I’m crash testing some Pinterest Pins from my Entrepreneurship board to see how applicable the advice is based on 6 months testing my publishing company..
The Story – This list was from a Pinterest Pin called “16 Common mistakes to avoid when starting a small business”
I am leaving the original items in big bold letters and my comments will be in smaller text.
1. Not validating the business model before investing
I read all of the available material on the game industry I could find before diving in. Everyone said margins are thin, don’t spend too much on writing, or art. Even then they said there wasn’t a lot of money in it. If I had it all to do over, I’d have released some small budget projects first to see how things worked and shake out any problems in the system.
2. Not adjusting to what customers want
We’ve taken in what precious little customer feedback we have gotten and acted on most of it, 2D pawns, clean art pages, starship combat sheets, all of those were the result of customer feedback.
3. Starting other businesses too soon
We haven’t jumped to any new businesses, but we’ve got some products in other Genres coming along soon. Same business, same model, same customers.
4. Not having a clear elevator pitch
We’re going to make game books that make the game easier for GMs and players to have fun at their home tables. Like #9 below, we’re not trying to get fancy just yet. Einstein said If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. I think this applies to elevator pitches and mission statements if you can’t tell the customer why they should want the thing you make, you don’t understand the customer’s needs enough to appeal to them.
5. Focussing on revenue instead of profits and not having a clear revenue model
We could have lots of sales coming in, if they do not cover the cost of making and marketing a product then we’d eventually run out of bootstrap funds. There are a 8-9 products out of the first 38 ERG PDFs on sale that made more money in sales than they cost to make. I believe I am going to have to dig deeper into pricing strategy, there are a handful of our PDFs that need to be more expensive to cover their base costs at the current rate of sales. I do not know to what extent raising those prices will curb sales of those products.
6. Looking at marketing as an expense vs. investment
Marketing is an expense, and because we measure its effects we know it mostly doesn’t pay for itself yet. We’re continuing to tinker with different strategies because what is working right now (internal referrals inside the webstore) will not grow our business.
7. Expanding fast into other markets without systems
We haven’t done that yet.
8. Not delegating tasks sooner
We get some things from freelancers that we can’t do in house, there isn’t enough money coming in so far to delegate far beyond the partners.
9. Following the industry norm vs. having a unique selling proposition
I’ve been very focussed on keeping costs down in a low margin market and will focus later on ways to differentiate our products. There are things we do that others don’t do, but we don’t have enough feedback to know if that is making us preferred vs. competitors with similar products.
10. Shiny object syndrome distracting from your core business
There are a some things people say they need or want, we haven’t had the focus and energy to develop all the projects we want to do.
11. Taking your eye off receivables
Thankfully the money comes in automatically from the websites I use. So long as the money going into any given project balances with the money you expect to get back from it, this part should be ok.
12. Getting distracted working in your business vs. on your business
From the context of failed businesses it seems like you focus on doing the work, while ignoring the things that keep the lights on.
Owen has written extensively on the subject and I defer to his knowledge in the matter.
14. Not celebrating minor successes & only focussing on problems
I get some joy out of every sale, every like, every comment.
15. Not pre-marketing sooner and not measuring marketing returns
Pre-marketing and writing ad copy intentionally, I haven’t done. I’ve measured our marketing efforts to the best of my ability. Biggest mistakes in this area were not using Source Tags earlier and being consistent in their use.
16. Not learning to step away & reflect to control emotional reactions
We’ve been ok at this, whether it’s comments on the website or in social media, we try to be level headed with customers. I do like that the webstore has a warning when you reply to a customer to stop and think about it first.
If you have any feedback about this post or our books please feel free to contact us.
Evilrobotgames at Gmail.com