It is not uncommon for any startup business to make mistakes. However, some errors are much costlier than others. Most of the time, startup owners don’t realize what causes the success or failure of their business in the long run. This is also the main reason why startup businesses tend to fail. It is even more applicable for education agencies since the competition is very high. No two businesses are alike and the list can go on forever. However, we have noted down some of the most common mistakes made by startup education consultancies.
Finding the Right Business Partner
It is always much better and easier to start a business with a partner than going it alone. But choosing one can be tricky. This is probably the most common error made by any startup business. While choosing your ideal partner, you should always leave your emotions aside. Especially if you are looking to start a business with a close friend. This is because you will tend to overlook flaws that may make them an incompatible business partner. This will eventually cause the downfall of your business.
“A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship”
-John D Rockefeller
Once you have selected the most suitable candidate, there are other important things to keep in mind also. For instance, you must always assess their financial situation. If your partner is not willing to be transparent about it, that’s a red flag. You must also keep in mind their personal life and issues that may make your business a second priority. You should not be surprised as you may have to wear many hats during the initial phase of your business. So, if your partner’s priorities aren’t straight, look for someone who will not make your business a secondary interest.
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No one wishes for a business relationship to go sour. But planning for the worst will save you a lot of trouble down the road. However, you can easily avoid such common mistakes made by startup education consultancies. To do so, you must clearly document the rights, roles, and responsibilities of each partner. Sitting down with a startup lawyer can help you get through this process easily. And always devise an exit plan in case of a disagreement. Dealing with such issues in the beginning, will save you professional embarrassment as emotions may run high during a split.
Setting Appropriate Goals
Young startup education agency owners can confuse goals with ambition. This is a deadly mistake. It is good to be ambitious, but you must be careful while setting your business goals. It is also crucial that your goals align with your partner’s. For example, if your goal is to provide quality service to fewer clients. But your partner’s goal is to provide service to as many clients regardless of the quality. You will have a hard time making compromises that will eventually affect your business performance.
“People with goals succeed because they know where they are going…It’s as simple as that.”
Goals are guidelines to your agency’s success. They are more of a benchmark and should be dynamic. Knowing your clients best is most crucial when it comes to setting agency goals. Do some thorough market research before you jump in. You must know exactly what kind of education they want, or what their priorities are. Whether they are seeking quality education or just looking for a foreign lifestyle experience. Your goals should be to provide what your clients want. And your services and products should represent it.
You should also take a look at modern goals setting guidelines. One of these methods is setting SMART Goals. Basically, it states that any business should set goals that specific. Vague goals like “obtaining maximum success” can be very misleading and may not direct your agency anywhere. They should be measurable and achievable. And you must always set goals that are time oriented. For example, “to provide 300 students with Australian education from at least 5 different universities within the first year”, could be an excellent goal for a startup education agency.
You should also research your competition and what goals they have set for their agency. You can learn a lot from an experienced business competitor. Review their mistakes so that you can avoid most common mistakes made by startup education consultancies.
Fund Raising and Financial Management
While it is necessary to raise adequate funds for your education agency, you should not obsess over it. New founders tend to overdo this process. As a startup business, you must try and limit the fundraising process to only meet your essential needs. Besides, too many investors mean that you will have less control over your business. As they say, too many cooks spoil the broth. Your goal should not be to raise more money. It should be to make money from your business.
“It’s no longer about strategic development. It’s about financial management”
Once the fundraising is done, you must now manage your financials wisely. You should not fret over smallest details and resources. This is also one of the most common mistakes made by startup education consultancies. Learn to make do with only the essential and important. As founders of a startup education agency, you will have to fulfill many roles. Undoubtedly, this will be tough, but you will learn a lot through this experience. You must move towards self-sustenance avoid financial mistakes made by most startups.
Understanding the Importance of Marketing
A lot of new founders with great ideas are overconfident and believe that clients will simply come. You may provide the best courses in the most popular destination, but without a strong marketing strategy, your agency will not flourish. Assuming virality is one of the most common mistakes made by startup education consultancies. No business can assume to go viral spontaneously. Especially education agencies. Since there are too many options available in the market. You need to make sure that your prospects are aware of your presence. You need to be heard. And you can achieve this through intense marketing and advertising.
Reach your clients where they are active most. Promote your education agency on multiple channels. The most effective being social media marketing, since there is a high presence of your target audience. Engage your existing clients in multiple events and seminars. Think out of the box. Maybe you could organize a small entertainment or social event for your clients and prospects. Give them something different. They will appreciate it and you will be remembered. This will help you increase your referrals and eventually you will be recognized.
It is the same when it comes to investors too. You need to show them what you can accomplish and how your services are unique. No investor will invest in your business unless they are 100% sure of a positive outcome. So make sure that an effective business model and reach out.
How to Handle Feedback
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions”
Feedback, whether it is coming from clients, prospects, partners or investors, is very important. Failure to acknowledge feedback can be fatal to your business. Whether it is negative or positive feedback, they are always helpful and can be very constructive. Your response to feedback shows your clients, partners and investors that you are an effective listener. It represents a genuine interest in perfecting your business and can be very motivating. Listening to feedback will definitely help you improve performance as it is a tool for continual learning.
However, young entrepreneurs tend to overthink or overreact to feedback. As new founders of an education agency, you need to realize that you cannot satisfy everyone. Although feedback and brainstorming generate great ideas, you must not dwell on these thoughts for too long. You will end up over-optimizing every decision and hamper the overall business productivity. Avoid this scenario at all cost. Only act on the most popular opinions and make smart decisions for your education agency. Being overconfident by positive feedback and discouraged by negative ones are common mistakes made by startup education consultancies.
These are just a few tips on do’s and don’ts for a startup agency. But at the end of the day, mistakes are the best teachers you will ever have. So it is good to avoid them, but don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Every startup business will make some blunder. It’s only human to err. What you learn from such blunders is what counts the most. So do your homework and avoid most common mistakes made by startup education consultancies.