I had consulting sessions with two founders last week. One sells a very nice product aimed at parents; the other offers an excellent service targeted at businesswomen.
Both owners are very talented women, and both have serious problems with their websites:
- The product site misses the mark in terms of targeting, copywriting, product presentation, market positioning, look and feel; just about everything is wrong for the product. The entire front end of the site needs rebuilding, which can be done quite economically due to a short-term opportunity.
- The service site does a good job of presenting everything a prospective client needs to make a purchase decision, plus the site is gorgeous. What it lacks is a good domain name, market positioning, SEO, and other fine-tuning to make the site nearly perfect.
Both sites have large, but very different mistakes… similar only in the magnitude of the negative impact.
The product site founder threw all of her resources into back-end modifications that do nothing to bring in new customers. She has a brief window in which the site can be fixed for a bargain price, but she’s reluctant to go beyond the little she knows about marketing.
The service site founder has some major, expensive digital marketing obstacles to overcome however; she’s aware of what she doesn’t know and is open to making changes that will help her business grow. Even if it means moving into unfamiliar territory.
How does all this relate to the title of this article?
One of the biggest advantages a startup has over a large corporation is in the mistake department.
Startup founders have the ability to say, “OOOPS, I made a mistake!” and then move on to fixing it. While most corporations are structured around avoiding mistakes, and covering your tracks when a mistake is made.
Mistakes can be the best thing that ever happens to a startup, if the founder has the courage to acknowledge the mistake and move on.
Startup founders are risk takers by definition and by nature, so it always takes me by surprise when I meet one who is stuck at a mistake.
But then I’ve been a serial entrepreneur for 25-plus years. Maybe I should write a book about all the mistakes I made and then moved beyond to keep succeeding.
Would that book be of interest to you? Do you know of any books by successful startup founders who focus on the mistakes they made along the way?