morning air has that freshness that follows a night of heavy downpour; crisp and clean, as if it has never been polluted. You can almost smell the earth and the mist. And the sun. Nothing beats the morning sun in Nakuru! I think that is why flamingoes love Nakuru J!

There is one more reason why I love taking morning walks. They remind me that I am part of the workforce that contributes to nation building. When I watch the populace rush to wherever they are going, I see people trying hard to make ends meet. I see people who have no option than to report to jobs that they hate, and I remind myself that I am lucky to be doing something that I am really passionate about. As I watch vehicles speeding down the street, I am reminded that I have a goal to work towards.

As I slowly take in random things on my leisure walk, my mind kicks into gear. I see people for who they really are. The beauty of it all is that all of them are so engaged in whatever they are doing to notice that they are being observed.

There is a lady hurrying down the street. She is so absent-minded that she almost walked into an electricity pole. She probably works in a local store. Her salary is probably half of what I earn in a day working online, and this being the last week of the month, she’s probably used all of it. That’s why she is walking to town. The walk gives her enough time to budget this month’s salary, which will be due in a few days’ time.

Or she’s probably given up on the calculations and decided to simply survive from one end month to the other, for no matter how hard she tries to stretch the paycheck, it is never long enough to make her live her dreams. The only way she lives her dreams is in her mind.